I think the beginning of my personal change was the hardest for me. I think the beginning of any change is uncomfortable. Then again, much of my difficulty was a reflection of me.
I was told that if I wanted to build my self-esteem then I’d have to do esteemable acts. To be very clear and with all the honesty I have in my heart, I absolutely hated the one-line helpful statements like this.
I couldn’t stand them.
I remember the first time I tried to lose weight. I was uncomfortable. I loved my food because this was my comfort; and besides, I work hard. I deserve my food.
Now, please, keep in mind that I used to be the skinny kid. I could literally eat anything I wanted, and as much as I wanted, and nothing would happen.
I ate junk food, fast food, and anything I could think of. I would eat fast. I would eat a lot and never gain weight. I poked fun at others that watched their weight and ate in front of them. (I say this with regret by the way.)
Then age showed up.
Then my metabolism slowed down. Then I slowed down and then, years later, I saw a picture of two guys on the back of a fishing boat. I thought to myself, “Who’s the fat guy?” And that’s when it hit me.
The fat guy was me!
I didn’t even recognize me-
I had to take a look at myself. I had to see where this came from. I also had to recognize that I gave myself the permission to slip this far away from my healthier form.
I looked for answers. I asked questions and sure enough, what did I hear? I heard those one-line zingers and positive affirmation statements that everyone hears when they start to make a change.
I couldn’t stand this.
I couldn’t stand the people that told me this either. I couldn’t stand the people I saw in the gym. They were all healthy, all of them in great shape, and then there was me, breathing heavy, fat cheeks, overweight, and sweating on the treadmill, literally cursing every single one of the pretty people in my head.
I remember there was an afternoon that I was somewhat pleased with my output. I was on the elliptical machine for a good 30 minutes, sweating hard, and moving along when out of nowhere comes this young kid, really good looking too, muscles ripped and sculpted, a shirt barely on and ripped up so he could show off his physique with a white baseball cap on, slightly crooked and to the side.
He approached me and warmed, “Excuse me Mister.”
He said this to me like I was an old man.
No wait, he said this to me like I was old and should be in a home on a couch and in need of Velcro shoes.
Then helpfully, the youngster pointed to the heart rate monitor on my machine and told me, “Better watch your heart rate. You could have a heart attack.”
And then the youngster just walked away.
That son of a bitch!
I felt so defeated. I wiped the machine with a towel to clean my sweat from the grips. I patted the sweat from my face. Then I left the cardio room, went outside in the cold winter air and into the parking lot, hopped in my car and went down the street buy a burrito. I bought more than one, if I’m being honest.
Regardless to the change, all changes are personal, and all changes come with a process.
The best idea is to find a plan that works best. Also, it is helpful to understand what does not work. In my case, regardless to the personal change, I had to know what was productive and what was counterproductive.
More importantly, in order to empower me, I had to learn how to encourage myself and be my own best support.
They say the first steps are the hardest ones to take.
And do you know what?
I say this too.
I say this is because we are used to doubting ourselves. I say this is a result of low self-esteem. I say the hole gets deeper when we feel low about ourselves. There seems to be no way out.
And why bother trying, right? I mean, we’re just gonna end up being uncomfortable—or worse, failing, and then here we are, back on the couch with a fat gut (So-to-speak.)
There needs to be a change.
Isaac Newton once said an object at rest will remain at rest until altered by the action of an external force. This means something has to happen. Something has to give, but what?
What else has to happen?
This is the case with any change.
I will take this back to me and my successful weight loss.
What else had to happen?
I asked myself this question. Did I need to feel more shame? Did I need to hear my wheezing breath when I over exerted myself or walked up or down the steps? Did my bones need to hurt more? What needed to happen for me to create the change in my direction?
Did I need to get sick?
Did something awful have to happen?
They say the toughest part of personal transformation is the beginning.
I agree with this.
Maybe this is because we don’t feel up to the task.
We’re in a slump.
We feel poorly about ourselves.
Maybe our reward system is depleted and while we understand our personal gifts are less than beneficial, at least our reward system has a glimpse of satisfaction.
Our thoughts and our ideas have already been trained. For whichever reason, we think that we’ll fail or that something else will go wrong.
We have been conditioned to expect the outcomes.
We expect the worst and we’ve grown accustomed to the understanding of impending doom, because, after all, this is us. This has always been us and we wouldn’t understand life if it were any other way.
The first steps are the hardest steps.
I agree with the idea that the beginning is uncomfortable and awkward. I agree that the effort might seems pointless or humiliating at first, which truly sucks, and that doubt gets in the way
We are creatures of comfort. And the truth is everyone wants to feel better. We all want to be empowered and to be at our best. But at our worst, the best doesn’t seem possible. So why bother?
Everyone wants to shine and be attractive, to be beautiful, wanted, validated, and desirable.
Truth is we are all of the above. Sometimes; however, we just need to understand how to rebuild our beautiful.
The truth of any change is as follows: We will remain at rest (or in motion) unless altered by some kind of external force.
I get that.
But what if the changing force came from within?
What if we learned to change our state of inertia from within and rather than be left to outside circumstance; what if we created our own movement?
If all change comes to “Self” then what must happen is we need to find our driving force. We need to understand our why, or where, our when and furthermore, we need to give ourselves the permission to make this a priority.
St. Francis famously said, “Start by doing what’s necessary. Then do what’s possible; and suddenly you’re doing the impossible.
I believe in this. I can say this wholeheartedly too.
All transformational changes begin with a plan. This grows like a seed that begins from the idea stage, and, when nurtured, the seed grows and takes on a new life.
But the seed needs care. The seed needs to be nurtured; otherwise, the seed does not flourish. Otherwise, the seed dies and we go back to nothing else but more of the same.
To build my self-esteem, I chose to find my sense of purpose.
I chose to find my passion.
Charles Bukowski once wrote, “Find what you love and let it kill you.”
I have to disagree with him on this but only slightly. I had to find what I loved so it would kill the “Me” I didn’t want to be anymore.
In order to change, we have to make change a priority. In my case, I had to create my commitment and dedicate myself to this. There could be no exceptions, substitutes, or excuses.
And then it hit me. I felt something I had never experienced.
I felt the opposite of my trained beliefs. I felt the thrill of success and the benefit of achievement. More importantly, I saw learned that I am capable. I learned that laziness is a glue seeped from the ideas of depressive thinking and that value dissolves this glue. I learned that movement and action creates change, and that yes, I can create an alternate force whenever the hell I choose to.
Find your passion. Create your dream. Find the secret of your endurance. Give yourself the permission to slip, fall, and make mistakes. But be sure to get back up and persevere.
Also, give yourself the permission to “Act” by creating a plan. Achieve your strategy. And by all means, do not stop until you hold your dreams in your hands forever.
By the way—
There is no “When.”
There’s only “NOW!”
Ready . . . set . . . Go!