“Just do _______ for a week”

Yeah right… I’ve been trying. Two weeks ago I discovered an online burpee challenge to do 3 X 10 burpees for two weeks. I’ve seen these things before and I like them so, I put up a post on the Simply Health FB group for some volunteers to try one new physical challenge for two weeks to create a new habit. The idea was that after about two weeks this new fitness challenge would become part of a person’s everyday habit and improve overall health/fitness/mindset. I’d post a video each day of my progress and we’d all have some fun doing it. I was wrong.

New habits are hard to create. Between traveling to New Jersey for a family gathering and having two small kids at home with me all week I can say with conviction that I was only about 70% successful with this challenge. I probably missed four or five (maybe 6?) days of burpees. Not because of travel or some other conflict… I missed those days “just because”. I was either not motivated enough, or I made some other excuse for not getting it done. Whatever the reason, I didn’t make my personal goal of being able to do 30 burpees all at once. I started out strong but just didn’t follow through.

I can tell you that I feel like a failure. As one of the moderators of the Simply Health FB group and as a personal trainer, I feel the pressure to be a role model for others. When I don’t follow through with challenges and goals I take it personally. When I ask for others to partake in a challenge that I’m doing, I feel a responsibility to be a helpful part of the motivating process. I try to help by:

  • Setting an example. I shouldn’t be doing anything that I don’t expect myself to complete.
  • Providing support. I have to be available to members of the group if they reach out with questions and/or need a pick me up.
  • Celebrating others’ successes. I want to help group members celebrate their achievements and highlight how they got there.

The last, and most important, thing I try and do to help the community is the be myself. Be a human being, with all of the complexities and hard realities of being an adult and having to adult (a lot) every. single. day. If I’m not authentic about my own struggles in my journey to longevity and health, everyone will think that either; it’s easy for me, or; this kind of living should be easy and ‘why can’t I get the same results in the same amount of time because he makes it look so easy?’.

Today I didn’t hit my goal. Lots of days I don’t hit my goals. I’ve slid backwards in my nutrition. I’ve put on pounds and I’ve reacted poorly to the scale (even when I’ve written that the scale doesn’t affect my psychologically… I guess sometimes it does…). All of the things I’ve said to not do, I’ve done (with the exception of not eating candy!). I’ve cheated and not told anyone (eventually I end up telling Emmy).

Another recent failure: Eat in a Seat: Really Hard as F^*#. I was able to do in all the way through the day…. once. Only one day since I posted the idea on the blog. It’s so hard to break the mindless eating while standing up. This might be the single hardest thing I’ve had to break from… including candy. It’s really easy for me to get caught up in all the failures I have in regards to my health goals. 

The one thing I’m not doing though, is holding it in anymore. I talk about it. I don’t bottle it up inside. I tell my wife, I post online, I talk to my brother of father about it. I’ve found a community of people who I feel support from and no judgement. I’ve found that when I bottle up these off days and cheats, I start to resent myself. When I resent myself and my actions, I start to convince myself that maybe I’m just not cut out for living healthy, or maybe I’m just happier being 30lbs heavier, or that it’s just too hard for me, or I’m not good enough. 

Fuck that.

I’m going to get back on the horse and try again. Five thousand two hundred and sixty-four times in a row, if I have to. Whatever the setback, I’ll get up again. Whatever the obstacle, I’ll eventually overcome it. Maybe not as fast or as easily as I originally envisioned, but it will fall. Why?

Because I choose to. I choose to focus on what I was able to do. If I’ve sat in a seat for an entire day while eating, I can do it again. Next time, I’ll try two days in a row. I may not have done fourteen days in a row of 30 burpees, but I was able to do 10/14 days. That’s better than the hundred days before it. So… not bad. My ten word mantra seems to be apt.

Be a little bit better today than I was yesterday.

It doesn’t mean you must accomplish more each day, it means that just by trying you are ARE better. Trying  to be a little bit better, trying to get back on the horse, trying to overcome a setback.

try one. more. time.


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