It just takes some time,
Little girl you’re in the middle of the ride
Everything everything will be just fine

Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle” 2001

It’s a virtue, they say, but I’m not so good at the patience thing… When I launch a project, I want immediate results, like most people. Although it’s considered a very American trait, it’s really fairly universal in our 24 hour news cycle, social media world. We as a country have, however, made an art form of instant gratification.

Is quicker really better though? I would argue that the journey, striving to achieve your goal, makes it that much sweeter when you get there. If it comes too easily, can you really value the reward? (Mind you, I would say that while simultaneously wanting the race over, the project completed, the task checked off. Hey, I’m working on it!) To do it right, it just takes some time.

…To Those Who Wait…

I didn’t put on those extra pounds in a month; it’s not realistic (or healthy) to expect them to come off in a month. That seems logical enough, but the quick fix, shortcut method of weight loss will always get a lot more attention. I am asked all the time, “What was your trick? How did you lose the weight?” Diet and exercise is never the answer they are hoping for; I can see their faces fall when I tell them.

The truth is, shortcuts usually don’t work, or don’t hold up over the long haul. That’s not to say some of them can’t be good tools along your journey – if it helps and you are getting results, more power to you.

In truth, we should be encouraging people to focus on fitness – not just weight loss. Losing weight is often a part of the journey, but cutting weight also cuts muscle. Focusing on fitness and building muscle may actually increase your weight – but it will cut inches, increase your strength and stamina, help your heart function, and the list goes on. Don’t get hung up on the scale; focus instead on how you feel.

…If They Put In The Work

I am not aware of any Fitness Djinn who will snap their fingers for you. No, in the words of the illustrious RuPaul, “you better work!” Every intentional step, every healthy snack instead of a cookie, every situp – each and every move is another one closer to your goals. It adds up, friends – so don’t just wait for it to happen. Go out and make it so! Develop your plan, write it down and tell someone else that you trust. It’s a lot harder to let that other person down.

When you make your list and check it twice, take time to consider each item. Does it fit with the goals you want to achieve? What about your workout buddies, your accountability partners? Will they be comfortable with your list, or will you be solo for some of the items? Not that there’s anything wrong with that – but you are more likely to do the work with a partner – and you may get more out of it that way too.

Once your plan is set, it’s time to go to work. Focus on the task at hand; it can be easy to check out when you are running, for example. Don’t let yourself get distracted by all the crazy thoughts running through your head; focus on your form and work on doing it right. The more efficient you are, the better.

So yes, it may take some time, and you are in the middle of the ride. There will be plateaus and new challenges, and your goals may change over time. Sometimes the thing you didn’t even know you were looking for will come into focus, even years later. When I started this journey three years ago, I would have laughed in your face if you told me I would be smiling while I signed up for some of these events. Yet here I am; I’m all in. How about you?

Photo by Kyndall Ramirez on Unsplash