Posts Tagged ‘passion’

The secret.

That’s what everyone wants, right? That’s the headline that commercials use to sell you something that will, supposedly, grant you your greatest wish.

You want to be skinny, take this pill. You want abs, buy this device. You want muscles, do this program for just 15 minutes a day.

I believe that they’re selling something else that’s much worse. I believe that all of these products are designed to make you feel like less. People want to sell you a feeling of inadequacy so that you’ll give them your money to feel better.

Frankly, that shit pisses me off.

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This man spits truth

Everyone is capable of living a healthy life without buying into a bunch of bullshit. I looked in a mirror one day and decided I didn’t like what I saw so I decided to do something about it. You know what special stuff I bought?

Spinach. Chicken. Turkey. Almonds. An abbreviated list for sure, but you get my point.

Everything else was sweat and, spoiler alert, you don’t have to pay anyone to work up a sweat.

That being said, I did realize something at the gym this morning.

Okay, yeah, I pay for the gym. I’m a hypocrite. But I didn’t pay for a gym until over a year into my “get healthy” kick.  I digress…

I wasn’t completely feeling it when I got to the gym. It was one of those days where I walked in and just wasn’t focused. I did a decent warm up and decided to go down to the punching bags to see if I could get into a groove. They help me focus and cut out distractions.

I still got distracted, but in the best possible way.

There are pull-up bars at the bunching bags and I figured I might as well knock a few out. As I got to the top of the first one, I felt good.

Second one, still good.

Third one, I pause at the top and look down at the bar.

Fourth one, I pause again to look at the bar.

It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t do pull-ups. I was that kid in P.E. that dreaded the physical fitness tests because the pull-ups were the one damn thing I couldn’t do. Granted, I wasn’t the only one, but it was still embarrassing to me.

I dropped down from the bar and I looked up at it and started laughing. The poor guy doing air squats a few feet away looked slightly alarmed, so I checked myself and got back to pulling. From that moment on, I was on fire. I was all over the place in the gym and my shirt was drenched by the end of it. I ignored everyone else and did my own thing. I was focused.

Cue “Eye of the Tiger” or “Danger Zone”. Whatever you prefer for the mental montage I just painted in your brain.

I had fallen back in love with the process all over again.

That’s the secret. Not just to getting in shape, but to pretty much everything.

I’ve talked here and there about my music playing. I was never a natural and had friends that were. I played soccer and learned how to be a pretty decent goalie, but I was never a natural like my friends who seemingly channeled Pele at times. I was incredibly jealous of people who just “got it.” People who could just pick something up and do it. I was never that guy.

The fact that I was never a natural at anything is my greatest gift. Anything I’ve ever wanted to be good at or improve at I have had to work for. I’ve had to pour everything I’ve got into making even a measly inch of progress. My buddy has watched me land flat on my back learning how to properly kick the punching bag. He pointed out, though, that I popped back up and tried it again.

(Full disclosure: both my pride and ass were sore that day. Such is life.)

For all of those things, the common denominator is falling in love with making progress; however small it may be. That’s the real secret. Sure, I’ve spouted off about hard work and consistency hundreds of times, but those things pale in comparison to simply enjoying what it is you’re doing.

Don’t pay somebody so that you can feel like less. You’ve got this.

-Moody

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I’ve been sitting on this post for a while. I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it, mostly because I wasn’t sure what my actual thoughts on it were.

I know, I wasn’t sure about my own thoughts; a paradox I run into quite often.

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A few months ago I sat down with a friend and we were talking about getting healthy and everything I did to get to where I am today. He was looking to make some changes and wanted to pick my brain; I’m all about that. In the course of that conversation he mentioned something from another conversation he had had with somebody else. (I’m paraphrasing here, it’s been a little while.)

“I’m gonna talk to Moody. He made it, he’s done it.”

He was referencing my weight loss. While I didn’t make an issue of it when he said it, or even think about it for that matter, it started bugging me days later and has been festering in the back of my mind for a while.

While I appreciated his confidence, I didn’t feel like I had made it. Maybe, to the outsider looking in, that seems ludicrous. Let me be clear; I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, I’m happy with where I’m at, and I’m happy with where I’m going. I had to come to those conclusions, though, and I did it quite recently.

When he said that I had “made it,” I felt like an impostor.

“I haven’t done anything,” I thought, “I don’t deserve that.”

Then I moved on. I was able, right after those thoughts, to at least justify it. If I can inspire anyone to make changes to their life and get healthy, so be it. I may not agree whole heartedly with their sentiments regarding myself, but if it gets them started I’m more than happy to contribute.

For a while, I didn’t think about it; water under the bridge, as they say. Then I stumbled across an article about people who used to be unhealthy, whether it was overweight or underweight, and who have now made changes. (For the life of me, I can’t find it again. When I do I will add it to the comments.)

I was a little depressed to realize that the article pegged me. I used to be overweight and had been for so long that it’s hard for me to see anything else. We get this idea in our heads of, “This is what I am and I will be this forever.”

This idea is false. It is a lie we make up for ourselves to limit us. Do not listen to this idea.

People come up to me and say “Look at you! You’re skinny!” I get that they are complimenting me and I’ve always appreciated it, but I had never believed it myself.

Side Rant: Then, I feel like a pregnant woman, because as they say this they go to poke my stomach like they want to make sure I’m not just sucking it in.

STOP THAT. It’s awkward, weird, and sometimes I have this weird reflex of poking you in the eye for doing it. You have been warned.

I had to sit myself down and look at all of the evidence to get myself over these mental hang-ups.

