Please welcome Dave. I’ve been a guest on his podcast. Ive chatted with him often about fitness and healthy living.
I admit to not always believing men can “get” what motivates and inspires women.
Dave gets it.
3 Reminders I Tell Myself Every Time I Feel Like Quitting
Think back to a moment when everything seemed to be going your way.
You were eating well…
Exercise was on-track…
You were feeling great…Nothing could stop you!
But then something did.
That “high wave” you were riding turned into a “trough” that had been waiting around the corner. Maybe you didn’t exercise for a few days becaue work had you tied up. Or maybe you had an argument with one of your close friends and that threw you into a bit of a funk. Perhaps your kids aren’t being as cooperative as they were yesterday (hard to imagine that ever happening, right?)
I’ve been a personal trainer and fitness coach for 16 years, so people sometimes assume that I’ve got it all figured out.
I go through the highs and lows just like you.
In fact, I just experienced one last week when my Hawaiin vacation (that was intended to be a time of re-charging and re-focusing) turned into a hectic scramble as a number of mini-emergencies came up throughout the week.
Instead of letting my mind relax while riding some waves on my surf board, I found myself seated at my laptop, stress levels rising, as I tried to keep up with my email inbox.
I wasn’t exercising. I wasn’t eating well. I sure didn’t feel very healthy.
Here’s one thing I’ve learned though:
Everyone in life experiences these peaks and trough moments. Life’s easy when we’re riding the proverbial peak wave. But when the trough comes, it’s a bit harder to take a step back and see the bigger picture. We can begin to identify ourselves with that “trough phase”, forgetting to remember that it is just that – a phase.
So to help you push through your next trough, whether it be fitness-related or in life in general, here are 3 Reminders I Tell Myself Every Time I Feel Like Quitting.
1. Troughs Are Part of Your Process
Nothing worth achieving ever comes from that which is easy.
Have you ever seen a movie in which there was no conflict? Have you ever read a book where there was no plot twists at all? Do you think Lord of the Rings would have been one of the greatest movie series of all time if Frodo just walked a 5-minute journey up a hill and picked up the ring effortlessly? (hopefully I didn’t lose you with a nerdy Lord of the Rings reference!)
You are living in a movie, and you are the main star.
To make the movie interesting, you’re going to experience trials and some pain. You are going to go through parts of life that may not be as enjoyable as we want it to be. But that’s okay, because troughs are part of the process.
Troughs/disaster/misfortune are what make life interesting. Yes, it may really suck in the moment, but when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture (maybe a month or a year down the road), you will be able to see the value in a bit of catastrophe. A smooth-sailing life just isn’t very interesting!
2. There Is Meaning In Your Suffering
Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust Survivor. In his book “Man’s Search For Meaning” he talks about his experience in the concentration camp as well as some life lessons he picked up along the way. One of the most profound things that he said was, “In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning…”
Coming from a person who was exposed to some of the harshest conditions and environments that a person can experience, I think it’s safe to say that Viktor’s words hold a bit more weight to them than your Average Joe.
In the book, he mentions an experience where he was consulting a patient who had been miserable since his wife had passed (this was during Frankl’s psychiatrist days). After the patient unloaded all his “baggage” to Viktor – telling him how he had been feeling heartbroken, gloomy and depressed – Viktor asked him the question, “How would you feel if your wife had to experience what you’re experiencing right now?”
The patient went on to say how never in a million years would he want the love of his life to feel what he was feeling at that point in time. Viktor then took the approach that if he (the patient) was to die first, then his wife would have to experience all of the depressive emotions that come along with losing a loved one. So, instead of her carrying that heavy baggage, he was to do it instead.
After taking this approach, the man found meaning in the suffering – the meaning of him going through that negative experience so that she doesn’t have to.
I mean think about it when you’re exercising…You’re LITERALLY putting intended stress on your body in order for it to grow back stronger. Whether that stress is from lifting weights, running, or even practicing yoga, the “meaning” behind exercise is to grow stronger than you were before the stress was applied.
I know it’s sometimes easier said than done, but when times are getting tough, try to find meaning in the suffering and the suffering will cease to exist.
3. Your Persistence Will Prevail Every Time
My favorite self-reminder of all:
No matter how tough things get, no matter how much chaos there is around me, no matter how many “troughs” I experience; the number one thing I can always rely on is the fact that Persistence Prevails Every Time.
I know my goals, and I hope you know yours too. I know that if every day I just make 1 little step towards my goals, I’ll eventually get there. Whether it takes 1 day, 100 days or 1000 days – if I just keep on the path and continue walking, I’ll eventually get to where I want to be.
Imagine if the “heroes of humanity” just decided to give up at one point instead of moving torwards their goals step-by-step? Imagine if women like Mother Teresa, Helen Keller and Rosa Parks just gave up on their journies? We wouldn’t have the freedom or compassion in life that we have today, and those women perhaps wouldn’t even be put into the “hero” category.
I know comparing Mother Theresa’s lifelong body of work to our daily struggles might seem like a stretch, but maybe it’s not. We look back at historical figures and see what they did as a whole, whereas we know our own lives so intimately. Your “little” persistence today may not seem significant, but that’s because you see it through the tiniest of microscopes.
Persistance, just like any habit, grows stronger with practice. It’s hard to even imagine where your persistance today will lead you in the future. That’s an exciting thought!
To sum things up, I know that life can sometimes be a pain. And sometimes there’s so much chaos that you’re likely just trying to make it through the day (let alone making time to look after your own health!)
But, keep in mind that these life “troughs” are just a temporary phase. You can choose to see these phases as roadblocks that end in you falling off-track or giving up completely, OR you can choose see them as opportunities to grow stronger and become more resilient than you were before.
What about my Hawaii “vacation” experience? It wasn’t the week of relaxation I hoped for, but I was able to remember that it’s all just part of my life movie…and I did make time for a little surfing!
How do you deal with troughs you experience in life? What self-reminders keep you from quitting?
Dave Smith is a professional fitness and weight-loss coach who was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013. He shares awesome health and weight-loss tips through his blog and podcast that you can find at makeyourbodywork.com.