‘If you are born poor it is not your mistake, but if you die poor it is your mistake.’ - Bill Gates
What Bill Gates says here is not only true of finances and careers but also of health and fitness.
It may not be your fault that as a child and through your teenage years you were given and encouraged to eat too much food, not taught about health, fitness and nutrition or in some cases not given enough. This is a tough one to write as I will not be able to fully understand and will hopefully never have to understand how difficult this is but it may not be your fault that you have a disability.
BUT it is your responsibility to do something about it, no matter your situation it is your responsibility. As I said linking this to disability is tough to write about as I am not in that position but taking ownership of your situation is likely to help make your life that 1% and that 1% can be a huge different in your life. Please take a look at the fantastic Paralympians they took ownership, they took responsibility to make their lives at least 1% better. I am sure there are some cases where this will not be the case, but for those who can take care and responsibility for themselves it is.
I hope that this doesn’t come across distasteful or rude. I truly believe if we are capable of taking responsibility for our thoughts and actions then we can take ownership of ourselves.
For those who were brought in a family that didn’t provide you with education on health, nutrition and fitness. The likelihood is your parents are/were overweight, unfit and uneducated in these areas so what could they teach you? They never took responsibility to learn, they may give the excuse of ‘we didn’t have the information back then.’ The likelihood is they never went looking for it anyway, or didn’t critically think about what they were told. Yes information has got a lot better and become more available but there were fit and in shape people alongside unfit and overweight people back then just like there is today.
At a young age that is not your fault, you emulate your parents, they are your role models, you become scripted in their thoughts and actions. However the fact still remains at some point in your life you become an adult, something you pine for as a teenager, to be treated like an adult. Yet when it rolls around and you realise that you have this thing called responsibility, for yourself, things start to get a little scary and we wish we were kids again.
That is the key part. The moment you become an adult, the moment you realise that part of that is responsibility is the moment you will either grasp it with both hands and do something about it or you will hide from it, play the victim and the blame game.
Paraphrasing Bill here - It may not be your fault that you grew up overweight and unfit, but it is certainly your fault if you die (because of it) overweight and unfit.
It may not be your fault, but it is your responsibility. TAKING OWNERSHIP.
Own where you currently are, hold your hand up and say that you are overweight because of the thoughts and actions YOU take. Own that you are unfit because of YOUR thoughts and actions. The moment you take ownership is the moment you become responsible and when that happens it enables you to do something about it. Those who do not take ownership will never get the results they wish for because they will always play the blame game, they will always be the victim.
Those that are fit, healthy and in shape are so because they took responsibility to be that way. They may have had an upbringing based around sports, healthy living and be educated in nutrition but when they became an adult they still took responsibility to continue on that path. They could have just as easily gone the other way and sometimes this is the case.
Or those that have been successful in their health and fitness could have been in a similar situation to those who didn’t have everything they needed, but guess what they took ownership and did something about it. Some of you may be in this process as your read this. Keep going, don’t stop.
So it’s all well and good telling you to take ownership but what do you do next? Well first of all I am going to repeat myself. Take ownership. I am saying it twice because you have to genuinely mean it and believe it. Don’t just say that you take ownership. Take time to realise some of the reasons or shuns of responsibility you normally take and question them. Recognise where you may pay the victim and challenge the behaviour.
The second thing that you need to do is identify what needs to change. If you are overweight and unfit then it isn’t just a case of getting fit and losing body fat. Yes that is clearly what needs to happen, but a few things need to be implemented for that to happen. You need to educate yourself. Forever be a student of health, fitness and nutrition. Go and learn as much as you can or get a coach that will teach you everything you need and continue to teach you beyond that to give you greater knowledge in the subjects. If your coach is instructing you but not teaching, get a new coach. You need to learn and be guided not told ‘do this do that’.
The short way to say this is firstly acknowledge that something needs to change. Secondly gain knowledge on how to change and thirdly apply said changes.
Recognise > Learn > Apply
Recognise. To recognise areas of your life that need to change is that first part,taking ownership. Swallowing that bitter pill and allowing yourself to become truly self aware. This first step is often challenging but once you open the flood gates it starts to flow and it all comes rushing through. To be honest you often know what needs to change but you haven’t allowed yourself to take responsibility and that is what holds people back.
Learn. Either going to find out for yourself, an underrated skill that we all possess but often don’t bother using, our ingenuity. Or take control of the situation admitting you need help and go and find it. You have three choices teach yourself, get taught or both. Personally I recommend both because you get taught the correct knowledge from your wonderful coach but you also invest yourself not just your money into the process by doing your own homework.
Application. This can often be a difficult part of the process. If you have done the first two steps and gained knowledge about what needs to change the last step is having the desire and patients to apply it to your life. You may mess up from time to time, but if you persist the habit is likely to stick. This is also the point at which you then have to repeat the process. If you are struggling to apply what you have learnt go through the process of identifying why wont it stick, what do I need to do to become better at applying knowledge.
This then becomes about more than health and fitness but about your character and mindset. What is it about you that stops you from applying what you have learnt? What can you learn about applying knowledge and implementing habits? Go and apply what you have learnt about application.
The third point is to run this process for the rest of your life. Recognise what isn’t quite right, learn how to correct it or make it better and then apply that to your life. This process never stops, there is always something we can look to improve. Initially these things are large life changing habits but further down the line these become nit picks and slight tweaks, but every little helps. I don’t shop at Tesco… Lidl all the way!