A couple years back, I joined a gym for no other reason than the fact that crisps and I were in too close a relationship and the fatty goodness had made me grow wider over the span of a couple of months. I wanted to lose weight, as did everyone in the world, as January 1st had just rolled by and we had all started the new year full of high hopes for the goals we had set. So I joined the gym, and I ended up going… about three times. Total. In the whole of the year.
How often is it that we get stuck in life? No matter where, how or why, we keep setting goals for ourselves without reaching them, getting no further than step two, or day four, or lesson seven. Getting in with our spirits high only to fall flat on our asses as soon as we just ‘don’t feel like doing it anymore.’ Which can be a fair point, but not if we started with the right intentions.
If I would have joined that gym with the intention of being a better version of myself, getting stronger, becoming healthier, changing my whole life, I can assure you I would have been there three times each and every week. Instead, I knew I wanted to lose some fat, I didn’t have any knowledge about how to do it properly, and worse: I didn’t know why I wanted to slim down. That’s problematic, because the Why will be a drive for the duration of the projects we set out for ourselves, especially when we ‘don’t feel like doing it anymore.’ The Why is what pulls us forth another day, every day. And we have to get it completely clear before we dive into whatever it is we long to do.
The Why is conscious choice. This starts with self-reflection, driven by questions like: who am I; what do I long to get done in my lifetime; who do I long to become; which parts of myself do I feel the need to strengthen; why do I want this; where does this longing come from; what is going to happen when I change this; what is my next step? I believe self-reflection is vital to a life well-lived, because it gets us clear on who we are and what we want, which in turn shows the way ahead of us.
Whenever I reflect – which happens in solitude, with nothing other than my dear notebook and favourite pen – it’s as though a weight is lifted off my shoulders. The moment I have on paper what I desire, what drives me and how I long to get deeper into myself to unravel all that is there, I feel a sense of freedom washing over me, knowing that I have set out a road ahead. Winging it can be nice, but honestly, I’d much rather have a bit of direction as to where I’m going. It’s freeing to know yourself, freeing & exciting.
Understand, also, that there is but one thing able to be your drive: you. Of course I now go to the gym religiously knowing it’s amazing to build a body that my lover will relish even more than he does now, but that’s not the reason I do it, I do it because I fucking love seeing a good butt when I look into the mirror, I do it because I get excited when I get to put more plates on the barbell when I do my squats & deadlifts, I do it because I get happier than ever when the endorphins kick in and the music is just right and I dance a little in the middle of the sweat-haven that is my gym. In short: I do it for me. Same goes for every single thing I am passionate about, though I love it when others are enthusiastic about it also, I do it for me. Always.
But I wouldn’t if I would never take the time to feel all that is within me, if I didn’t put on paper who I am and what I desire. It’s powerful to love our notebooks as if they were part of ourselves, it strengthens us when unravel who we are in scribbly letters with little drawings on the side to emphasise written word, I want us to go deep and choose every single thing we do consciously, with love.
Self-reflection and conscious choice are, together, the beginning of whatever step we long to take to conquer the world in our own way, whether it be small or of gargantuan proportion – they are the beginning of a change that will last. Let’s make wonderful things happen.