I started off thinking that I was going to write a post about exercising, but in doing so, I realised that the lesson I’ve learnt over the last few days transcends to any goal in life you are struggling at reaching – any task, or dream you are holding off trying for because it just seems too difficult.
To talk about exercising, though, first, I guess I should explain for me why being an active person is something that has alluded me for so long. Over the last few years I have dieted, a lot. I have been desperately unhappy with my body. I have tried every trick in the book to lose weight – well, every trick, that is, except slogging it down the gym. When it comes to exercising, I’m one of those people who tells other people they’re just not cut out for it. “I hate the gym,” I would say, and believe me, I’ve used every excuse in the book not to go.
Last week I read a book by one of my favourite authors, Haruki Murakami, called ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running‘. I bought it on the strength of Murakami’s amazing writing style, having not really cottoned on that it was a memoir about running. Apparently, along with being a bestselling author, Murakami also runs marathons, and in the book he talks about the marathons and triathlons he’s run (including a 62 mile marathon) along with discussing what running means to him and why he does it. The quote that stayed with me the most from reading the book was this one:
“No matter how much long-distance running might suit me, of course there are days when I feel kind of lethargic and don’t want to run. Actually, it happens a lot. On days like that, I try to think of all kinds of plausible excuses to slough it off. Once, I interviewed the Olympic running Toshihiko Seko, just after he retired from running and became manager of the S&B company team. I asked him, “Does a runner at your level ever feel like you’d rather not run today, like you don’t want to run and would rather just sleep in?” He stared at me and then, in a voice that made it abundantly clear how stupid he thought the question was, replied, “Of course. All the time!”
Reading that really made me stop in my tracks. “Hang on a minute,” I thought to myself. “You mean even runners sometimes don’t feel like running?” It really opened up a whole new way of thinking to me. What it also made me realise is that the only thing stopping me from slipping on my trainers, stepping out the door and going for a run right now… is me. It isn’t the fact that I’m not a born runner (no-one is), the weather, or the fact that I’m too busy. It’s me. The only thing standing between me and having a toned body, looking in the mirror and liking what I see, is me.
This is why, this week, I have been 30 Day Shredding, and I think I’m nearly ready to start jogging too. Nothing that’s worth doing, or gets results, is easy, but at least when I go on holiday later on this month, I can look at myself in a bikini, and whatever shape my body is in, I can say that I tried. (And will continue trying!) What’s stopping you from doing the things you really want to?