Perhaps you are one of them who pays attention to those of us who run outdoors in all kinds of weather, drive around with pairs of skis on the roof of their cars and take their families camping in the mountains. And you wish you were as fit and energetic as these people seem to be. If only…
I have had these thoughts myself endless of times. The life these people lived seemed like a utopian dream not for the likes of me. Yet, I am now as a full grown adult one of those who happily get up early in the weekends to get out in the free air. Holidays have also with the years got another significance. They have become lovely spaces of time that provides extra hours for training and outdoor activities. My earlier version of me had no idea that it was possible to think like this. And if I had heard someone say something like this, I would have thought that they were at least somewhat ”special”.
If you want to give your dream about an active life another chance, I hope you tell yourself that ”if Trine could, I can also do it”.
Below I will share some strategies with you. These strategies I have taught many of my beautiful clients and I have also used them myself. If you follow these, they will help you.
For what reason
In order to be able to make an effort we need a reason. Why do you want to become more active? What will it mean for you in your life?
I believe that the reason has to do with your quality of life, that you want to feel better, want more energy, want to live a life according to your values. I do not believe in reasons based upon achieving something to display for others, such as a tight rump and strong arms. Of course it is nice to feel comfortable with ones body and we all have a desire to look well. My piece of advice is to let advantages with regard to appearance be an unexpected bonus of your active life, and not the purpose itself.
The first step is the most important. The first step does not have to make you more fit or stronger. It most of all needs to enable your mind to think that you are a person who loves to be active.
Many years ago I had a client who wanted very much to become lighter and more active. She was well into a changed diet and slowly reduced her weight. In addition she wanted to take a walk every day. She started every day with her mind set on Today I will do it. But she was so mentally exhausted after work, the weather was not good or there was always something else that stopped her. She was so upset because she was unable to carry out her project that she almost lost faith. I asked her if she could be able to do exactly what I suggested for her during a 2 weeks period. She would very much like to try. My suggestion was Can yo every day enter your hallway and put on your outdoor clothes, straighten your back and look towards the front door. Then you undress again, and your training session is over for the day. She gazed at me with a surprised look and said: Yes, but that is so little. I answered her with a smile: It is a good start.
The next consultation 2 weeks later she told me that she had started the project with a heartfelt laugh that same day and that she on the 4th day suddenly opened the front door and went outside. In these two weeks she had actually taken 5 walks, even though they were not planned. She had started and had already learned something very important – that
… if the expectation to carry out a project is not to high, it is easy to fulfill.
This lesson was also important for me when I in 2014 started to train Movement at our clinique. Movement is functional training with the intention to achieve a functional, strong and free body. I really liked the idea and I therefore showed up with high expectations to the first ground course, then on the second, third… and now I am participating on my sixth ground course. Because of different back- and neck issues, I was for a long time not able to perform what the others in the group so easily it seemed carried out. I knew however from previous training projects that patience was crucial, and I thought that I just had to show up for the classes and do as well as I could. That was my starting point and what I measured my progress up against. If I showed up for classes, I would succeed.
Run your own race
I am beginning to achieve an experience with being ”the loser” in training groups. As mentioned, I was for a long time ”the loser” at the Movement practice. And when I trained Zappa to become a rescue dog, I was definitely ”the loser” for a long time. For months I showed up for training many times a week without having control of what I was doing. When I as a young adult was training to get well from symphysis pubic dysfunction (SPD) after my pregnancies, I was lacking behind like a tie behind the others when we went for walks – just to mention a few examples of my experience as being ”the loser”.
Do I enjoy being ”the loser”? No, definitely not. I like to be really good. That is why I enjoy running, because I am good at running. But I do put up with situations when I have to do things that I am not really good at, and I train myself to approach the situation with calmness and some kind of humour. Because I know that as soon as I start to measure my progress up against what the best are able to achieve, I will lose my motivation to go on with my training. And where will this lead me, in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now? Not in a very good place, I assume.
Words like ”Good”, ”Bad”, ”Clever”, ”Not clever” are concepts I do not wish to hold on to in my life. They have no value of use and are filled with the principle that our values should be measured by the standards of our achievements. This is not in accordance to my strong belief that we are all perfect as we are. To me this is an important value. I suggest that you too examine these words in a sceptical perspective and estimate their value of use and the space they shall occupy in your life.
Run your own race and celebrate that you do it in your own way!
It took many years to manage my running and I accept that it will take time to manage what I today struggle with. My focus is that I challenge my greatest physical limitations and that it really is fantastic to know that I am about to work my way out of the health issues that have caused so much stress in my adult life. This summer I trained yoga on a daily basis and by doing so, got rid of the neck issues that have caused me so much headache. Now I am occupied with other training projects to improve other health issues. I am happy and full of expectations and look forward to where I will be in 10 years time, when I turn 60. Then I have trained for many years, and I am sure that my health will be in good shape. I am looking forward to it already! That great gifts like good physical health demand patience, is in my view an acceptable price to pay.
No matter how good your intentions for an active life are, life always has surprises in store for you. Surprises that may interfere with your plans. This is a part of life that one has to be prepared for and accept if one is supposed to keep the motivation to continue when life returns to normal. I have had to drop all training, or trained very little for weeks and months. It was not the way I wanted it to be, but other issues have been so time consuming that I was not able to meet all demands at the same time. That I have participated on 6 ground courses in Movement is due to surprises in life that have made it difficult for me to attend all lessons or to train in between the regular lessons. That is ok. Then it just have to take some more time. Because if I do not take that time…yes, what is really the alternative?
Patience and focus on the goal
If we, in a metaphorical way, think of our lifestyle goals as a beacon lit on a hill top, the most important thing is to be on our way towards it. When we let go of the hold that haste has on our throats, and consider the road to our important goals in life in a wider perspective over years, it is easier to accept the u-turns and the bushes on our road towards the beacon that shines so tempting ahead of us. It does not matter wether the road is long or short. It will take its time. We are, no matter what, always on our way… perhaps you have come further than you thought?
Enjoy the journey!
I salute you
Big hug from
Trine Dahlmo – Healthinspirer– NLP Coach Team AS