Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Looking Good Isn't Good Enough

I've been sitting on this title for weeks and I've been having the toughest time trying to figure how I want to approach this topic. I like to focus on tangible ideas that help me live the lifestyle I preach about. I was in Atlanta last week at a Team BeachBody event talking about the effects of fitness and clean eating on the body and brain. My mantra is based in the belief that if you exercise today you get fitter today. If you exercise and eat whole foods today, your health improves today. If you exercise today the quality of your lives improves today because the area inside the temporal lobe of the brain releases proteins and chemicals that make you happy, confident and productive. And last but not least is the effect of exercise on your body's ability to fight disease and injuries. All these amazing things will (not might) occur the same day you choose to exercise. Wow! So good!

What makes me crazy is that most people on this planet are so hung up on their looks. I'm one of them. Who am I kidding right? I'll show off my biceps and 6-pack at the opening of a letter. It feels good to look good. I understand this as well anyone. The problem lies in the thought that changing your looks is going to make your life better or more manageable somehow. Or that thinking a better body in the future is a sustainable motivator right now. Wanting to look good is great. Thinking that looking good is the end all be all holy grail is disastrous. If looking good is your first priority then it's probably also true that you live your life for others. It means that you care more about what others think of you, than what you think of yourself. This typically results in behavior that is contrary to consistent healthy living. Weight loss thru diets, diet pills, starving yourself before events like weddings and reunions, living and dying for the numbers on your scale all reflect the vicious cycle created by the look-at-me world we live in.

I think our egos can coexist with a more important and powerful energy that can give us purpose on this planet. This energy is the desire to be better. To be stronger, healthier, smarter, more patient and more productive. It's the desire to figure out what you're fighting for. What are YOU fighting for? Is it shapelier calves or to enter and finish your first 10K? Is priority 1 to lose the belly or to do 40 perfect push-ups? Is it looking good in a red dress at a wedding in front of a bunch of people who care too much about what they look like in front of you? BORING! I'm more impressed with the fit girl who can do splits on the dance floor. Success comes from a very gentle shift in priorities. From look-like to can-do. For some this shift is as simple as an on-off switch. For others it will be like cracking a safe. If you find that life has been filled with too many ups and downs then it might be time to make the shift. Constant focus on looking good will only disappoint you. Discover that fighting to be better, brings thrills and chills you never thought imaginable.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Who Are You?

Do you ever find yourself checking to make sure that you do something that will gain you approval from someone else? You might be very careful to say something a certain way so the listener doesn't think you're odd or weird in any way. Ever notice that your clothing looks a lot like the clothing of the people you're hanging out with. Maybe everyone around you is using words like "like" and "bro" every 5th word and therefore you do it too. Because the last thing we want to do, is stick out. To dress, speak, think or behave differently than your friends, family and co-workers could get you in trouble. And worst of all it could leave you open to ridicule. No one likes to have their differences pointed out in front of others. This might have mattered in junior high school, but once you grow up, being different is how you stand out. Standing out is how you break out of the sameness that is keeping you from loving life.

When everything around you says to stay the same, to fit in, it's hard to break out of the ho-hum, humdrum world you find yourself in. Everything you want comes from asking yourself what you want, not the drag-ass people in your life who want you to be like them. Your journey should be as unique as your DNA. Your choices, actions and words need come from deep inside. What is your gut and mind telling you? If outside influences feel wrong then they probably are. And by the way, what you want and who you are requires working your butt off. Choosing to sit on your ass because your gut tells you to is a lie. Study, practice, effort, time and patience are all part of an authentic journey. It's you doing, that allows you to be you. Sometimes just the thought of all that will make you feel like you're hanging in the wind, but most often it will give you the strength to feel like you control your destiny.

When you're living for others and just surviving, the weight of the world sits on you like a two ton truck. When you choose to stand up and stand out, and be the person you were meant to be, the world is a playground filled with adventure and possibilities. Open the door, look around, step inside and go play. If you're choosing the journey based on your desires to be unique and happy, life never feels like work. It feels spectacular and glorious! Why wouldn't you deserve that? You do. We all do. The first steps to getting there requires your desire to change. Your reasons why and plan need to be written down. Change only happens when you're in the game every day. Turn off the tube, pick up a book, do the workout, hang out with creative, smart hard working people and ask plenty of questions along the way.