I have days when I REALLY don’t want to exercise, even though I know I need to just DO it. I look at my inner rebellious streaks like this: We all have an adult and a child woven into our personalities. Our adult side is rational and makes decisions for our betterment, while our child side acts much like a toddler, is impulsive, pitches fits, and sometimes refuses to cooperate. When I’m feeling this way, I remind myself that it’s my inner child talking and I must switch to my inner adult to get myself back on track. There is a time and a place to tap into our inner child, but we can’t let them run the show.
With that said, the inner child in us could stand a little attention in one area of our lives –our stagnation. Children, for the most part, are quite brave if you think about it. They have many obstacles to overcome in their young lives: learning to walk, run, climb, dark bedrooms, crossing the street, meeting strangers, going to school, trying out for a play or sports team, sticking with classes that they struggle with, applying for college, leaving home –and everything in between. All of these things require a measure of fortitude. Each one of us moves through these developmental stages, and then settle into our lives…
and bravery begins to fade if it isn’t exercised regularly.
Experts agree that it is beneficial to your health to try new things. I think it can be extra valuable to exercise bravery by doing things that are outside of your comfort zone: try something new or difficult, challenge yourself, and step out of that box.
What is ‘brave’ for you? Perhaps it is revisiting your “I’ve always wanted to” dreams: learning to play an instrument, traveling to a certain destination, going on a mission trip, writing a book, pursuing a dream. It could be specific to fitness (since this is a fitness blog) like learning to do real push-ups or pull-ups, starting a regular exercise program, trying kickboxing or weightlifting, taking dance classes, training in martial arts, or signing up and training for a race or event.
What about something you never dreamed you could do –something that both terrifies and excites you? A natural response is one of fear. Oh no, I can’t possibly do THAT! Several studies have demonstrated that people regularly overestimate their fears, so keep that in mind. Fear’s cousin, we’ll call him failure, has a huge impact on our stagnation. Failing isn’t pleasant, but if you let the fear of failure hold you back, you will inevitably close the door on success. When we step out anyway, knowing that failure is a distinct possibility, growth is inevitable. Many of us fail more often than we succeed, so we aren’t alone. Just remember that if you let this fear hold you back, you might miss out on a great adventure. What do you learn about yourself when you fail?
Now, I’m pretty risk-avoidant. You won’t find me base jumping or skydiving…not while I’m a mom of younger kiddos anyway! I’m not suggesting doing dangerous things here. The exciting/terrifying thing for you might be switching career paths, applying for a different job, running for office, going into full-time ministry, or entering a competition. Maybe it is something less big-picture, like sticking up for someone who needs an advocate, or doing the right thing, embracing ridiculous generosity, or reaching out to a stranger in need.
Whatever it is, choose your ‘brave’…and then do it again. Happy New Year!