Where is your primary focus? Is it on how much you hate working out. How much time it takes and how little time you have? Do you focus on how far you have to go? Is your goal so far away that it drags you down? Maybe your focus is on others, and how great everyone else seems to be doing, and how much further ahead they are.
Where your focus is, is what you will see. What you see, is who you’ll be. In this quote Alphonse (1800′s French novelist) shows his focus is not on the thorns, but the roses. Instead of looking at a rose bush as having flaws in the thorns, he sees how awesome it is that a thorny bush could have such beautiful flowers.
We should learn from Alphonse, and realize we have a choice of what we see based on what we focus on. We have a choice to be appreciative of everything that is wonderful, and overlook the thorns in our life. When we look past the thorns, we see less thorns in others too. Our whole view changes.
Try, with all your might, not to think about how hard dieting is, how challenging your workouts are. Try hard not to focus on your own shortcomings and focus on all the good that is blossoming in you. Fitness grows strength, beauty, confidence, health, physical improvements and improved performance – and that’s just the physical. If you focus on your spiritual growth, and all your gifts and talents instead of your limitations, you will realize you are like a beautiful bouquet to your peers – beautiful, with a sweet aroma to anyone who gets close.
Get the Fertilizer Out
In many ways, we are all thorny. We all have our hurts, our struggles, our selfish ways, our prickly personality – but, we all have our own roses too. It just depends on how we care for ourself – and it’s difficult to want to take care of a thorn bush, if that’s all we see. However, if we see ourselves for who we really are (a prize rose bush), you will be more apt to treat it with care. Another words, you must love yourself – and that’s difficult to do if you cannot see the good in you.
We need certain things to really blossom – just like roses. We can’t expect to act beautiful if we deprive ourself of life’s water, food and proper care. If you neglect your mind, body and spirit, like if we neglect caring for a plant, you will be nothing but thorns, with little flowering, and little life, left in you. This will make it even more difficult to love yourself. However, if you take the time to care for your body, you will blossom SO much and you will begin to see your value – and the last thing anyone will ever see are your thorns.
If you look in the mirror (and look inside) and all you see is thorns, here are a few tips on how to care for a dying plant (which totally applies to our life too):
1. Strengthen your roots. If you are dying inside, you may be rooted in the wrong soil and need to be transplanted. Nourishment comes from your roots. Are your roots in unhealthy soil? Are your roots strong, or are they so shallow that you’ll blow over with the first big wind? For me, roots are God first, then family and friends. That is my foundation. Without that, I am weak and cannot weather any storm. “Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.” (Colossians 2:7)
2. Cut away the dead stuff. One way to get stronger roots is to prune the tree. The weaker the roots, the more cutting you have to do. Another reason for cutting away the dying stuff in us is so nourishment is confined to only what is healthy in you. There is no need to nourish the parts of you that are already dying, or unhealthy. In the fitness world, you may need to cut away junk food, unsupportive friends, laziness and doubt. In life it may be friendships, bad habits, things that steal your time, selfishness or an unhealthy lifestyle that need to go if you want to get healthy and really blossom.
3. Live in right environment. Even if you have the right soil, and you get rid of the bad stuff, you will never blossom without the right environment. As you know, certain plants do not do well in direct sunlight. They need a filter. We too need the right environment to grow, and often times need to be filtered from this harsh world. If you are not sure what that looks like, then think of a time in your life that you were the healthiest. If you don’t feel you have every been healthy, look at other people you respect (not the ones who may look successful, but the ones how have peace and joy – because money doesn’t last, but joy can continue with or without money). Then plant yourself near them, or in a similar environment, and get the same nourishment they get.
4. Care for yourself daily. If you take care of your roots, you trim away the yucky stuff and you make sure you are in the right environment, that still isn’t enough to get the results you want. Sadly, many people do this in fitness. They join a gym, cut out all the junk and get in the right circles, but they don’t consistently take care of themselves. They are hit or miss with their workouts, they are hit or miss with their eating, and they are hit or miss with their commitment. The same way a plant needs consistent loving care, YOU need consistent loving care. If you don’t consistently get the nourishment you need, you will first lose your blossoms, then you will go limp and weak. Then you will begin to dry out and shrivel up. However, I think we all know, even if you have little life left in you, it is never too late to revive your life.
