As I was reflecting the other day on my life up to now, it occurred to me that the process of getting fit is a metaphor for living a full life. Stay with me here .
To get fit one needs to 1) decide to do it, 2) decide how to do it (plan) 3) do it and 4) re-evaluate from time to time. Simple and is pretty much the way we conduct our lives in general. So let’s look at this more closely.
Decide to Do It
Whatever you do, from improving your relationships, getting better at your job to getting fit, the first step is to decide to do it. But that by itself isn’t always so easy. Why? Because wanting to do something isn’t the same as doing it! How often have you heard “I was going to do that” or “if only I had more time”, you got the idea. Hope won’t give you a strong heart or big muscles! Blaming others or life situations (not enough time, my wife won’t let me, my dog ate my workout clothes, etc.) also won’t increase muscle mass.
It’s very common for fitness trainers to hear these sorts of comments after they explain to the client what needs to be done to get fit. It’s hard work and many people “want” to be fit, but balk when they see the work involved.
It’s the same with relationships. How many of us would have had children if we had known the time, energy and emotional commitment involved beforehand (be honest now!)? How many people get divorced because they just can’t or don’t spend the time, energy, emotional commitment and personal responsibility that’s necessary for a fulfilling lifetime relationship? Or professional development if getting a University degree were easy, everyone would do it!
Researchers say that if your parents were fit, you are more likely to follow a fitness lifestyle. People tend to be most comfortable with the patterns of behavior and communication styles learned from their parents. Psychologists say that even if your parents followed a very unhealthy lifestyle or had a terrible marriage, you are not doomed to make the same mistakes if you are aware of the behaviors and values that you learned from them that hold you back.
Decide How to Do It
Ok, so you make a plan on how to get fit. Everyone does this differently. Some people research the web or get a book and follow it. Some people just join a sports team or some other activity that they like. Some people hire a professional trainer. All are good. All will increase fitness. Like any other plan, setting measurable goals helps not only to get motivated and focused but also for evaluation later.
Goal setting is something that most of us have learned to do in school and on our jobs, but I was really surprised when I went to a marriage counselor years ago who advised me to set some goals for my marriage as well. It was a valuable exercise because it made me look at what areas of my relationship were good for me, what areas I could improve on and what mistakes I had made that I didn’t want to repeat. Also, it gave the counselor a platform to help me work on those areas of myself and hence my relationship(s). The same methodology is used by fitness trainers all the time.
Well, Yea. Just do it .if you don’t like it or it just doesn’t work for you try something else. Fitness, profession, family, health, skill development etc. all take a lifetime to do well. No pain, no gain as the saying goes. It’s just plain old hard work.
Learning from successes and mistakes is the key here. Just like your job or relationships, your body will change and so you will need to make changes. As you get fitter, you will be able to handle more intense workouts. If you get injured or develop illness, you will need to change your workouts to accommodate the injury.
And hence the metaphor argument: being flexible and willing to grow into our challenges serves us well in health, relationships, profession and LIFE.
Copyright (c) 2007 Ainsley Laing