Well dudes, 2016 is just about over. Now, I know there are lots of you who are relieved – if you pay any attention to the internet at all it seems like we’re supposed to say that it was a really bad year. Even my thirteen-year-old daughter rolled her eyes at me when I expressed that this last week of the year was kind of bittersweet. “Mom.” she said, “2016 is the one we don’t talk about.” Yeah, I know a childish megalomaniac got elected. I know a lot of cultural icons died. I know that world politics have taken a horrific swing to the right and it seems like all the love and respect and tolerance and acceptance are being stamped out…I know all that. And it’s scary as hell. But in my little corner of the universe, 2016 was pretty awesome: I figured a lot of stuff out, I learned a ton, and now the stage is set for 2017 to be freaking amazing. But before we get on with the amazingness of 2017, there is one week left to reflect on the old year, get some rest, make some plans, and generally get our heads around what we want to make happen. And that, my friends, is why this is just about my favorite week of the year.
Take a moment to consider this: what if ANYTHING were possible?
Now, I’m not talking about sprouting wings or developing superpowers or stuff like that (although how cool would that be?), but staying within the laws of physics, what if you could do anything? Be anybody? What would you do? What kind of dent would you leave in the universe?
Fitness is a cool industry to be in, because fitness is usually the place where people go to take the first baby steps toward being a more awesome version of themselves. We seem to have this idea that once we look better, we will be better…which isn’t necessarily the case but that’s the perceived pattern in western culture: attractiveness equals success, confidence, and happiness. Really what happens in people who are successful at getting fit and strong is this: they begin to believe in themselves. They treat their bodies better and are rewarded with more energy, better sleep, sharper mental function, and a higher sex drive. They feel more confident which can translate to increased success at work and a larger paycheque. Those effects snowball. Now, I know that as fitness professionals we get a bad rap sometimes; gym culture can be somewhat toxic and steeped in appearance-focused two-dimensional douchebaggery. I get it. But I choose to believe that we are SO MUCH MORE than that. I think we can be better and dig deeper and that with our help, the journey toward better physical fitness leads not only to increased physical strength, but to increased strength of character and convictions, to belief in a better world, to acceptance of our differences, to daring to dream bigger, to confidence in ourselves and each other, to determination and focus and optimism. Sure, it might start with the usual tired, annual, half-hearted New Year’s Resolution to lose 10 pounds, but imagine what that little glowing coal of hope could turn into given the right environment to grow and explore and learn. A freaking raging bonfire, that’s what it could turn into!
So. What I’m going to do this week is take some time to be happy about the good stuff that happened in 2016, and think about how I can use that momentum to carry me into the new year. I’m also going to consider the roadblocks I faced this year and take inventory of what I learned from them. I’m going to sleep lots, lift heavy stuff, train some of my dedicated clients who still want to work out between Christmas and New Year’s Day, play some music, and make a plan of attack for 2017…because if it’s going to be the amazing year I want it to be, there’s no time for doubting, waffling, or second guessing – there is only time for moving forward. For DOING.
There’s a big, strange, foggy space between thinking and doing. It’s easy to get caught between the two – I know I’ve gotten lost in that weird sketchy nowhereland more than once. Tell me if this sounds familiar: you decide that you want to accomplish something. You want it pretty badly. It starts taking over your thoughts. You think about it all day, you stress about how you’re going to make it happen, you dream about it at night…and it just. Doesn’t. Happen? Doesn’t even seem to get any closer? What the hell, right? I mean, you’re working so hard at it. Why is nothing happening?
That’s what getting lost between thinking and doing feels like. Where it FEELS like you’re working so hard at something, but really you’re not actually taking any steps toward what you want to accomplish. And it can be torture. So, how do you avoid getting lost?
The answer to that question seems obvious, but it took this girl a long time to figure it out. A chronic dreamer, I want to achieve all the big things and I can see making them happen someday. What doesn’t come naturally to me, and is perhaps the biggest lesson I learned in 2016, is to figure out the minutiae of what has to happen right now in order to turn someday into next year, next month, tomorrow…a real, tangible date. If you want to go somewhere you’ve never been, you need to a) sit down with a map and figure out the route, b) get directions from someone who knows the way, or c) all of the above because every journey is a little bit different. Once the route is planned, the whole trip becomes more realistic and less overwhelming – then all you have to do is stick to the schedule. No more thinking. And you know what? Once you get to where you just do the thing, every day, it stops being stressful and just becomes part of who you are…and that’s when good things happen.
So my challenge for you for the last week of 2016, is this: consider what you would do if anything were possible. Figure out what you would need to do to make it happen, in baby steps. Then take the first baby step.
Let me know how it goes! I’m always listening.