An Instrument, not an Ornament

 In Fat Loss, Motivation / Mindset

As 2019 quickly approaches, you might be starting to think about goals you want to set and changes you want to make. According to a poll by The Telegraph, the top 3 New Years resolutions are: Exercise more, Lose weight, and eat healthier. In a word, we all want fitness. It sure sounds like these goals stem from a desire to be a healthier person, so why do 80% of New Years resolutions fail by February?

Even if the overarching goal is better health, we gauge our progress almost solely through an aesthetic lens. Since it takes weeks to months to visibly recognize our bodies changing, when we don’t look in the mirror and see a slimmer self within 3 weeks, we cancel our gym membership and ditch our efforts to eat healthier.

If you’ve ever had a similar experience and given up, you are evaluating your body as an ornament, not an instrument.

[Instrument: To be used to serve a greater purpose and expression. Can be tuned and improved upon. Require practice and hard work to master. Typically durable, but fixable in instances of damage. Meant to be utilized, practiced, and engaged in play and performance.

Ornament: To be used primarily for decoration. Are worth as much as they are pretty. Typically fragile, replaceable, and hidden away until deemed appropriate for use. – Instagram: very_good_fitness]

You will feel differently before you look differently. But if you have tunnel vision aimed at the mirror, you won’t even notice that you have more energy and clarity, you’re going up stairs more easily, you’re able to keep up with your toddler or play with your dog for longer.

What does it mean to treat your body as an instrument rather than an ornament?
First, recognize that what you are able to do shapes your life to a much larger degree than what you look like. Actions, not looks, make up experiences that turn into memories. Your body is your vessel all throughout life, and you have the power to add to or detract from its abilities.

I had an epiphany months ago at a concert when I realized that as a runner on the line for a big race, I was much like the musician on stage.  His guitar was his instrument, and my body was mine. We had both practiced, sacrificed, and prepared for these events for months beforehand. The roads spanning out before me were my stage.

Every day at Force, we work with clients who want to shape and condition their bodies to be able to do new things: play tennis at a higher level, keep up with their kids, or do a handstand. You’d be surprised how many middle-aged people come in with the goal of being able to do a cartwheel. These goals always require a series of action steps – lose weight, get a nagging pain checked out, build core strength, etc. Most often, if you are immersed in the pursuit of an ability, your desired changes will happen along the way, too.

In setting your fitness goals for 2019, consider these 2 questions:

  1. What do you want to be able to physically accomplish in 2019?
    1. Set a more specific time frame so you don’t lose sight.
  2. What do you need to do to put yourself in a position to accomplish that? 
    1. List some specific steps in order of importance.
    2. Examples: Maybe you need to lose some weight to be able to hike on your upcoming vacation, or maybe you’ve got to gain more shoulder mobility so you can join a tennis league with your friends.

“Your Body is an instrument not an ornament. Treat it as such.” – very_good_fitness

In Health,

Coach Emily


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