We all need to stop it. And the sooner the better.
I have been watching it for so long, I can hardly stand it, and that guy in the mirror is the worst offender. It’s hurtful, it’s unnecessary and it is purely inaccurate. I try and try to overcome it to help people see it more clearly, but it seems to continue anyway. The evidence is overwhelming and yet it continues, in fact, I think it is getting worse.
Right now as I write, we are running a challenge with a bunch of our boot-campers. It’s like a scavenger hunt for fitness and the latest way to get a stamp is to post a video on our private group page, of yourself doing a plank. It’s amazing. People who couldn’t do a proper plank for 15 seconds are posting 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and seven minute planks. Inspiring!
But what is sad… are some of the comments they make about not being good enough, about not being strong enough, or about how someone else is so much better. Not in a bad way, not in a petty way (this group is so supportive) they talk about how amazing other people are, but sometimes at the expense of themselves. Trust me, I am also talking about my own offhanded, unplanned, unfiltered comment that was a self-deprecating crack about my fat belly… And this really has to stop. It’s not cool… And society keeps pushing it.
Listen… you are amazing the way you are… right now. So am I. Yes… Perhaps there are things that we are working on, a process, a temporary condition. It may even be a permanent condition, but no matter what, it is still good enough. It really is. Nobody coasts through life, nobody. We all have incredible challenges that we face, from life to death, bullies, theft, accidents, broken bones, broken hearts, lost jobs, lost homes, illness, and so much more. And yet here we are. Still working on it. Still pushing onward.
I get the extreme pleasure of working with people all of the time that are up to big things. They have goals, hopes, dreams and plans. Just like me. It crushes my heart when we are so hard on ourselves! I have said it before, but we really need to focus on progress; not perfection. On the little step towards the goal, and sometimes, the fact that we dusted ourselves off and started again after we fell for the umpteenth time.
I was talking with a guy I coach, who is getting ready for his upcoming first Ironman this summer and as it happens, I am also signed up for the same race. He quietly said at one point yesterday, that he still couldn’t believe I was attempting it so soon after my crash. It stopped me short in my mind… because to me, I was struggling with how long it was taking. How hard it was, how slow I am, how out of shape I am in spite of so much effort. It made me pause. Last night, I looked up a video that my buddy took of me in the hospital shortly after my crash, and I realized that I need to stop being so hard on myself. Focused? Yes. Dedicated? Yes. Committed to my purpose or getting better? Yes. But with a little more gentle appreciation for the journey, and for how lucky I am, and how lucky we all are.
Learning to hold a plank might not seem like much, but it means that your body is working. Both legs, arms, shoulders, abs, back, hips, lungs, heart and so much more. By eating well and training for 10 weeks, results are happening, and not just little ones. Increasing your plank from 15 seconds to 7 minutes is an improvement of 2700 per cent. I only managed a two minute plank, but eight months ago I couldn’t lift my arm. So it’s time to smile and remember that’s pretty decent.