So, I’m reading my latest book, the one I have to hide from my children. (Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop) And the second chapter is called “I Am Willing.” And as I’m reading it I’m thinking it’s ok, nothing great, I’m not sure how I’m going to like this book….
By the end of the chapter I’m struck by that one phrase- I’m willing. It’s been running through my head all day. It really does come down to that. Motivation, commitment, discipline, getting things done. Are you willing?
It reminds me of a tough-love article I read awhile back. A personal trainer went on a rant about how people want this and want that and complain when nothing happens or they don’t get results. He knew, no matter who it was talking, that his answer would be the same. His basic response was: you’re not willing to do what you need to do to get there. Whatever your level of fitness, whatever your goals, you have to be willing to do what it takes to get there. And don’t fool yourself if you’re not.
It was a little dose of tough love that I needed. And it made me think. I was frustrated by being at a weight loss plateau. Frustrated and complaining and venting and reading articles about breaking that plateau. But I wasn’t doing what it would take to do that. If I wanted different results, I had to try something different. And I wasn’t willing to do that then. So I kept doing what I was doing, but I stopped complaining. That little article shut me up. If I wasn’t willing to do something, I had to quit whining.
And I’ve stayed there for a while….knowing my results weren’t exactly what I wanted, but not really ready to step it up. But in the back of my head, I still wanted more.
Before we set out to do something I think we have to ask ourselves that question- am I willing? Am I willing to do what it takes to get there?
We can all do hard things. But are we willing? Are we willing to do hard things to get what we want?
I think it’s important to consider in lots of areas of life, but I’m thinking here about fitness goals. I’m doing this program now that’s pretty intense. The workout intense-ness is in my comfort zone. I like to be pushed, I like hard workouts, I want to come out of it feeling like I just did something hard. The nutrition intense-ness has been outside my comfort zone. I have specifically said I would not give certain things up, even if it meant I wouldn’t get the results I wanted. I have considered timed nutrition and counting macros and that more intense nutrition stuff in the past, and you know what? It came down to the fact that I was not willing to do what needed to be done to get those results.
Well, now I am willing. I am willing to get up at 4:30 in the morning. I am willing to eat before I workout even though I really don’t like to eat before workouts. I am willing to food shop and prep so I have meals ready to eat every 2-3 hours. I am ready to eat vegetables at all hours and breakfasts that feel more like dinners like a crazy person. I am willing to go to bed early. I am willing to pass up cookies and ice cream. I am willing to drink seltzer while my friends drink beer and wine. I am willing to pack my own food for a Super Bowl party. I am willing to eat fruit instead of cake on my daughter’s birthday.
I have not always been willing. And I may not always be willing- at least not to this extent. There was a time I wasn’t willing to go for a walk, let alone run, hike, or do mountain climbers. There was a time I wasn’t willing to give up International Delights in my coffee. Or a pint of Haagen-Dazs on a Sunday night. There was a time I said I wasn’t a morning person. There was a time where I was doing most of what I’m doing now, but I wasn’t willing to go that extra mile with my nutrition.
And that’s all ok. What’s not ok is getting frustrated with ourselves because we’re not where we want to be. Step back and think about what you want. Think about what you have to do to get there. Then think about what you are willing to do.
I have been all along the spectrum, from complaining when my husband wanted to go for a walk around the block to going for a 9-mile hike with him. And I’m not saying you have to do timed nutrition. Or hour long workouts. Or wake up at 4:30 in the morning. I’m saying know where you’re at. And if where you’re at is eating crap and not exercising and not taking care of your body like you know you should, then think about what you can do to snap out of that place.
Maybe where you’re at is willing to do some exercise, but nothing crazy. Willing to eat a little better, but still have your treats too. Willing to take some steps, but not willing to change too much. And that’s fine! Just know where you are and be honest with yourself. You’re going to have to do something. Nothing works unless you do. You can try different things and you can jump on bandwagons, but until you’re ready to put the work in, nothing is going to work for you. There are no miracles when it comes to taking charge of your health.
So think of what you want and think about what your are willing to do. Be honest with yourself about what your goals are and what you are willing to do to get them. If that doesn’t match up, you need to rethink things.
Because there is also “I am not willing.” Or “I am unwilling.”
Sometimes it is what we are unwilling to do or unwilling to accept that will motivate us. Like being unwilling to wake up and dread getting dressed because your pants don’t fit. When I used to feel silly for letting my weight get me down, or not wanting to get dressed to go somewhere because I just felt so uncomfortable in my own skin, my husband made that profound statement. “It’s hard to get out of bed when you know your pants don’t fit.” Like it or not, our physical bodies and how we feel in them can really affect how we feel overall.
Maybe it’s when we’re not willing to stay where we are, that we know we’re ready for change.
Sometimes what we’re willing to do is enough. Sometimes we know that we need to be willing to do more. And sometimes being unwilling is what will finally motivate us.
What are you willing to do?