When you walk into the gym, what is your focus? When you start your first exercise, what is your focus? when you are deciding between upping your load or decreasing it, what goes through your mind? When you fail to lift as much as you thought you could, what are you thinking? When you feel like giving up, what is your mindset? When you look in the mirror, what are you looking at?
Regardless of what I am about to share with all of you today, some of you may still feel the need to make sure everyone around you sees your achievements, good days, heavy lifts and some of you will still feel the need to avoid the mirror, give up, walk away, cry, talk negatively about yourself and compare yourself to others & finally, some of you may still feel the need to revolve your happiness around others and not take yourself into consideration. Whether or not you agree with me, is not the issue at hand. All that matters to me is that you know what your focus is when you enter that gym, start your home workout, go to yoga class, walk in the doors of CrossFit, go for your run, have a swim, riding your bicycle, and/or any activity that involves you wanting to do better.
Before I begin to talk about you, I want to share something about me. Now most of you already know I had some self esteem issues in the beginning when I started down this road to fitness. One of the many issues I had was watching myself in the mirror as I did my workout. Now if you would have asked me some time ago if I thought there was an issue with that, I would have said no.. “it’s just not my thing”. The majority of people in the fitness industry will tell you that looking in the mirror as you workout does wonders in helping you with form/technique and gives you an idea of how you are doing the workout to make sure you are seeing the flaws and correcting them as you workout. I thought that was “bullshit” (excuse my language) but I didn’t believe it because I didn’t want to believe it and I didn’t want to believe it because I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror because all I seen was fat & ugly; but I didn’t want to tell someone that. My exercise science professor was the first one to peep out the fact that I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror; I think without telling her, that she knew why. She still enforced that I would at least try because in the long run it would only help me (and she was right). Long story a bit shorter, it took me a very long time to be comfortable in front of the mirror; especially while working out at the gym. My problem was I went into the gym confident in myself, confident in my workout but as soon as I seen myself in the mirror, all my confidence was gone, my self esteem dwindled and my mindset was negative the whole workout long. Deep down I knew I didn’t like what I seen in the mirror but what made it worse was having other people see it too. You probably wonder if even after I gained my own self awareness and began losing weight and molding my body into what I want it to look like, if I still have issues with looking in the mirror as I workout & the answer to that question is YES. Not to the same extreme as before, but more so I get more or less nervous about it because I always want to see some results and I am afraid that one day I will look at that mirror and see my nightmare BUT I do it anyways because it has helped me and I don’t focus on my “body” anymore; I focus on myself improvement. Believe it or not, I don’t mind looking at the mirror much anymore; I get nervous but not anxiety ridden. This means I am still on my own journey and I have tons to work on before I am 100% confident with looking in the mirror; for now I am 80% and that is good.
Now that you have heard my story, I want to hear all of yours. I think people get so caught up in the who is watching me phase at the gym because someone always wants an audience and then someone is always running away from the audience. Neither one of these is a “good” focus because both of these hinder people from making self improvement. If you are the type of person to constantly want an audience to watch you make adjustments, add more load, see the sweat dripping from your face, do advanced workouts, etc then are you really at the gym for you, or are you at the gym to put on a show that no one really cares to watch? If you are hiding from the crowd, deliberately avoiding the mirror, not working at your full potential, complacent, choosing to not make eye contact and feeling down on yourself; are you at the gym for your self improvement or are you too busy worried about what others think of you? See how this plays out, both people are worried about how others perceive them but neither one of them care about their own self improvement. We have player A who gets a high on others watching him and player B gets anxiety at the thought of others watching. Neither one of these people care about themselves, they care about what others think of them. In my opinion neither one of these people are going to the gym, doing the run, going for a swim, riding their bike for the right reasons. Self improvement is not about who is watching or why, it is about knowing what your focus is and making it your mission to worry about how you plan on achieving that focus.
I talk about health and fitness, but self improvement works in this wonderful way that doesn’t have to always have to do with fitness or health. Self improvement can be in your household, your job, your education, your hobbies, your day to day routines, etc. It can go beyond the spectrum of health and fitness because it is whatever your focus is on that is going to make you better at whatever you are trying to achieve. So I will end this on a good note:
- what is your focus?
- Are you aware of your current level of happiness, and productivity?
- Are you making conscious decisions to grow?
- Do you hold a higher expectation of yourself or do you allow others to hold higher expectations of you?
- Do you deliberately do things that make you feel uncomfortable?
- Do partake in activities or hobbies that will improve your mind and body?
- Final question.. why do you care what others may think of you?