Everything that we do has a directional impact. An old coach would often say “You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse” – he was right. Directionality manifests in your everyday life. Grilled chicken and vegetables for dinner and stretching/mobility work for bed? Great job, the next time will be even easier. Skipped the gym this morning and crushed a jelly donut before work instead? It happens, but be careful not to make that the normal. Perfection can not be expected – we just have to aim to do better than yesterday. Positive outcomes are derived from stringing together good actions and, subsequently, good days. With consistency, desired results surface.
You’re familiar with momentum. Like in football, life is filled with highs, lows and everything in between. Things happen outside of your control. In football, you can have your best block of the game and the ball carrier may fumble; in life, you might begin a consistent workout routine and then a global pandemic hits and closes your gym down for months on end. The key is making the most of your situation. The best course is, figuratively, putting your hand in the dirt for another play and giving your best effort.
At any time, you can get moving in the right direction. Simply bringing awareness to your actions is half the battle. Your reading this essay is a signal that you’re building momentum and putting your mind in motion.
You must understand where you have been and where you are to inform where you want to be. Some of us have historically had negative relationships with food and eating, some of us with exercise and movement (have you ever had a nightmare with a coach saying “get on the line”?), some of us with consistency and confidence. Honestly, likely a mix of them all. Taking grasp of these relationships is not always a comfortable exercise; however, confronting your past and present is a necessary step in forming a great path forward.
Let’s take action. Grab a pen and paper. Take just a few minutes and write down your answers to the below. Think through these both historically and at present:
- How does my body feel generally?
- How do my joints feel and how well can I move/how is my mobility/flexibility?
- How do I feel after I wake up?
- How do I feel after I eat?
- How do I feel about myself and why am thinking about this at all?
When my football career ended after 3 years of playing at the collegiate level, my responses would’ve looked something like the below:
- I feel beat up and sluggish
- My knees and ankles hurt constantly and feel unstable, my right shoulder is in pain and pops throughout the day, I often feel tight in the hips and hamstrings, experience cramping and have limited ranges of motion
- I want to snooze and don’t feel refreshed
- I feel stuffed but somehow still almost always want more
- This whole thing feels tumultuous, but I’m excited, because I now have the opportunity train my body and mind for myself and the long-term
Sounds like a lot to work on, right? Right. Wherever your answers landed, your situation is neither good nor bad. You just are where you are and your situation is what it is.
Now that you know where you are in accordance with those questions, you can map out how you would answer those questions in an ideal world. What does starting each day refreshed or ending meals nourished and satisfied without craving look like to you and what would it mean to you? That ideal world may seem really far away, and, honestly, it may be. That’s okay. In fact, that’s great. It means you are shooting for something worthwhile. Just as we started – positive outcomes begin with just moving in the right direction.
So, you’ve established a baseline and a starting point. You know how you feel and have felt. You’ve brought awareness and light to the glorious subject that is your life. You’ve envisioned how you feel in your ideal world. You’re oriented. This exercise has built momentum for your quest to better health and personal wellness, though, momentum is nothing if you don’t take action. Time to create a plan, and, more importantly, execute and act.