(from Level One Training and Fitness, 8 April 2013)

A rant? A pep talk? Lecture? Tough love? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Read it through to the end and also know it’s the truth. Unfiltered. Uncut.

We are our own worst enemies when it comes to achieving anything in our lives, almost no one is immune.

Think about a time when you set a goal. Did you dare to dream? How did you feel? Were you excited? Determined? Anxious? Uncertain? Fearful? All of the above? Did you envision yourself in another place and time? Did you look like a Calvin Klein or Victoria’s Secret model? Did you look great in your new two piece on the beach or by the pool? Maybe you looked a bit like The Rock or Vin Diesel. Or maybe you just looked like you, 10, 20, 30 years earlier and 10, 20, 30 pounds lighter. Did you think about what you felt would be involved in achieving the goal? Did you think it would be easy? Did you think it would be difficult?

I’m willing to bet most people never truly considered how challenging it might really be; they just thought of a goal, their reasons for wanting it, and not much else. I won’t go into societal or psychological influences, but there was a fire within which you had never experienced. Or maybe it was some event that precipitated the goal-setting action. Or maybe you just reached a specific point in time where you decided something just had to change. Whatever the case, you were fired up about it, you were passionate about it, maybe you were even pissed off about it, but all you knew is that you wanted to make things happen and that to continue to do nothing was no longer acceptable.

And then the alarm clock goes off the next morning. Back to work. Back to school. Back to your individual, daily grind. Suddenly, the fire within dims. You smile inwardly when you realize it was a lofty goal, so lofty it may well have just been a dream. You start telling yourself that whatever happened to motivate you to set the goal in the first place is just not as big a deal as you previously thought it was. You tell yourself that it’s Monday morning and that you have far too much on your plate and to try to make your a dream reality is just that, a dream. You’re no longer fired up about it, your passion for what you feel you deserve wanes. The anger which fueled your resolve to take control and to take action fades away. You return to being content with the status quo.

Day in and day out each of us face an internal battle to either make things happen or to let things go. Unfortunately, those things which should be the most important priorities in our lives are the things which fall by the wayside first. We choose the easy way out because it’s… well, EASY! After all, life is already difficult as it is right? Roughly 5 days out of every week, we wake up. Try to have breakfast. Definitely have a cup of coffee. Get in the car. Fight the traffic. Get to work or school. Grind it out. Take a break. Grind it out. Have lunch. Grind it out while trying to stay awake. Rejoice in clocking out for the day or finishing our last class. Get in the car. Fight the traffic. Get home. Kick the shoes off. Plop on the couch. Click on the TV. Eat dinner. Go to sleep. Rinse and repeat… week after week after week.

So if you can MAKE the time to get ready, to get in the car, to fight traffic, to get to work or school on time, why won’t you MAKE the time for yourself? to cook good food? to work out regularly? to push hard when you know you should? Do you think you matter less than your job? Do you matter less than school? Your family? What good are you to ANY of those things if your body isn’t operating at peak efficiency? How long will you live? What kind of diseases will you suffer from? What kind of burden will you be to yourself? To your significant other? To your family? To society?

And herein lies the challenge. We’ll trade the future for the here-and-now in a heartbeat. We forgo additional sacrifices involved with making ourselves better because we feel we’re already sacrificing every day. Well, I’ve got news for you. Let me be the first to call BULLSHIT. Each one of us has limitless power within ourselves to make ourselves the best possible human beings we can be: physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Argue all you want, but the vast majority of us deny ourselves that possibility each and every single day because it’s easier to lay low and out of sight, to blend in with the masses, to take the low road instead of the high road. It’s far too difficult and even a pain to stand out in the crowd, especially in today’s politically correct world where any person who dares to be different is labeled some kind of freak of nature. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, where you’re going, where you grew up, what you have, what you had, what you didn’t have, none of it. All that matters is that you are an individual in the here and now with free will living in the “Land of Opportunity,” remember?

No one is holding a gun to your head or twisting your arm behind your back to get fit or to eat right or to sit on the couch and watch TV or eat junk for that matter. You don’t have to do a thing I say when we train or when I teach class. But are you paying me to socialize and/or complain for an hour or are you paying me to help you get a job done? You choose. You decide. You make it happen or you don’t. It has nothing to do with me saying, “45 seconds and go!” or “25 burpees, go!” You could just as easily say to me, “No,” and not move. (Have you ever thought about how comical that might be?) No one forces you to do anything. You decide at the speed of light what you are going to do and what you are not going to do. It happens so fast and comes from years and years of practice; you don’t even realize you’re making a decision which has nothing to do with me. It has nothing to do with how long the interval is, it has nothing to do with how difficult the exercise is, and it has nothing to do with how many reps or sets I “make” you do. But it has everything to do with you. It’s all about you, and no one else.

So the next time you try to figure out whether you should or you shouldn’t, whether you can or you can’t, or whether I’d approve or disapprove, just remember this. You are your own boss. I can stand in front of a class, one-on-one, be on a phone call, send a text message, write a blog or a newsletter and spout all kinds of rhetoric, but you choose whether you’ll listen to or ignore what I’m saying. Own it. Don’t try to pawn it off or make an excuse. Just own it. The words that come out of my mouth are the words that you need to start saying to yourself because deep down inside where your internal fire burns dimly, you know I’m right and that you are more than capable of saying those very words to yourself. Fuel that fire. Get energized. Get excited. Get around people that are the same way. No matter how long it takes, I’m a firm believer that people can achieve whatever they want to achieve but ultimately, what matters most is you believing in you.

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