It occurred to me recently that the only true answer to the question of how can we best accomplish our health and fitness goals consistently – and save our own lives – was to “become relentless”. I recognized this trait in myself as a boy on Maui and today I know that it is how I have maintained a high level of fitness over more than six decades of my life. I decided early on to never let myself “get out of shape”. I always wanted to be fit. In making this choice I became committed to my purpose: Never make excuses and treasure the physical gifts I had been given by always training as though today were my last on earth.
This article addresses three key principles to becoming relentless and exercising the control over your choices that only YOU can make. Nothing in life is more important than our health and if we lose it – we may never be able to get it back. We also cannot become fit because our health is a precursor to overall fitness achievement. I understand that we are confronted every day by challenges and that some of the circumstances we face are beyond our control. However, I also DO believe that the power we exercise in making our choices is always within our control. Do you want to live a fulfilling and healthy, happy, and fit life – or not? The choice is yours!
In my world there are no such things as excuses. We either commit to our own health and fitness future – or we don’t. There is no “in between”. I am asked frequently by people at the gym how many days I work out and my answer is always the same”. I train EVERY day if I am not sick or injured because I never want to “go backwards” and lose all the gains I have made. Every new day presents each of us with the opportunity to train mentally, physically and spiritually. What do you do to plan your day with your health and fitness needs in mind?
Most Americans are eating and sitting their way to an early death by not considering these important needs. It is as though they have turned off their brains and disconnected them from their bodies. I see this behavior every day and this pattern of “thoughtlessness” WILL become chronic if not changed. This “way of thinking” by parents then gets passed down to their children.
I see potentially obese children stuffing their faces with French fries while their parents model behaviors that are truly unhealthy. Technology is a now a major part of how we interact with one another and this poses additional challenges for a healthy exchange of ideas and knowledge. We are “buried in our devices”!
The KEY here is NEVER MAKE EXCUSES! There is ALWAYS time to exercise your mind, spirit and body. MAKE the time. If you are not sick or injured commit yourself to your own “renewed” purpose: Train every day and NEVER LOOK BACK! Today is all any of us get. Do you want to waste while in making excuses about why you couldn’t take that walk, eat that salad, or meditate for a few moments on what you are grateful for in your life? I hope not. Regret is a terrible burden to carry into your future. Be Relentless!
LIGHT YOUR INNER FIRE!
The only true motivation is “inner inspiration”. I was inspired as a boy through my swimming coach at the time to strive for excellence and to use my talent to its highest potential. He saw me as a potential champion – even at the age of 8 – and I trained accordingly. The “fire was lit” by his belief in me and his encouragement during our training sessions. He gave me the strength to endure the many hours of repetition that it took to become skilled for competition.
I remember the joy I felt when I met with my teammates before practice. We were all friends and were close in age. The training was difficult at times but it gave me the understanding of how to become a better swimmer and maximize my talent. I knew the hard work would pay off and it did when we competed against other teams. I loved the competitive “fire” within me because it gave me purpose and a feeling of accomplishment when the training came together during our races.
This “inner fire” cannot be given to you. It has to be generated from within you. You have to “own it”. We can hire coaches to help us by inspiring and encouraging us but we have to do the work of “lighting the fire” for ourselves. It IS within each of us and this is our POTENTIAL. Don’t short change yourself. We ARE capable of accomplishing great things if we believe in our potential. This is what my swimming coach on Maui gave me when I was just beginning life as a swimmer: The belief in myself that I could become a champion.
I never forgot these lessons or his belief in me. I carried this “fire” within me during the many years that followed all the way up to this – my 71st year. I am capable of so much more today because I believed in myself and knew that every day was a gift that I could use to move myself forward – or I could have let my circumstances let me “slip” into obscurity and mediocrity. I REFUSE to live in mediocrity and I encourage you to not let this thought overwhelm you and stop you from pursuing excellence in your own life. Be relentless!
STAY THE COURSE!
Once you have decided to commit yourself to your health and fitness goals – STAY THE COURSE! Never let excuses or sloppy thinking prevent you from reaching for the “greater within you”. I have suffered badly these last 6-8 months from painful feet (plantar fasciitis) – a debilitating inflammatory condition at the bottom of both my feet characterized by searing pain. “It is often referred to as an “overuse” injury. Fifty three years of running can have this type of effect and it DID catch up to me!
It progressed to swelling in my right calf and ankle brought on by what I suspect was tearing of the soft tissue. I have not been able to run during this time so I substituted the lifecycle for cardio training and as a form of rehab it has served its purpose but I miss running very much. I KNOW that I am improving with the addition of my stretching program and new strength training methods but this time has served as a reminder to me that no matter what we do we are vulnerable to age, injury, and pain.
I have stayed the course with my training but I also know that at 70 I am not going to escape the possibilities of additional injury. I believe in the benefits of training so deeply, however, that I will NOT let anything stop me from my appointed training sessions. My time as a swimmer taught me that every action we take in support of our goals can propel us to becoming more than we ever dreamed possible.
What is your dream and what are you willing to do to fulfill it? I am willing to do what is necessary to see mine come true: Help the world become “more” by focusing all our energy on becoming happy, healthy and FIT! Be relentless!
Take time TODAY and review your mental. physical and spiritual needs and desires. Make an appointment with yourself that you WILL “show up” each day to work on advancing your health and fitness goals. DECIDE today to never let a moment “slip away” from you that could have moved you closer to becoming the person you were meant to be.
DECIDE TO BECOME RELENTLESS! Don’t make excuses, not the light the fire within you or NOT stay the course that you have set before you. Decide to be EXCELLENCE and pursue that idea every day – regardless of the circumstances or challenges you face. My feet will run again but I am taking the time right now to appreciate all that they have done for me over past 70 years!
Appreciate and be grateful for all that you have been given and start your day in gratitude and forgiveness. These two traits alone are omnipotent. I never will take today for granted because it is all I have. Your journey – and mine as well – has just begun. Cherish every moment and BE RELENTLESS!