Years ago I joined up with a Military Boot camp style fitness program. It was one of the best 18 months of my life. I worked out 3-5 days a week at 530am-7am with people who would become some of my best friends. It was incredibly motivating to know that I was going to go down to the picturesque Jericho beach to hang out with a group of friends. The work was hard and sometimes intimidating but I gave it my best and I got into some of the best conditioned shape of my life to that point. I had people who counted on me and who I counted on. It was a surreal time in my life to say the least. When the owners of the program pulled out of Vancouver to focus their time and energy on working in their hometowns of Edmonton and Calgary, the dynamic changed with the new head trainer and then when the dynamic changed too much, it was all folded up and closed down. I tried a couple other boot camp style programs and I tried to get along with the head trainer that had set up his own shop but the magic had gone. Around this same time my personal life started its long slide into hellish oblivion… not good timing.
What I realized just recently is that even though I was motivated and consistently worked out… even though I was the one that had to get out of bed every morning and go do the work… I never learned how to rely only on myself. Many times I went because I wanted to see my friends… because I knew they would miss me if I wasn’t there and because they were counting on me. I didn’t go because I had any sort of mental strength or fortitude. I didn’t go because I wanted to get stronger. I essentially had a crutch to lean on to keep me motivated and when that crutch was gone, I was in trouble.
I came to this realization two days ago when the head trainer contacted me on twitter and invited me back to his program with the ‘enticing’ note that my friends were waiting for me and that they missed me. Besides the fact that we do NOT get along, I know things about him I can’t get over and it’s not convenient or in my budget, I realized that this journey I’m on… I have to take it alone. I have to know myself and know my own motivations and know my own strengths and weaknesses. Leaning on a group of friends again would be great…it would be easy but it wouldn’t help me grow as a person and it wouldn’t teach me what I need to know about myself.
When I run after work or on the weekends, or go to my weightlifting coach, I do so under my own power. No one but me knows when I do or don’t run… my friends would never know if I said I was running or working out and then didn’t. And that’s the way I want it. I want to be accountable to myself and only myself. I need to nurture the strength I’m developing to be able to stand on my own in the face of everything that life chucks at me and be firm and grounded in what I value. And one of the things that I’m coming to value most out of anything is my own personal strength. I can hear my thoughts, I can be still and quiet with my contemplations and processing of information and stimuli. And I can love myself enough to do something for me that is only for me. I eat the way I want and work out the way I want because in the end the only accountability I have is to the voice in my head and in my heart. And the last thing I need right now… in the fledgling state of learning to hold myself up… is an easy way out.