We all are born with the same potential. What you do with your life is up to you. You have the power to decide. Will you be a living thriving strong grounded flowering life, or a dying malnourished thorny bush?
If you have an goal, there is one thing you MUST have to reach that goal. You have to have the will to win. You don’t need to play sports to be a winner or a loser. You don’t need a goal line to cross, a hoop to make or a time to beat. You have your own set of goals – and the mistake we make is forgetting these goals are very real. Winning and losing is very real to everyone.
Whether your goal is to lose weight, beat your time, complete a marathon, OR your goal is to pay off debt, rekindle a relationship or work on your spiritual life, if you don’t meet these goals there are consequences. Like in sports, you will not go to the next round. You won’t make it to the championships. You won’t be on the front of a cereal box. Why? Because these added perks are reserved for winners.
Non-athletes have perks too. The perk to weight loss is feeling healthy and more attractive. It’s having fewer health issues. It may be getting more attention. It can be enjoying the simply things in life, like playing with your grandchildren, when you once didn’t have the energy to keep up with them. There are perks with reaching other goals as well. But you can’t “expect the perks with out the works” as Joyce Meyer says.
While I can MAKE my boot campers workout, I can’t make them diet. I can’t make them WANT to be a winner. That is something THEY have to decide. But believe me, once that decision is made, once they reeeeeally decide they WANT to be a winner, they will do everything in their power to BE a winner.
You Against You
Your own worst enemy is yourself. The fear of defeat, the fear of unrewarded work. Laziness, selfishness, self-pity, frustration, fatigue and stress can beat you up. Listen, WANTING to be a winner doesn’t mean you won’t get tackled. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever get hurt, struggle, or experience defeat. But without the WANT to win, winning is more like hitting the lottery – it’s next to impossible. And, not only that, the easy route that leads to loss comes with a whole new set of problems and struggles. There will likely still be the same amount of challenges that come with striving to be your best, but many of them will be rooted from not trying. The burden of guilt, shame and failure from not trying will be heavy. So, you decide if you want to take the challenges that come with wanting to be a winner, or except the challenges of allowing yourself to lose hope.
People aren’t BORN great, they are MADE great – with practice, dedication, drive and desire.
People aren’t born great, they are MADE great – with practice, dedication, drive and desire. No one can MAKE you great. They can HELP, but they can’t make you WANT to be great, make you WANT to be better. That, my friend, is only something YOU can do.
So, do you WANT to be a WINNER, or not?
Would you run a little faster if someone was timing you? Would you lift one more rep if people were circled around you cheering you on? Would you make the same choices if your trainer went home with you and watched you prepare a meal, or sat next to you on the couch while you snacked?
What about how you live? Would you tell a certain joke if your pastor was in the room. Would you complain about your job if your boss was listening? Would you take Jesus to all the movies you’ve seen?
I believe, if you answered these questions honestly, you would probably act a bit differently if you ate, trained and lived like everyone important was watching.
YOU are important – and YOU are watching. You know everything you are doing, and what you could be doing better or different. So why cheat yourself? Even if your trainer doesn’t see you eat ice cream at night, you will wake up with the guilt – whether they find out or not. You will judge yourself. No one else has to live with the decisions you make in secret.
Don’t get me wrong. I make plenty of bad decisions in private – and public too, for that matter. I’m no angel. I’m the queen of opening my mouth when I should have kept it shut. As much as I want to do the right thing and be good, my nasty flesh comes out and I spew out ugliness, laziness and selfishness in a hurry. While I’m just as wrong as the next person, I believe we should always remember to TRY to strive for improvement – in public AND in private.
What you do in private eventually comes out for all to see. If you cuss at home, you are sure to cuss eventually in front of someone. If you eat poorly when no one is watching, it will show up on your body. If you are a disgruntled employee, it WILL show in your attitude or work performance (and your boss will know – believe me, I know! ha!). If you want to change the way people see you, and you also want to see yourself differently too – start changing the way you act, and think, when you are alone.
You have to live with you for the rest of your life, so work to become a person you can forgive, be proud of, and be happy to live with. No matter how hard you try, you WILL fail. Just try to fail less often.
