I think for anyone that knows my story, it’s clear that even as a coach, I struggle from time to time when it comes to taking care of myself. Why is this? Why is it so difficult to get our heads around the idea of “self care?”
We see it every single day in the gym, and online via Social Media. I see so many people continually push their own health and fitness needs down their own priority list in favor of other activities. Below, I’ve broken down many of the most common reasons we hear from people about why they have struggled to get or stay motivated
We see this with everyone from business professionals, the stay at home set, and new mothers and fathers. It doesn’t seem to matter who you are, but there seems to be this feeling of guilt that creeps in while spending time on yourself. I had one client say to me “every minute I’m here, is a minute I'm not spending with my family, they aren't getting my best!” It’s a tough mental/emotional hurdle to overcome at first, but in the end, the people that love you the most WANT you to be happy…if they are looking down on your self improvement time…they are, in fact, the one that is being selfish.
Feeling a need to put other’s first
A shade different than the issue above. This person tends to always have 9 other things to do before they can “get to taking care of myself”. I’ve noticed that typically the items on the list that “need” to be done first can either be delegated, or shuffled a bit with some creative scheduling. There is no doubt that our lives are busier than ever, and your needs shouldn’t get lost in everyone else’s shuffle. It's also very easy to hide your own fears and hangups behind the curtain of "too many other things to do".
They haven’t thought about it at all
This is probably the most common of the bunch. Simply put, folks just haven’t taken the time to really think about what it is that they “need” in order to make themselves happy. Fitness or otherwise. There seems to be this zombie-like walk toward all of the things we feel we are “supposed” to do (have a relationship, get married, buy a house, have kids, etc.). Take a step back and really think about what makes YOU happy. Your list may not look like everyone elses, and hopefully making sure that you are happy, fulfilled, and healthy is tops on that list!
They can’t see themselves as a healthier, and fitter version of themselves
This one resonates with me for sure. Growing up, I was certainly athletic, but I was never on top of the athletic heap. I could play just about any sport, but I was always the bigger kid. About 15# heavier than everyone else, a step (or two) too slow, which led to a severely negative self image that developed over time. Poor eating and sleep habits that come with being a teenager contributed for sure, but being the big strong type and making fat jokes kind of became a part of my identity (I have a library of them). I didn’t know what a “fit” version of myself looked like, so I wasn't able to build an image of what was attainable.
Doing this starts with understanding that you are not defined as a person by what you look like. Second is the realization that aesthetic goals come only after committing yourself (mind and body) to the process and lifestyle that comes with being fit. From there you can build an image of the entire person you want to become. These are big mental hurdles to make, no doubt about it...but very attainable.
They don’t believe they are worthy
This one right here…this is the one that bothers me the most when I hear it. It’s tough to look someone in the eye and see that they actually believe this. Life can throw us some serious curveballs, but no matter what is going on in your life, you have every right to live the kind of life (and achieve the level of fitness) that you desire. This applies to all areas of your life, not just in the gym. So, no matter what has happened in the past, it does not dictate your future. You get to choose. You are worth the investment in yourself. The benefits of this time spent on yourself will be the single greatest gift anyone could ever give you.
With all of this in mind, I like to remind people of the “oxygen mask” philosophy. When you’re on an airplane and the oxygen mask drops from the ceiling, they advise you put yours on first before attending to anyone else.
The basic point being that you are no good to anyone else unless you are good to yourself first.