As a culture, we’ve gotten really, really good at sharing every thought that crosses our brains no matter how insignificant. If you’ve checked social media lately, we are literally screaming at the top of our digital lungs about the shape of our eyebrows, the food we ate or about the election (still!).
We all do it, but the downside to this over sharing is that we are also under listening. Or rather, not listening at all because we’re too busy thinking of the next thing we’re going to say and how to say it for the most likes and shares. We’re so wrapped up in perfecting a clever 140-word caption that captures the essence of our humanity and our beliefs that we have literally forgotten how to shut up and listen.
It’s no wonder then that when we decide to embark on a new path, be it a ketogenic diet, Pilates, CrossFit or something random like summiting Mt. Everest, we are met with a lot of, er, opinions.
Basically, other people’s noise and fears projected on to us.
“Don’t lift weights, it’ll make you bulky.”
“Don’t quit your job to start a business. You’ll fail!”
“Don’t do CrossFit unless you want to get hurt.”
“You can’t buy a house in this market!”
Whether or not these opinions are well-intentioned or not, the fact of the matter is, they are nothing but unsolicited, irrelevant, and biased opinions.
If we want to succeed in our fitness and health journey, sometimes it’s necessary to examine the thoughts, relationships and behaviors holding us back more than just the new veggies and workouts we need to add.
Here’s my Top 5 MUSTS if you want to improve and succeed in your health and fitness journey.
1. Say it with me “Social media is not real life”
By now we know social media is the highlight reel of our lives, yet we continue to compare ourselves to those we follow online. It’s one thing to search for inspiration online, but if anyone you follow is causing you to feel bad about your own life or procrastinate on your own goals, hit the unfollow button and do a social media detox pronto.
A lot of fitness models, athletes and coaches use social media for business purposes so obviously they’re only posting relevant info and photos that align with their message. It doesn’t mean they don’t occasionally struggle, ugly cry, get scared, or fail a lift. It just means you’re unlikely to see it.
Take ownership of who you follow online, and remember that the Internet is not real life.
2. Quit your excuses
Healthy and successful people know they are in charge of what happens in their lives and not the other way around. Playing victim to life’s circumstances is downright lazy and making excuses means you don’t have to take action or ownership of your actions.
Realizing that you’re 100% responsible for your actions and reactions means you have the power to ditch the excuses that are holding you back from reaching your goals. Doing that alone puts you in the driver’s seat, thus making your success a choice you make and not something that you stumble upon.
3. Keep your eyes on your own paper
Everyone has an opinion, but the most successful people in their fitness and health journey know to filter out 99% of it.
If you have a friend or family member that likes to downplay your efforts to be healthy, stop talking to them about it. Just keep doing your thing because that person will have an opinion whether or not you say anything anyway.
They might say “I’m just a realist” to justify their negative opinions but know that you’re not required to listen or care about their “realistic” opinion of you. You can shrug it off, walk away, unfollow or politely tell them off.
Keep your eyes on your own paper and get obsessed with your own shit (thanks to Jill Coleman for the reminder!). If they want to focus on your stuff, so be it. You’ll be moving forward, getting some big wins, and making change happen while they get left behind with their opinions.
4. Find a new tribe
The reason CrossFit is a successful brand with hundreds of thousands of boxes (i.e. gyms) all over the world is because CrossFitters are a tribe of like-minded individuals that support one another in doing more CrossFitty things.
Be like a CrossFitter and find your tribe. Those are the friends, mentors, coaches etc. that support you and your goals, cheer you on when you attempt the impossible and keep you focused on your goals. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Facebook community, a running club or a bunch of bloggers you follow, go out there and find your people. They are out there.
5. Assert yourself proudly
What makes our healthy habits stick isn’t the perfect formula or workout plan, but our self-conviction in doing them. The only thing you can do is to assert yourself loudly and proudly despite what others might do, say, or think.
When we approach our goals or new lifestyle habits with conviction, people see and feel that. They may still offer their unsolicited opinions and advice, to which I say “F*&K ‘EM!” because when you have self-conviction, you stand your ground in pursuit of your goals no matter what. You live it, feel it, and breathe it and that’s the kind of assertiveness that no one can drag down.
Okay, so what if you’re out there practicing these 5 things but there’s someone in your life who insists that they speak their mind anyway (we all know someone like this)? Maybe you can’t get rid of them but you do have control over how much you share with them and how much time you spend together. But here’s another, very fun BONUS tip for that….
6. Practice the F word
Not the F-bomb, but forgiveness!
This is a mantra I stole from Gabrielle Bernstein long ago. When all is said and done, having compassion for others and practicing forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves. Forgiving someone, especially if they’re close to us, for poo-pooing on our health parade or dreams is easier said than done at times. However, when we forgive the naysayers we make room for better things to follow. Better coaches, fit friends that support us, cool gyms we want to hang out in and so on. It’s essential that we forgive our loved ones for projecting their false beliefs and fears on us because we cannot be responsible for their stuff. Your goals are not their goals. Your path is not their path. That scares people, sometimes. They’re scared FOR us and for the fallout of those choices. That’s their burden to bear not yours.
Practicing the F word doesn’t mean we excuse bad behavior, but it does give us peace because we’re not harboring feelings of resentment and “How could you say/do that to me?” -isms that only bring us down and get us off track.
Stay on course. Drop the F-bomb of forgiveness and get on with your life.