I love watching Accelerate clients smash through their old ideas of what they can achieve, what is possible. I’ve seen it with weight loss goals, lifting goals, running, rowing, conditioning, box jumps, you name it. There is that moment when a client realizes that they just achieved something they never imagined possible. Those moments are why I do what I do.
I also see the other moments — the ones of hopelessness. Sometimes they are verbalized and start with “I’ll never” or “I’m not good at that” or another phrase that shows me someone is close to giving up. And that’s where we push.
I know all about hopelessness and how it can become a spiral toward nothing. For all of the elementary school and junior high, I was 100 pounds overweight. I felt incredibly hopeless and I had no idea how to fix it. I remember saying to myself over and over, “one day I will lose this weight,” but even as I said it, I had no idea how to get there.
I felt like a foreigner. I was relentlessly bullied and teased for my weight. Every day felt like another battle where all eyes were on me. And even though the intensity of the comments from my peers, I still couldn’t figure out what to do next. I started reading everything I could find on weight loss and found it to be so overwhelming, it paralyzed me even more.
Finally, I settled on one principle. One plan. Calories in. Calories out. There was no gimmick, no special method, just burn more than you consume. And I began. I started working out on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. And I tracked everything I consumed. The weight started to come off. Then an amazing thing happened. The more I worked, the more people noticed. Once people started noticing, the hopelessness of always being fat started to fade. Those encouraging words of others served as my motivation and kept me going.
My plan was to lose the weight by high school. It was a fresh start and a new opportunity to be something other than the fat kid. My driver’s license photo stood out to me as a tangible goal. “I will not be fat for that photo,” I thought to myself.
If I look back at my journey, it has many of the same elements we coach at Accelerate. Have a team of people to hold you accountable and motivate you. Find a plan and stick with it. Visualize a tangible goal and set a deadline. I keep this picture as a reminder that fitness and exercise can truly be life-changing. The empowerment we feel when we achieve something challenging bleeds over into many areas of life — not just at the gym. This New Year, set your goals with the determination of someone who can achieve them — because you can.
Happy New Year.