I have a rather embarrassing admission. I talk to myself. Frequently. I’m not even going to sugar coat it - it’s basically a running dialogue that is always on, and I am sometimes tuned into it, sometimes not. Before you start emailing me the phone number of your therapist, hear me out on this. I think everyone should do it, and I think it’s healthy. I’m not referring to walking down the street mumbling and uttering out loud. I am talking about the inner voice, the one that connects straight to the gut - the visceral, clear, and honest voice that is inside all of us which we need to be listening to much more...and which we should be careful with - watching our tone, and the words we use.
We all have people we count on and seek advice from in our everyday lives: parents, spouses, family, friends. These people become our trusted confidantes, and with good reason. They love us, they want what is best for us, and so we find ourselves listening to their counsel and weighing their words as we make our decisions. This too, is healthy and wise. However, we also need to check ourselves and make sure those voices aren’t drowning out our own. We tell ourselves to be quiet all the time, hushing and shushing our inner dialogue until it is so faint, it is barely noticeable. Our gut isn’t always right, obviously. Our intuition can be off. We can have the best of intentions, and reasons for doing something, and it can be the wrong decision. But by and large, our gut feels what our head may not know yet. The voice we hear inside can be very powerful, and the more we listen, the louder and stronger it can become.
Why am I saying all of this? Because in fitness, in our healthy lifestyle choices, that voice can be what makes or breaks us. That voice is the one at 6am that decides if we are going to the gym or staying in bed. It is the one which decides to have either the bagel or the egg whites, and it is the one, when we are racing on the treadmill on a steep incline, saying, “You got this”, when our legs, heart, and brain are saying, “Stop”. So much of our fitness journey becomes mind over matter. Your mindset is going to determine how much you are going to accomplish that day. If you walk into class saying, “I’m going to crush this,” chances are pretty high that you are going to do just that. Your mindset determines the weights you pick up, the reps you do, the speed and resistance you choose, and the time you set. You can be having a terrible, defeating day, yet you can walk into that studio, get on the bike, and set a personal best. You can, because your inner voice is always about what is going on in the moment. It says, “forget what just happened. Focus on where you are now, and do the damn thing”.
In our everyday lives, it is wonderful and necessary to have trusted opinions and voices to count on when making important decisions. But those opinions and those voices aren’t with you in some of the most dire moments. Most of the time actually, it all comes down to you. In the moment, all you have is your voice. Whether it is strong or loud enough to listen to, depends on how much you use it every day in all circumstances. Use it or lose it. Everything you need is already inside of you. Yes, we need others to love and to love us, but we also need to love ourselves. Heed your inner voice. Love yourself enough to listen to what you have to say, and let yourself rely on you. The more you use your voice, the stronger it becomes, and...the stronger you become.