In the course of any given week, I communicate with up to a dozen or so prospective members. I would guess that about two out of three either put off or have been putting off starting an exercise and nutrition program for months, sometimes even years.
The biggest impediment to our health and fitness may be the word “once”.
Most seem to be waiting for some elusive point in their life that’s less chaotic, less busy, less stressful. I’ll hear stuff like, once the kids are back in school, once my business travel slackens up a bit, once my Mom feels better, or once I finish this project. I begin to feel that the biggest impediment to our health and fitness may be the word “once”.
Have you ever heard the expression, “perfect is the enemy of good”? It’s attributed to the French Enlightenment philosopher, Voltaire. The literal translation is actually, “the best is the enemy of the good.”
Unfortunately, there will never be a perfect time to start. There may never be a “best” time. There is, however, now. And now is probably as “good” a time as any.
“Mom, you used to be really pretty, and thin!”
My friend and online client, Carla, whom I’ve introduced in a couple of earlier posts, was no different than most. By the time she actually reached out to me, she had been vacillating for months about getting started. The trigger, the final straw that prompted her to contact me was a comment from her teenage son, Manny. Looking at some old photos from when she and her husband Sam were dating, Manny commented, “Mom, you used to be really pretty, and thin!” However, well intended this “compliment” may have been, it stung. Only three words of that sentence stuck with Carla… “used to be”.
In spite of their sting, those three words were a blessing. They were the nudge Carla needed to take action, to do something. Now.
Like most of us, she too was waiting for the perfect moment to start. She had a whole list of familiar justifications for delay… one of the kids had been sick, another was heading off to college, Sam was away doing research, her Dad took a fall and broke his wrist back home in Texas… you name it, there was always something. Thankfully, with Manny’s unintended nudge, she realized that there was never going to be a “perfect”, or even a “best” time to take action. But, now was a good time.
Too often we wait, vacillate, and prevaricate with ourselves, thinking that once we get through whatever present disruption or challenge that life has thrown at us, things will settle down and then we’ll start. But, life seldom cooperates. No sooner have we achieved that long sought-after period of balance when another unexpected and unwelcome disruption arrives.
The feeling of relief and gratification from finally taking action is powerful.
For Carla, the trigger was the sting and embarrassment of an innocent remark about how she “used to be.” For others it’s a serious health scare like a heart attack. Whatever the impetus, the feeling of relief and gratification from finally taking action is powerful.
“I just wish I had started this years ago, Paul! These past few years would’ve been so different. I feel liberated, like I had been trapped in my flabby and disgusting body. I literally hated looking at myself in the mirror and wondered if I’d ever feel ‘pretty’ or ‘thin’ again,” Carla confessed when we spoke live a couple weeks ago.
Perfect is the enemy of good. There will never be a perfect time. Now is good.
Just some speculation here, but I think that a big reason why so many people delay getting started is that they mistakenly believe that they’ve got to go from zero to sixty right out of the gates. They think they need to go from couch potato and junk-food junkie to an all-out eight-days-a-week maniacal fitness nut and full-on Vegan overnight.
Such radical change is not necessary to make a strong start and to begin feeling remarkably better in a remarkably short time. In my next post, I’ll describe how we use a nifty metaphor of a radio dial to illustrate that just by turning up the dial even a little bit, we can make substantial and sustainable changes over time. Look for that post, titled “Turn Up The Volume!”
Until then, we’d love to speak with you or someone you care about who could use some support and guidance getting unstuck and started down a path to better health and happiness. Please click here for our MidStrong Training and Nutrition Application. It takes less than 2 minutes to complete and Paul or Julie will be in touch with you personally within 24 hours.
Thanks so much for all your support!
Be strong and have fun!