“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” ― John Wooden.
Make a decision today to eat, train and live like everyone is watching.
One of the most deceiving things going on in the gyms today is belief that people can work off what they eat and drink. People show up day after day, working very hard in public to show the world they can be a champion in the gym. However, it’s what they do in private that is losing their fight with fat.
Muhammad Ali recognized the importance of what you do “far from witnesses”, and realized he could never win the fight in the ring if he didn’t win the fight with himself first. He had to fight laziness and mediocrity. He had to fight fear and doubt. He had to convince himself that he could be the champion he desired.
“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”Muhammad Ali
In order to be the future champ, he had to be the champ in his workouts before he even faced his opponent. He had to go a few more reps and a few more steps past what his body wanted. He had to care for his body, which probably meant anything from a painful ice bath to getting the rest his body needed even when we didn’t want to take it.
He also recognized that it wasn’t always the big things in life that could bring a man down, it often was the small things that could trip a man up. The same goes with fitness. Your success can easily be tripped up by a few extra calories. The difference between getting thinner and seeing abs is the difference between stopping when you feel better, and continuing on past better to be your best. It is rarely the one hour workout (a mountain) that brings someone to quit, it’s the daily struggle to maintain a healthy diet, to keep showing up to the gym even when the results seem SO slow, that wears a person down.
“My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am.” Muhammad Ali
This quote may seem pompous, but it is a very true statement for most people. Most of our boot campers, and most of our members, do not realize how truly great they are. They often don’t believe in themselves as much as we believe in them. How can we believe in them? Because we have seen people JUST like them, who have the same set of excuses, fears, struggles and weaknesses, succeed. Once you realize how great you really are, you can do anything.
What I ask you today is this: Are you winning your fight far from witnesses, behind the lines, in your kitchen, in the gym and out there on the road? Or is you best effort what you want people see in the gym?
I wanted to share one of my quotes online the other day, so I just googled the one I needed so I could just grab it offline. I googled “I will beat her” and I was not prepared for what I saw. I saw a whole bunch of other women’s pictures with my words,
I Will Beat Her
I will train harder.
I will eat cleaner.
I know her weaknesses.
I know her strengths.
I’ve lost to her before, but not this time.
She is going down.
I have the advantage
because I know her well.
She is the old ME!
At first, I was a little annoyed by the people that didn’t give me credit, and then (after I put my pride aside and got off my “I work hard on my quotes” pity party), I realized the impact these words were making on these women.
Sure, I spend a lot of time trying to come up with motivational posts, but they are meaningless if no one is inspired or motivated by them. These women did exactly what I wanted them to do. They related, they connected with the message, and they realized that they too can “beat her”.
How often do we focus on what everyone else needs to do, instead of what we can just do better? How often do we compare ourselves to someone else when, if we were to compete with the old version of ourselves, we would have kicked that old person’s butt. We DO have the advantage. We DO know ourselves better than anybody else.
We know if keeping ice cream in the refrigerator will trip us up or not. We know if we go home between work and the gym, that we’ll be tempted to skip our workout. We know how and where we failed before, and we know what it takes for us to succeed. We know ourselves so well, there really is no excuse for us to fail. We have the knowledge we need to defeat our old self, and it’s up for us to apply that knowledge, to continue improving, getting stronger, learning from our failures and winning our own battles.
I was inspired by these people who applied these words to their own lives. I was encouraged by their drive to become the winner they know they are – and I hope you will also realize you too can “beat her”. She is You Too.
PS: I want to thank all the people that shared this quote (and others), as well as the people who may have redone the quote with their photo, but credited me. I really do appreciate it and hope it encourages more and more people. <3
Feel free to share any of my quote, use my photos, and put your blog or name on my images too (as long as you keep name/blog info on there as well.
How often do we let what’s convenient rob us of our progress? Wether it’s making that uncomfortable phone call to mend a relationship, return the grocery cart to where it belongs, go to church even though you can watch it online, eat out less so you can afford the gym membership you want , or eat healthy even though it takes more time and energy to prepare. Doing what’s right requires sacrifice.
However, we often do what’s convenient, not what’s right. Convenience is the thief that robs us of experiencing a much richer life. We make many poor decisions based on convenience, often letting our life lead us instead of us leading our life.