1) I have actually lost weight. The numbers don’t lie.
2) I used to wear 3XL clothes. I now wear plain old large.
3) In fact, all of my clothes are smaller.
4) Well damn. I’m not the person I used to be.

I figured out that it was my own mind holding me back. I wish I could get across to you what it felt like to come to the conclusion that I am healthy. It’s like a breath of fresh air on a crisp spring morning where everything is new, vibrant, and full of potential.

The mirror isn’t lying to you. The scale isn’t lying to you (Mostly. Read this for my thoughts on that). Your clothes are actually fitting differently. You are feeling healthier.

Don’t let that voice in your head tell you that you are who you used to be. Even if you’re just starting out on the road to being healthy, you are already miles away from the person you once were.

-Moody

Got your attention?

Good.

Admittedly, I’ve written a lot about motivation recently.  I meant every word and firmly believe that motivation is a beautiful thing.  Up until this point, however, there has been a flaw that I have failed to mention.

That flaw is the title of this article.  Put another way; motivation is useless.

Bare with me, I promise it will make sense.

Think about all of those times that you’ve felt incredibly motivated.  I’m talking about those moments where you’re on top of the world and nothing can pull you back down.  Now, try hard to remember what occurred right before that moment.

Chances are pretty good that you saw, read, heard, or smelled (if this is you, I want- nay- need to know) something that caused you to decide that. “Today, I will [FILL IN THE BLANK]!!!”

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Maybe you accomplished that goal.  Maybe you started something that’s going to take some time.  Either way, that motivation spurs you into action of some sort and that is awesome.

Until, you know… it’s not.

Until that day you wake up with rain pounding your roof, a cold floor freezing your feet, and a non-existent supply of coffee.  That last one being a disaster in my case.  You know the feeling of having absolutely zero motivation, we all do.

It sucks hard.

Now you’re thinking, “Thanks for that uplifting article… said no one ever.”

I hear ya, I’m gonna fix it.

We can all agree that motivation is an awesome kick-starter.  The trick is finding ways to prolong the results of that initial motivation; luckily, that can be boiled down to one word.

Habits.  Remember those?

I saw a nifty little thing on the interwebz that, with a little modification, should help visualize what it takes to build some solid habits.

Time + Effort = Success.

Sounds good, but I’m going to add one thing:

Time + Consistent Effort = Success.

It doesn’t matter how much effort you put forth when you’re feeling motivated; certainly not in the long run.  The real effort comes when you’ve passed that initial feeling of motivational euphoria and you’ve got to dig deep to stick to your goals, values, and integrity.

When it comes to health and fitness I believe this counts twice as much.  Our society is not engineered to help you be healthy and fit; turn on the T.V. for 5 minutes and you’ll see what I mean.

The key to overcoming that is to set yourself up for success and use that initial motivation to create habits that will help you achieve your goals long after the feeling has left you.

For example, I forced myself to become a morning person so that I could wake up and get to the gym before other distractions take hold of my day.  Sometimes I despise my alarm clock but I get up because it’s become part of my routine.

Look at that equation again up there again.

Consistent action is the key.  If I only make the effort to get up early and workout once; I waste my time.  If I only eat healthy 10% of the time and binge completely the other 90%; I waste my time.

Don’t get me wrong; “consistent” in the world of us regular folks with jobs, commitments, and families definitely does not mean getting it right 100% of the time.  If you can pull that off I’m happy for you, congratulations.

I like Guinness too much.

So, if you’re like me, don’t sweat it.  In fact, if we flip around those numbers I used up above that’s some pretty solid effort.

If you can consistently make all of the right choices for your goals even 90% of the time, you are both human and pretty damn awesome.

So, go and be awesome.

-Moody

P.S. Happy New Year!

“Do everything with passion, pride, strength, perseverance, consistency, patience, and rage.  This is the only way to achieve.”

Now, the nerd in me desperately screams that this is not the way of the Jedi.  That may be true, but let’s be real; they were pretty arrogant and got their asses handed to them for a reason.

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Star Wars references aside, I have no idea who first made the statement above but I’ve stumbled across it a number of times while perusing the vast expanses of the interwebz.

Shocker, I completely agree with it.

Fitness is one of my passions.  It consumes my thoughts during my free time; I mean c’mon…I write a blog about it.  I take pride in how I’m taking control of my life.  I have been strong when in the past I would have been weak.  I have persevered though low points.  I have managed to stay consistent in my efforts.  I have learned to have patience with my progress because nothing happens over night.

When I first came across this statement I realized that I had done each of these things without knowing it.  I had utilized each behavior to accomplish my goals and create new ones and the only word that gave me pause was rage.

For those who know me, this should come as no surprise.  I’m generally an easy going person and it takes quite a bit to piss me off.  In the past I could get heated over little things but I’ve largely grown out of that, something I actually attribute to me getting healthy.

Rather than ponder what “rage” meant, I took the next logical step: I Googled it.

Fancy, I know.

A lot of the definitions do talk about anger, but those weren’t the ones that caught my eye.

                    A burning desire or passion.

                    To move with great violence or intensity.

                    To prevail forcefully.

These definitions made sense.

The second definition, though, is what really got me.  All because of one word my soccer coach growing up had stressed to my team.  I will never forget having him stand there and talk to us right before a game or at half time and ask, “What’s that word I’m always talking about?”

The entire team responded with, “Intensity”.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but that one word would define my life for both better and worse.  I realize now that when I didn’t give my best in school, when I didn’t care about college like everyone else did, when I allowed myself to become unhealthy, and that when I ever quit anything;

It was because I lacked intensity.

I lacked rage.

Be passionate, take pride, be strong, persevere, stay consistent, have patience, and hold it all together with rage and intensity.  Success will follow.

-Moody