• Start With What You ‘Can’ Do

    Start where you are

    Over the weekend I thought some more about Friday’s post and body image.

    I hear a lot of people say, “I’ll start running/aerobics/going to the gym when I lose some weight.”

    It can be unnerving, sometimes downright scary to start something new.

    When I first started running I remember being very afraid to run outside. I stayed in my garage on the treadmill even though I was getting bored staring at the same wall day in and day out.

    I was in danger of quitting, but I was afraid if people saw me running they’d laugh. They’d think, “She’s so slow! Why does she bother?”

    Then I began taking notice of what I thought when I saw someone running.

    I’d think, “Good for them!”

    I’d think, “I should be doing that.”

    I’d think, “That looks like way more fun than driving to work.”

    I never once laughed at how someone looked while they were running. I still don’t. And I don’t think the majority of runners and very active people do either.

    (There might be a few assholes out there that do, but really, my research indicates they don’t believe in Santa Claus and they kick puppies, so no one likes them anyway.)

    Most of us remember exactly what it was like to set our feet down a path that we didn’t fully understand.

    Believe me, we’re cheering you on.

    Do not be ashamed of your efforts. Do not be ashamed of the work you are doing to better yourself in whatever way that might be.

    So you can only do one crunch? One push up? Only run one lap around the block?

    That’s awesome! Do it and be proud!

    And then next week, aim higher.

    Two pushups. Two crunches. Go crazy and try for three laps around the block.

    Embarrassed that’s all you can handle?

    There was a time after my mastectomy when I couldn’t do a single push up. In fact, I could only watch people do push-ups with utter envy.

    I could barely raise my right arm higher than my shoulder without a pain pill and a nap.

    But I worked at it every day. I stretched my arm higher and higher until I had tears in my eyes.

    One day I straightened my arm above my head.

    The triumph I felt that day was better than any number a scale could show me. Raising my arm over my head that day was among greatest physical feats I’ve ever accomplished.

    Today I can do push-ups on my knees and I can hold a plank for almost a minute.

    I want to work up to regular push-ups and finish that minute plank. I’ll get there. I just have to keep working at it.

    Don’t worry about what you think you ‘should’ be able to do. Start with what you ‘can’ do.

    And then swear by all that is holy that you will improve.

    That’s how progress is made.



    I love comments! Don’t want to leave a comment, but have something you want to share?  Send me an email at gettingthewordswrong(at)gmail(dot)com.

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