I talk to so many people during their journey toward better health and fitness and I am always interested to get to the bottom of what is hard for them. It’s never this perfectly straight line from start to finish. And, it’s often not just a forward motion. What’s that old saying? “One step forward, two steps back”? Or is it “two steps forward, one step back”? Regardless, it’s not this cute little clean “thing” that occurs. We all know it is not ever an overnight process. But, what I think makes that fact even more difficult is this messy transition. It’s one thing to have it in your head that you’ll have to sit through things for a bit until you notice changes. However, to also accept that you’ll slide backwards at times and feel like you’re fighting against odds you never knew were there…well that’s just not fair.
“So, what about it?” you ask. What I have noticed about people who are able to keep going, little step by little step, and not get quite so easily discouraged, is that they have passion. I was going to say their passion changes. But, really, for many people, they find it for the first time. When we are in a zone of avoidance and numbing, this passion has no place to live. In fact, we likely wouldn’t recognize it if it started to surface. We don’t have time for passion. It takes too much effort. We, instead, choose to live on autopilot. Autopilot is pretty comfy. Autopilot allows us to pretend that we’re happy while we secretly long for so much better. Autopilot saves us from those uncomfortable, unpredictable things in life that we face when we reach higher than we are. Risk is not involved with autopilot. As much as we hate to admit this, many of us just love this place. We feel far less naked and vulnerable when we are all snuggled up with our bad habits…which, in fact, feel quite good.
Well now what? This is getting depressing. Well, yes, it is sort of depressing. In all honesty, this is the part that just sucks for me as a health coach. You just can’t pry someones little fingers off of their habits and make them choose to find their passion. But, when they do, it’s kind of magical. It remind me of one of my favorite quotes from the movie “We Bought a Zoo” (If you haven’t seen it, it requires tissues):
“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.
Just, literally, 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery.
And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
And that…that’s how you find your passion. One little moment at a time. You put down the drink, the cookie, the remote, the bad relationship…you put it down and point yourself in the direction of something that actually feeds your soul and spirit and helps you get one tiny, tiny step closer to who you want to be. Then, you do it again. Pretty soon, it doesn’t make you want to turn around and embrace whatever it is that you let go of. Pretty soon you don’t long for the old dark, musty place called denial that was such a good friend. Pretty soon hard work feels good and you start to walk a little taller and feel a little more like someone you might actually be proud of. One day, you begin to notice you like things; things you never thought you might like. And this ignites a fire inside of you that is so good it’s almost scary. It is a fire to be better and even to inspire the same in others. Turns out it is so much better than a sugar hangover, or a regretful night with someone you don’t love, or all those cigarettes or an entire day wasted in front of a screen or the negativity you thought was part of you. Finally it becomes not so scary to have some direction and you start to welcome the notion of life; real life: the good, the bad and the ugly. This, my friend, is passion.