Over the last year I’ve got pretty committed to going to the gym with the aim of improving my health and increasing my strength and fitness – and in the interest of full disclosure I have to be honest and say that the silhouette in this image sadly does not belong to me!!
But if you’d asked me at the start if I thought this would be a long term commitment I would probably have laughed. I’ve never really enjoyed exercise. It’s always been one of those things that I have been able to conveniently forget about doing or easily put off as in my view there are a million better things I could be doing than exercising!
I’ve had gym memberships in the past that have pretty much turned into a donation to that particular company due to lack of use. Being honest about it a lot of the ‘lack of use’ was actually down to the worry of going to the gym in the first place, wondering if it will be obvious to all the fit people in there that I am not one of them! Plus I had absolutely no idea what all the different machines were for let alone how to actually switch them on. Will they all be watching my attempt to run on the treadmill – if I can work out how to switch it on? All of these thoughts made it much easier to just not bother, rather than face the embarrassment.
But this time is different. I made a conscious choice to do this for me and to invest in me to get healthy, I mean I’m not getting any younger! I wanted this to work and so I went about it differently this time. I knew that trying to do it alone was getting me nowhere, so I selected a personal trainer to work with and can honestly say it’s one of the best things I have ever done.
I am now actually enjoying doing the exercise, but more than that I get a kick out of knowing what I’ve achieved and I am actually a bit in awe of how strong my body has become and how far I can push it. I mean don’t get me wrong I’m far from svelte – mainly due to my love of good food and wine – but I feel good about myself.
I also enjoy the fact that I can take my frustrations out punching and throwing things at the gym, I can clear my head, get my adrenaline going and I always leave feeling motivated. Which is great for the rest of the day.
But as much as I know what I am capable of now, I also know that I need the support of Alana, my personal trainer [Alana-PT@hotmail.com]. She is there to coach and support me, to push me (when lets face it if I was on my own I would not push myself as much), to cheer me on and to be very honest with me.
Don’t get me wrong it’s hard work and there are stumbling blocks – quite literally!! Right now Alana is helping me with a complete mental block I have about jumping up on a box. Crazy as it may sound it’s not the weights, squats or the planks that get me, I’m mentally prepared for them, it’s that god damn box!! It’s only 30cm high but to me it represents my toughest challenge yet! I can prepare myself, be ready to jump and then nothing…it’s like my feet are glued to the floor, I can’t do it.
So what is it about jumping on this box? This was something I’ve thought long and hard about and there’s a few things causing this mental block.
The first reason is fairly legitimate, especially for someone as clumsy as me. I’m scared I’m going to fall and cause myself some damage, I mean that’s a risk assessment and I feel that’s pretty rational.
The second thing is related to the first really – I’m scared that if I do fall, everyone else in the gym is going to see me and laugh at me and I’ll be embarrassed. Of course that is all my perception, the reality of the situation is that everyone is so busy getting on with their own workouts that they probably wouldn’t notice and even if they did, they’d hardly laugh at me. Plus if I did fall you know what at least I’d have tried and the determined side of me would make me try again because I will have learned from the fall and deep down I know I can do it.
The last thing is a bit of a double edged sword, I’m scared of not being able to do it and feeling like a failure but I’m also scared of actually being able to do it so successfully that I need to go to the next step. Yes there are two more much larger boxes!!!
But having done some thinking around this jumping issue and how much of a stumbling block it is, I have realised how much these fears actually transfer onto other areas of my life. I have often been in a position where I don’t act for fear of getting it wrong and being embarrassed or worse in case I fail. But also there is fear that if I succeed at one thing it will lead me to other things that will stretch me beyond my comfort zone.
All of this is daunting when I think about it, but then I reflect back to my situation with the box and I remember that I’m not doing it alone. I have Alana who is there rooting for me, ready to catch me if I do fall, to encourage me to keep going and to help me break it down to a manageable leap for me to take.
I’m talking about taking some steps up first, and going at my own pace, but actually doing it and because of this support I know I will succeed with jumping all the way and I know that she will be there to help me face the next two boxes. This support is also helping me to take that leap of faith in myself…moving on from that mental block to knowing I can do this.
I think we all have our own stumbling blocks, fears that limit us and surface in many different aspects of our lives, impacting our perceptions, reactions and decisions. These are the times where we need to reach out for support to help us get a step-up, someone there to coach through the ups and downs.
If you think this all sounds familiar Project You coaching can help you to understand more about what is stopping you from getting over your own stumbling blocks. To take the first small step click here to arrange an introductory session to start to define the goals for Project You.
P.S. This is me, the red faced sweaty person getting my jump on!