Is distance between who we are and who we want to be just a little too far?
So I am at the gym. I'm currently watching a large number of sweaty people running on the path that never ends. There happens to be a great view of the treadmill from the cafe… at the gym. So how come I'm in the cafe ? Just signing up to the gym was my first small step. Actually doing some exercise is another story. Making a permanent lifestyle change is going to take more than a monthly direct debit.
Feel the Burn
Change requires that you push yourself to do something outside your comfort zone. That creates a gap between who you believe you are and what you do. In my case I have a certain belief about who I am. I don't go to the gym. Therefore actually getting on the treadmill is painful in more than just a 'healthy burn' kind of way. That's just not 'who I am'. I feel ridiculous. Ridiculous enough that I'm sitting in the cafe at the gym watching everyone else on the treadmill thinking up excuses. Of course, sometime soon I will actually endure the pain (now that I've published this blog, what choice do I have?). However, getting on once or twice is actually completely different to what I need to do in order to make sure I'm still running long after this post has been archived.
The Real Change
Change at the beginning requires that I endure the painful distance created between who I think I am and what I am doing. However, if I am the 1 in 5 who makes it past the first month, its not because I continue to endure. I will have adjusted my belief so that it is consistent with my actions. I believe that I am someone who goes to the gym. I don't feel stupid on the treadmill anymore. I settle in for the long run (pun intended). I will have created a good habit and my action becomes another part of my self identity. No more pain… at least not the psychological type.
Hidden in this is a really sad problem. As we as women experience lower self-esteem the distance between who we are and who we want to be increases. This makes the initial change so much more painful and, even if a girl can overcome that pain, she has a longer harder climb to make it to a sustainable habit. Not only that, society is promoting changes that often cannot be achieved - run hours on the treadmill and you will never arrive at a 'photoshop' finish.
We need to...
In order to create a lasting change for ourselves and others we need to stop thinking about what we are not and spend some serious time investing in who we are. We need to identify healthy achievable change and appreciate that we are worth that change.
Mahatma Gandhi stated that we should be the change that we wish to see in the world however, here at ReclaimingPink we believe that we have to start by being the change that we wish to see in ourselves.
And with that… I'm getting on the treadmill… hopefully for the long run.
NOTE: In 1957 Leon Festinger called this kind of discomfort 'cognitive dissonance' - where there one's actions do not accord with one's belief. In general most examples of cognitive dissonance involve something negative - attempting to justify robbing a bank with the Robin Hood precedent or continuing to smoke even in the face of the well documented health risks.
More from health