Your fitness journey won't turn out how you expect it to
Like many others, you probably embarked on your fitness journey with an image in mind of how your body would look at the end of it. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that you may never achieve your dream body.
Nevertheless, if you commit to the process and put in the work, it will all be worth it in the end. Yes, you may fall short of your original goal, but you will grow as a person in ways that completely surpass your expectations.
Here's how your story might play out.
You get inspired to get fitter.
Maybe you're shocked to see how your belly looks in a photo that your friend posted on Instagram. Maybe you're ashamed to find yourself winded on what was supposed to be an "easy" hike. Maybe you spot a hottie in line at Starbucks and think to yourself, "Damn, I wish I looked that good."
Regardless of what the trigger is, you're now fired up to make a change. Something tells you that you're not happy where you are, so you resolve to start being a healthier version of you.
At first, it's hard to give up the comforts of your old way of life, but you are determined to make it happen. After all, you promised yourself that you would see this healthy lifestyle through and already told all your friends about it too. So you force yourself to get up at 5am to squeeze in a morning workout. You exercise self control and turn down that delectable chocolate chip cookie at your favorite sandwich shop.
The hard choices start to pay off and you gain momentum. Your knee pain magically goes away. You can breathe easier. You finally find a salad that you actually enjoy eating. You're feeling great and you're convinced that investing in your health is the best thing you've ever done for yourself.
After a while, your progress slows down.
For the first few months, you are fueled by positive feedback from all directions. Your scale lights up with a lower weight every week. Your coworkers compliment you on your appearance. You're hitting new PRs and feeling unstoppable at the gym. You look in the mirror and smile at what you see.
But then, everything slows to a screeching halt. You're still working just as hard as ever, but you're not seeing results anymore. What gives?
You've hit a dreaded plateau. Your body has adapted to your training and nutrition protocol and now you have a decision to make: You can either push even harder or take a break and pull back. Either way, the amount of external encouragement you receive will plummet and you'll have to dig deep for the internal motivation to proceed.
You hang in there, and your motivation shifts and deepens.
So maybe your gains in the gym are stalling, but you start to see gains in other areas of your life.
You feel more in control.
By setting a goal, making a plan, and sticking to it, you gained trust in your ability to accomplish whatever you set your mind to. You saw what a huge difference it made to your health when you followed through on your plan of action. This newfound sense of control and empowerment allows you to make positive changes elsewhere in your life and further improve your well-being.
You feel more confident.
As you improve on your physical abilities, you'll notice a dramatic boost in confidence. You are now able to accomplish physical feats that you previously believed to be impossible, such as running a half marathon or doing 5 pull ups. You now spring out of bed in the morning with youthful exuberance and a readiness to take on the day. Your confidence in your physical abilities will spill over into other areas and give you confidence in your work and relationships as well.
You feel more connected to yourself and your purpose.
As your self-confidence grows, your self-criticism diminishes. You come to the profound realization that you've been too hard on yourself in the past. Your doubts held you back from realizing your full potential. When you start treating yourself with kindness and respect, you create space for yourself to grow and thrive. You develop the courage to pursue opportunities that align with your true desires, rather than settling for those that are simply presented to you.
You come to understand that this journey has no end.
Before you embarked on your fitness journey, you may have said to yourself, "I will be happy after I lose 10 lbs" or "I will be happy after I have a visible six pack". But now you know full well that achieving your initial goal was only the beginning.
It's no longer about where you'll be after 30 days or 6 months or even 10 years. It's about how you continue to show up for yourself day after day.
You are a different person than who you were when you started.
You used to choose instant gratification, even when it caused long term harm. Now you are not afraid to make hard choices to protect your future self.
You used to avoid difficult responsibilities. Now you lean into discomfort, because you know you can push through it and emerge stronger on the other side.
You used to put your own needs on the back burner in order to be helpful to others. Now you know that investing in your own health and happiness is the only way you can truly serve the people who matter most to you.
You couldn't be more proud of yourself and how far you've come.
If you're reading this and you're feeling frustrated or discouraged with your fitness goals, know that you're not alone. Keep at it. Ask for support. It will be worth it.