I think back to meeting Steve. There was absolutely nothing convenient about our date life. If I wanted to see him, I’d often have to stop by his job at “The Moon” (a night club in Tallahassee) just so I could look at him from a distance while he was keeping the peace as a bouncer. (This is a photo of us on Halloween night, about a month after we met. Steve, in his bright yellow MOON shirt, and me looking ridiculous in a French Maid costume. So original – NOT!. haha)
If Steve wanted to see me, he had to fit it in around his 3 jobs, school, workouts, and studying. As a bouncer, he would get off at 2 or 3 in the morning 3-4 days a week. Every saturday night, he’d drive clear across town to my parents house to sleep on the floor in their band room just so he could wake up and go to the early church service with me the next morning before going to his next job.
If I wanted more time with him, I’d ride with him on the way to work just for 20 extra minutes with him a day. I would also meet him at the gym just so we could workout at the same time because, even though we didn’t workout together, it was worth it to me to coordinate our workouts just for the chance to see his face, say a few words and get a quick kiss.
The bottom line is when we REALLY want something, we don’t care if it’s convenient or not. Convenience has no power over us. When we are focused, determined, driven…we are never too lazy, too tired, too poor, too busy.
If you have made some recent decisions (big or small) based on what was convenient, maybe you don’t want whatever you think you wanted as badly as you thought. OR, you need to decide now that you are no longer going to let “the thief” rob you any longer.
Of course, I realize there is some practicality behind doing what is convenient, but if convenience is leading your life – that probably means YOU are not.
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”. James 4:17
In fitness, you don’t just want to stay on track, you want to keep moving ahead! Sadly, there are a lot of people that get on track, make a little progress, and then just stop, for no apparent reason, before they ever reach their goal.
That’s like showing up for a race, running half of it and then just sitting down on the side of the road. Who does that? Well, pretty much everyone at some point in time on their fitness journey. No one in their right mind would do that in a marathon, unless they were injured. But, when it comes to working out, dieting, etc., people do it all the time.
The difference in those last 10-20lbs of fat is just where the person stops on the course. Many times a person thinks “I did great, I lost XWZ pounds and I feel so much better” and they basically go sit down at the 20 mile mark. BUT, if they just kept on going, and wasn’t just satisfied was feeling “better”, they could do amazing and become their BEST. Better is always good, but why stop short from experiencing your best?
Have you become comfortable where you are right now with your routine, weight or diet? Or are you ready to see this thing all the way through and finish this things like a champ?! The same work that you did to get where you are now will keep working to get you where you want to be – as long as you don’t slow down or quit. So, get back on track and get back to moving forward! #livewithfire
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I think we’d be in a much better place if we didn’t focus on where we were but, instead, focused on where were are going. We tend to obsess over what we are NOT, and forget who we ARE, and who we are BECOMING.
I’m not a fast runner, but I run. I am not super strong, but I lift. I am getting faster, and I am getting stronger. Unfortunately, most of us are very impatient. We want to get the the “finish lines” of life in one big step, but that is unrealistic. We rarely get anywhere in life in one step. Everything great takes time. But, what separates the success stories from the failures is not really how strong or fast someone is, but whether they persevere.
Although I am not suggesting you become complacent and not care about your overall performance, what I am suggesting is that you don’t focus so much on your performance that you forget your accomplishments. Each run you complete, each day you show up to the gym, every calorie you count, and every ounce you lose is an accomplishment.
Whatever you are working toward, You Can Finish This!
Think of where you were once, at your worst. Now think of where you are now. Lastly, think about where you are headed if you continue to press on toward your goals. THAT’s who you are – who you are, is who you are becoming.
Your Finish Line
Here are 4 steps to reaching your finish line.
1. Choose Your Race: Someone who has never run before rarely signs up for a marathon. Most people don’t just “show up” without a little planning. With fitness, “choosing your race” means choosing your goal. This can also mean choosing a gym, a class, a diet or trainer. Before you even take your first step, you have to make some important choices first.
2. Map Your Route: Before a runner starts, they have to know where to go – and so do you. Make sure you know the route to your finish line very well so you can stay on course. Choose some friends to “run with”. Having a workout partner, trainer or a group of people at work working on the same goals can help you from straying or losing focus.
