Day 3: Giving Myself a Break

One thing I have noticed during the first three days of this challenge: I cannot, though I wish more than anything, push myself hard when it comes to working out.  Don’t get me wrong, I will follow the workout plan as best I can (when I actually know what the exercises are THANK YOU GOOGLE) but when I get tired or worn out, I will give myself permission to do a few less reps than required, or skip on set because my leg is sore, or not do cardio at all because my ass is screaming from the thousands of squats I just grunted through.

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Yes, that’s exactly what I looked like.  Don’t worry about it.

It’s difficult for me to accept the fact that I can’t push myself as much as I’d like.  I want to be one of those people that doesn’t take excuses, who pushes through the pain and focuses on the goal.  Those people inspire me, make me feel like anything is possible, that all I have to do is envision what my life will be like when I’m living healthy and happy.  I can’t help but watch them, admiring their stamina and self-control.  But truthfully, when I’m that tired or sore, the only thing I can think of is how GOOD it will feel to walk down those stairs to the locker room and sit in the sauna.  And like I’ve said, this tendency has found a way to sneak into other parts of my life, especially with eating.  If I find it too hard, then instead of pushing through and dealing with the difficult part and reaping the rewards after, I let go and quit.

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But that’s exactly what I have to do: LET GO.  If I wasn’t able to do all of my squat exercises yesterday, that’s okay.  If I skipped my cardio because I was sore from the previous day, that’s alright too! We’re all so hard on ourselves when we can’t do something perfect right away.  I’ve always been a perfectionist, so when I don’t get something right away whether it be a workout, a song to sing for a show, or even a simple concept that I can’t wrap my brain around.  We get ourselves down, say we’re not good enough, that if it’s so easy for others than I should just be able to DO it.  What if our friend was having trouble with these problems?

“Yea, you just started lifting, and if you can’t get it right away, you should probably just stop.  You’re never going to get it anyway, mine as well just leave.  Wanna get some Potbelly?” 

NO!  We wouldn’t say that!  We’d probably be a little more encouraging (unless you wouldn’t be, which would make you an asshole).

 “Hey, that’s okay.  It’s a hard exercise, especially to do four times.  And you just started this on Monday, so your body isn’t used to working that hard.  Plus, you’ve just revamped your eating, your body is adjusting to all these changes.  If you take a break and a few breaths, I’m sure you can do it.  And if not, if the pain is too much or you’re too tired, we can find something else to do.  What about that lift you saw earlier?  That looks like something you can do.  Or there’s a water HIIT class later that you might like, and you’ll still get a good work out, yea let’s do that!”

What we need to do is give ourselves a break.  Nothing will come perfectly the first time, I guarantee it.  We will get frustrated with ourselves, beat ourselves up, and want to quit.  Sometimes we WILL quit.  But that doesn’t mean we’re done.  We will still get up the next day, throw on our gym shoes, and hit that gym again and again.  Because going back and giving it your all day in and day out is the only way we’ll grow and change.  And who knows, in a month’s time I’ll probably look back at this day as I’m easily getting through multiple sets of squats and lifts and wonder how it was so hard for me to get through it all.  But I’ll also be able to appreciate the struggle I went through to get where I am.  I just need to remember to be a friend to myself first and give myself a break.

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-E Daly


One comment

  1. bodylang · August 20, 2015

    Exactly! If you think of health as something you have to cram into a few weeks instead of a lifetime commitment to taking care of yourself, holistically, it will never really work. Change takes time and requires a lot of patience. And you may find that exercising every single day doesn’t work for you or that you’re better at doing low-intensity longer workouts with brief spurts of high impact. All that is legit, all of it requires heart and grit and self-love, and all of it contributes to you being healthier and better to/for yourself. You’re gonna get there, boo! You got this!


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