ROD 010113


Tuesday, 01Jan13



New Years Day

Another New Year is upon us and it’s time for the resolutions to kick in. Resolution? What does that really mean? Well Miriam-Webster tells us that resolution means…

1: the act or process of resolving: as
  • the act of analyzing a complex notion into a simpler one
  • the act of answering
  • the act of determining
So what does that mean really, let’s break it down. The problem of resolving, in our case that means resolving a weight or fitness issue. We all look for an easy way of trying to change the way we take care of our body. We look at the mirror and we don’t like the way we look. We say we’re fat or the we don’t like the way a particular shirt looks on us or I need to put on some muscle. So again what are we really trying to resolve here. For a lot of us who like to eat a lot it’s another frustrating road to disappointment, isn’t it. When February comes by we say, “fuck it”, and we walk away with a bag of Cheetos in hand and give up.” The workout is too hard, I really don’t love myself that much to change the way I look”. What do we do?
I don’t actually believe New Year’s Day is any different than any other day. I don’t believe a random point in the time measurement system we’ve created requires us to make a laundry list of things we need to change or improve. Today is in fact just another day, and tomorrow is one, as well. I don’t mean to minimize the excitement of the New Year, or any of the days we’ve chosen to celebrate for religious or honorary reasons. I love a big event as much as the next person; in fact, I sometimes bust out the champagne for using a really big word in a sentence. What I’m saying is that New Year’s resolutions often fail for a reason, and it’s only slightly related to intention or discipline. Resolutions fail because they don’t emerge from true breakthroughs—they’re calendar-driven obligations; and they often address the symptoms, not the cause of our unhappiness. Right. Let’s not fool ourselves. Some resolutions are smart for our physical and emotional health and well-being. Quitting smoking, losing weight, managing stress better—there are all healthy things. If we don’t address what underlies our needs to light up, order double bacon cheeseburgers, and worry ourselves into frenzies, will it really help to vow on one arbitrary day to give up everything that helps us pretend we’re fine? It’s almost like we set ourselves up for failure to avoid addressing the messy stuff. I can’t say this is true for everyone, but my experience has shown me that my unhappiness—and my need for coping mechanisms—come from several different places:

  • I’m dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future.
  • I’m not as good a trainer as I liked to be, so am I failing Next Level Performance’s success.
  • I’m comparing myself to other trainers—their accomplishments, the respect and the attention they get, and their apparently perfect lives.
  • I’m feeling dissatisfied with how I’m spending my time and the impact I’m making on the world and my family.
  • I’ve lost hope in my potential or lack thereof.
  • I’m turning myself into a victim or a martyr, sometimes blaming someone else.
  • I’m spiraling into negative thinking, seeing everything as a sign of doom and hopelessness
  • I’m assuming there should be a point in time when none of the above happens anymore.

The last one, I believe, is the worst cause of unhappiness. All those other things I mentioned are human, whether we experience them persistently or occasionally. We’ll do these things from time to time—and they’ll hurt. In the aftermath, we’ll want to do all those different things that every year we promise to give up. We’ll want to eat, drink, or smoke away our feelings. Or we’ll want to work away our nagging sense of inadequacy. Or we’ll judge whether or not we’re really enjoying life enough and in the very act of judging detract from that enjoyment. So perhaps the best resolution has nothing to do with giving up all those not-so-healthy things and everything to do with adopting a new mindset that will make it less tempting to turn to them. As a coach I have the responsibility to inspire and motivate our members at Next Level.

So as your coaches, starting today, and every day, regardless of the calendar:

1. Recognize the places where you feel helpless—the housing situation, the job, the relationship, that sense of meaningless. Then plan to do something small to change that starting right now.  Acknowledge you have the power to do at least one small thing to empower yourself. Don’t commit to major outcomes just yet. Just find the confidence and courage to take one small step knowing you’ll learn as you go where it’s heading. As you add up little successes, the bigger picture will become clearer. This isn’t major transformation over a night. It’s a small seed of change that can grow.

2. Identify the different events that lead to feelings that seem negative—talking to your downer friend, relative or spouse, overextending yourself at work, not getting enough sleep, drinking too much. Whatever it is that generally leaves you with unhappy feelings, note it down. Work to reduce these, making a conscious effort to do them on one fewer day per week, then two, and then three. The key isn’t to completely cut out these things, but rather to minimize their occurrence.

3. Identify the things that create positive feelings—going to the park, reading, dancing, or singing in the shower. Whatever creates feel-good chemicals in your head, note them down and make a promise to yourself to integrate them into your day. As you feel your way through your joy, add to this. Learn the formula for your bliss. Know that these moments of joy are a priority, and you deserve to receive them. When you’re fully immersed within a happy moment of your own choosing, you’re a lot less likely to get lost dwelling, obsessing, comparing, judging, and wishing you were better.

4. Stay mindful of the ratio. If you’ve had an entire week that’s been overwhelming, dark, or negative, instead of getting down on yourself for falling that low, remind yourself only your kindness can pull you out. Tell yourself you deserve to restore a sense of balance—to maintain a healthy ratio. Then give yourself what you need. Take a personal day at work and take a day trip. Go to the park to relax and reflect. Remind yourself only you can LET GO of what’s been and come back to what can be. It’s not about perfection or a complete release from all the causes of unhappiness. It’s about accepting that being human involves a little unhappiness—but how often it consumes us is up to us. This might not be a lengthy list of unhealthy behaviors you can give up and how, or a long list of suggestions for adventure and excitement in the new year. But all those things mean nothing if you’re not in the right head space to release the bad and enjoy the good.

Resolve what you will this year, but know that happiness is the ultimate goal. Here at Next Level we not only do fitness and wellness but we also want to inspire. If we can change one aspect of your life we have done what  Juan, Chris and I have set out to do. That is what drives us. The passion to change what sometimes may seem impossible or unattainable for some. Know though, that happiness is the ultimate goal to being truly fit. It starts in daily choices, small steps not lofty yearly resolutions–on any day you decide to start.