“Never have I felt so incredible about myself and I know it’s because I’m starting to realize my capacity for hard work.”
I’m a little sister, a big sister, an aunt, a daughter, a student, a nurse, a waitress, a dog mom, an artist, a business owner, and now I’m an athlete. I’m a lover of myself. I’m an advocate for my health. I’m beginning to realize that if I only get to live one time, I simply must do it right. In the middle of a ten minute plank, Toby Borup said “what an amazing life this is, you get one body.” His message, coupled with the reality of my mortality I am faced with in my job, was enough to stimulate alteration in my life. One life, one body, what a privilege we are given as humans to have bodies we can strengthen and choose to love.
The word “change” does not do the metamorphosis my life has undergone in the past ninety days justice. Twelve weeks ago, I knew I was unhappy. I was unhappy with my body-but the underlying issue is that I was unhappy with myself entirely. I wanted to be the motivated, energetic individual I felt that I once was. I signed up for this challenge with the hope that I would get stronger and my body would tone up. I’ve come out of this challenge feeling like my mind and soul have been renewed. I have realized that with hard work, I am able to refocus my attention on self-love and pursuing goals, rather than negative self-talk and running away from problems instead of coping.
It’s so much easier to indulge in self-hatred and give up on bettering yourself. Becoming a goal-oriented, successful, happy person takes hard work and more self-reflection than I was comfortable with at first. Not only was it a challenge to get up in the morning and workout, but it was an even bigger challenge to see myself in a positive light and love myself enough to want to see results and work my absolute hardest. Showing up is one thing, pushing through the pain of the workout and making yourself stronger is another. However, in doing so, my mindset changed.
When I pushed myself, I found pain and tears. More importantly, I found that I do have self-love and confidence. I found that I am more than my low self-esteem. I could focus my attention on what was making me unhappy and begin to change it. I removed myself from unhealthy relationships and distanced myself from habits that were hindering my progress. I became more aware of the little things that brought me joy such as driving with the windows down and my hair blowing around, snuggling my dog, or taking a little bit longer to put my makeup on and feel just a little bit more confident leaving the house.
This new found confidence reflected in my professional life. I had the most important job interview of my adult life last month. My dream job was within reach and all I needed was to make them understand why I was the best candidate possible. I walked into that interview with a confident glow and a positive air because I felt strong, independent, beautiful, and smart. Never have I felt so incredible about myself and I know it’s because I’m starting to realize my capacity for hard work.
Love and respect go hand-in-hand, especially in mindset and thinking. I am beginning to respect my feelings and listen to my instincts because I’m learning how to love myself. I’m better in my ability to say no to things I can’t fit into my schedule or stress me out. I’m also significantly more forward thinking and dwell less on things I wish I had done differently or said differently. My focus is now on the next move in my game, not my past losses or winnings.
All of these changes in my psyche, attitude, self-esteem, and thinking have brought me a stronger mind and physique. Staying after boot camp to get a few more push-ups, another few minutes of planks, or to struggle through more squats, developed new friendships and a sense of pride in my abilities. It hurts to run fast, especially in that last lap, when my mind is screaming at me to stop. It hurts to breathe when I do push-ups and I constantly have to fix my terrible form. I’ve held back screaming in pain during squats when my quadriceps feel like they could burn the building down-but I lived. I’m building my body into the empire I deserve one extra repetition at a time. This empire is allowing me to create new goals and is going to take me anywhere I want.