What will it take for you to live a Fit Life?

Magazine racks are full of ‘glossies’ telling you what you can do to tweak and change your life to live healthier and happier.  Most of the advice is really sound and sensible and I would use some of it when working with my clients but there are some things that are a bit incredulous. I am sorry but there really isn’t a magic pill….  However what most of these magazines rarely tackle is how hard it can be to manage to do it all OR to actually get started in the first place!

This was one of the reasons I set up my business, listening to many people just outwardly wondering how on earth they were supposed to do it.

Its all very well to suggest a 30 minute walk or run before work but who will get the kids to school?  

It’s not easy and even if there are two of you trying to get the kids to school and then off to work or switch that to the other end of the day. It can still seem a chore to get out and exercise.  So what do we do about it?  How do we get started?

The starting point is to know ‘Why’ you want to do it.

Yes more important than that is knowing what you are willing to struggle with to get it. 

I read an article a few months ago and it asked a few simple questions about setting goals, it suggests that knowing what you are willing to struggle for gives ‘what you want’ a whole new meaning.  So how does that relate to living a fit life and simply planning in your exercise?  Ask yourself the three questions that they posed and see what comes up for you.

What are you willing to struggle with for a fit life?

What time are you willing to give to your fit life?

Are you willing to accept a life that is whole and fulfilling?

Leading a life that is fit and whole takes dedication and time and above all acceptance. I know from my own experience that taking that step is absolutely worth it but you need to be willing to struggle in the process.

What do I mean? 

If it’s going to be a struggle then why bother starting; because it is essentially all about choice – you can choose to go on the way you are now or you can choose to take the time and learn how to build a life that gives you everything that you want with all that you are willing to struggle with.

How many times did your Mum say ‘well life just isn’t fair’…. I lost count!  However it was a valuable lesson that she taught me.  Hearing this set me up to see that not everything in life was fair but I was determined to get on with it anyway.  My not fair moments ranged from not being allowed to have sweets right through to dealing with the emotion of loosing my Father at 12.  Knowing that life wasn’t fair really took a new meaning with that one.  I looked back at those times to see how I coped and at my worst I would get on my bike and ride – often to my friends in the next village but sometimes just around letting the pedals do their magic.  After a good 30 minutes of frustrated teenager ‘life isn’t fair’ the world did seem a better place, without really knowing it at the time I had cycled myself into acceptance and I forgot about my moment very quickly (well until the next one).

So knowing life isn’t fair is a good start, once you know this you can use strategies to get over it, no its not easy, but noticing your starting point allows you to step into a strategy to cope with it.  Of course I am all for a teenager rant when the situation calls for it, but find the right release for it and then take steps to move on.

I am reminded of Prof Steve Peters book – The Chimp Paradox.  He talks about ‘The Truths of Life’ and he has three:

1)    Life is not fair

2)    The goal posts move

3)    There are no guarantees

If you can accept these truths, such as life is not fair, then you can move on.  I would love to talk more about this book, but this post isn’t really about that – so take a look for yourself and see what it has to say.

Moving towards a fit life requires you to hold a couple of Truths as you look to design a life that includes exercise, healthy rituals, gratitude and purpose.  If you can accept the Prof Peters’ three truths you can look at your actions for a fit life and begin to work out how you can exercise.

Knowing the Truths about exercise:

It’s not fair – I have to get up, put on my tracksuit and go outside just to get fit….  It’s not fair that you can’t do your exercise from your bed or in your slippers.  It takes effort but what you can say is;  ‘I can accept its not fair that I have to do this, but I know that if I get up and get out and do my 30 minutes now I won’t have to do it later when I get home from work’ – when it really will seem unfair as there is something far more exciting for you to do or you are just too darn hungry or tired to bother.

Goal posts move – I am afraid that 30 minutes exercise a couple of times a week will soon not be enough.  As you get fitter your exercise will need to increase for you to get the most out of it.  Those moving goal posts will settle once in a while and your routine can be maintained but in the early stages they will move.  Equally those goal posts shift in your mindset and you will find the more you do the better you feel and actually you will be out there moving them for yourself.

There are no guarantees – Of course not, I can tell you that exercise will help and will get easier but until you really feel that for yourself you won’t believe me.  I can not tell you when that will happen, week 1, week 2, week 7?  I can give no guarantees – you just have to be willing to accept that and try it anyway.  I will also add in here that there are no quick fixes (see also miracle pills) that is a guarantee – you will need to put in the effort to get a six pack (if that is what you want) and you will need to train and put in the hours if you want to run a marathon.  But wanting to feel healthier can be as simple as getting out for a 20 minute walk each day if your current foundation for exercise is the sofa.

Living Fit is not simply about exercise, although I usually like to start here, but equally having a fit mind gives you control over your rest and recovery, helps you create healthy habits and get organised.  Emotionally fit considers how grateful you are for what you already have, acknowledging your capabilities and strengths and letting you lean into situations and take the rough with the smooth.  A fit spirit is one that enables you to have a life that has purpose and meaning, one that is open to challenges and greats them head on – it is also where your sense of adventure is nurtured.

Being ready to accept that a fit life is yours for the taking requires a leap of faith in yourself.  Courage to make the first step and either get out and do it or find the support you need to help you get started.  Your resourcefulness in this respect is essential as not everyone has the means to get started or the network of friends and family that can give the encouragement that you want.

I found it hard at first to accept that I could have a Fit Life, something would get in the way for me to be able to fully commit, it took a strong sense of self worth and supportive family and friends to enable me to do it.  I took the slow road in many ways, learning as I went along.  There are still days I struggle, but with the healthy habits I have implemented such as; making time for exercise, watching what I eat (ensuring that 90% of the time it is a healthy choice) alongside encouraging my sense of adventure and being more open to emotion.   Finding the time and allowing myself the space to breath I can see the tangible benefits of a fit life.

These benefits clearly show, you can see it in my smile.  I feel and look 10 years younger and the best bit is I can see that, I don’t need anyone else to tell me.  Living Fit is a choice, it takes work and effort but I can tell you that it is worth it.

I have been living fit for a few years but I am still a work in progress – I always will be.  Getting it wrong occasionally is a way of life; which I can accept more readily these days as I know that I can bring myself back on track quite quickly.   I know what I am willing to struggle with, what time I am willing to give and I am happy to accept all that My Fit Life has given to me.

Now consider those three questions again:

Give yourself time to think about where you are now and what changes you would like to see – Consider your Why.

Is there anything that stands out for you now – how will you start living fit?