3. Check Points: Create a few small goals and a few moderate goals to help encourage you, as well as make sure you stay on track. Check points can be small weight loss goals, performance based goals, or health improvements like improved resting heart rate or cholesterol levels.
4. Finish Line: Make sure you have main goal, or set of goals, and post them where you can see them every day. Can you imagine running a race with no visible finish line? Make sure your “black and white checkered flag” can be easily seen every moment along your journey. Out of site, means out of mind.
WARNING: This is a rant. It’s a helpful motivational rant, but still a rant. This comes from years of watching people try every stupid diet, try every silly fitness gadget, take every useless diet pill, hire every lame trainer and take every ridiculous short cut – when, if they did fitness the right way, they’d be super fit by now. With that said, here we go!
As a fitness professional, I have seen a lot of people try everything under the sun to avoid doing what they know works because it’s harder. We live in a world where we like to push boundaries. We want to get away with as much as possible without getting in trouble.
If you don’t think you are one of those people, then let me ask you a simple question. If the speed limit is 70, how fast do you go? I’ll be honest. I’ll go 79. Why? Because I think that’s as fast as I can go and get away with it without being pulled over.
Some police officers say they give people 10-15mph leeway on the highway and 8-10mph break in residential areas. Of course officers could give a ticket for going 4 miles over the speed limit if they wanted, but the point is most people are pushing the limits. We all do it on some level.
The same goes with fitness. People try to eat as much as they can and get away with it. They often avoid workouts they need the most (like cardio) and do the most what they need to least.
If you think you have a chance of getting fit and still having your cake and eat it too, you bet you are going to try it. The problem is, no one is barging in your house and fining you for breaking diet laws. Your “fine” is the scale – and what you see in the mirror. So really, you never get away with it.
Listen, it’s super rare someone can eat cheeseburgers and be shredded. Have I met people who are like that? Sure I have. I also know that person worked out like a FREAK and had genetics made for professional athletes. Since I know I will never workout THAT hard, I also know I shouldn’t ever eat THAT much. Plain and simple.
“Find a trainer who cares about your body more than your checkbook.”
If you have been trainer-hopping (or workout partner-hopping) trying to find someone who will tell you what you want to hear, maybe it’s time to suck it up and try a trainer who cares about your waistline more than your checkbook. (PS: I’m not soliciting – I am not taking clients.) Maybe it’s time you find someone who is willing to tell you the truth, work you out harder than you ever have, and diet like you have never dieted before whether you like it or not – BECAUSE they know no matter how much you may hate them at that moment, you will love them when you reach your goal.
It’s time to quit waisting time
Quit wasting time trying to take short cuts, trying to see how much you can get away with and still reach your goals. AND….If you are one of those people who eat crap and have abs, keep it to yourself because most people can’t do that – and your big mouth will make some poor sap think they can do it too and your bad influence will cost them success.
Do what you KNOW you NEED to do, not what you WANT to do – because if you do what you NEED to do, you will get the results you WANT to get!
“I can’t run”
It’s not like everyone can just start running 3 miles, but you can run something. Run for 1 minute, walk for 2. Run until you can’t catch your breath, and walk until you catch it again. See, you CAN run.
“I hate cardio”
Everyone hates stuff they aren’t good at, but the only way to get better is with practice. If you hate something, you probably stink at it – and that’s all the more reason you need to do it more.
Everyone fails, not everyone keeps trying. The good news is there is no limit to how many times you can keep starting over.
Whether we are talking about life or talking about fitness, we will all face difficulties. It’s not the difficulty that shapes our future, it’s our response to it. The only difference between someone who fails and someone who succeeds is how they respond to failure because EVERYONE fails.
We fail every day. We fail small, we fail big. No matter the size of our failure, our response can be to give up or persevere. We get mad – or we can get stronger. Anger will not improve anything. Tears will not help. Quitting is an escape. Giving up only masks our weakness so we don’t have to face it every day.
No matter who cuts you off in traffic, no matter how hard your trainer pushes you, no matter how hungry you get if you’re dieting, and no matter how much you doubt if you can succeed, decide today how you plan to react for success – because it’s not what happens to you, but your reaction to what happens to you, that matters most.