Friday 19 December 2014

Progress by doing things you fear -- starting today

Declan Coyle

Published 19/08/2014 | 02:30

Click on this snap for the handy guide to boost your running
Click on this snap for the handy guide to boost your running

How typical of us all is this person who sent me an email last week? "I had great plans to make this my summer of exercise," she wrote. "But one week ran into another and I never even got started. I began the summer unfit and overweight and am still that way. How can I motivate myself?"

The poet Robert Browning wrote: "Why stay we on the Earth except to grow?" Everyone agrees that growing is a good thing, but few people dedicate themselves to the process of growth. Why? Because it demands change, and most people are reluctant to change. But without change growth is impossible.

If we don't change we don't grow. If we don't grow, we are not really living. Growth demands giving up familiar limiting beliefs and patterns that keep us in a safe but unrewarding world where exercise is something we just don't do.

The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky puts it like this: "Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what most people fear most." The real fear should be the opposite course. Is there anything worse than a stagnant life devoid of change and improvement?

As the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain." Courage is not the absence of fear but the mastery of it.

The ironic thing is that while change is inevitable, growth is optional. The future is about the four Cs. The constant capacity to anticipate and adapt to continual change. Like a boat with a sail on the high seas, we can ignore the wind, fight it or harness it. In order to grow, you must embrace the winds of change, harness them and give them direction.

Choose a life of health and fitness growth where you can see your daily improvement.

Athletes who reach their potential always think in terms of improvement. Athletes who are determined to "hold their ground," and still be successful, are mistaken. If you are not growing or improving you are sliding backwards.

Start growing today. It's not the exercise you are going to do. It's the exercise you are committed to doing now that counts. Some people keep putting off exercising and their motto is always: "One of these days." But as we know, "one of these days" means "none of these days".

It's not the experiences you've had in life that count, but the lessons you learned from them that really matters.

If you are a runner, run. If you are a swimmer, swim. If cycling is what you love, get on your bike. But do it now. Improve and grow. And when you die wouldn't it be great if people said: "She never stopped growing until the moment she died".

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