This past weekend my four-year old Son was playing his favorite Wii game. I must say he’s gotten pretty darn good at it and in fact he’s become even better at it than I am. It’s not like I play much, but hey, I feel like I should be able to beat a four-year old. He likes to let me know about it too. “Daddy I’m better than you at this game!” I have been hearing endlessly the last couple of days. I wonder where he gets his competitive drive from?
Anyway, he’s gotten so far into the game that the levels have become very difficult. He was on the second to last level and having a tough time beating it. He was losing early in the stage repeatedly and getting increasingly frustrated. I tried a few times myself, per his request, and got beat quickly – it really was tough. Honestly, I thought there was no way either of us would be able to beat it, but hey, there is no quit in this family!
What came of it all was a bit of an unlikely life lesson and some advice that could be used for many as they try to change their lifestyle for the better. When he started to get down about it he said “It’s too hard Daddy, I’m never going to be able to beat it.” What I told him was that he needed to keep trying. That it was hard now, but if he kept trying he’d get better at it. I told him just think how cool it would be to unlock the next level and see what it would be like!
So he kept playing, and losing, and playing, and losing. “Just keep trying” I had to tell him over and over. He progressively got a little better and a little closer all the time until he finally beat it, and let me tell you I saw one of the biggest smiles of my life. He was so excited he couldn’t even contain himself. It may have only been a video game, but it was pretty cool. He’s still trying to beat the last level, (which is ridiculously tough for the record) but he keeps telling me “I just have to keep trying Daddy, we need to see what happens!” If I can instill that never give up attitude in my Son, I’ll be one happy Father.
Now, just imagine the kind of joy that could come from doing something huge that you thought you could never do? Every day all across the world people end up doing things they never thought possible. They reach these milestones because they don’t give up when things get tough. They keep trying, over and over, even when it seems impossible. They too want to see what their next level looks like. Even if it feels like they are failing along the way, they realize their failures are what make them better and stronger.
This is often how it works with fitness my friends. Especially when starting out, it’s very difficult. It seems like you aren’t cut out for it. It seems like there is no hope for you to ever get yourself in good shape, and you want to quit. I understand the feeling, it’s hard to carry on when something is so difficult. You have all these doubts running through your mind all of the time. You’ve never been able to do it before so why would you all be able to now? You don’t know what you are doing, you don’t know where to start, it can feel very overwhelming. It’s easier to just pack things up and give up. Then you can say you tried, but it didn’t work right?
What if you don’t quit? What if, like the video game, you don’t accept that it’s just too hard and there is no point? Maybe you keep battling and progressively get a little better and a little closer to who you want to be. Even when it seems like progress is too slow, it’s still progress. Soon enough you start getting closer to your goals, or performing things you never thought you could.
You see that’s what gets you really excited. Being proud to be able to say you can do something you didn’t think you could. Well that’s one highly effective fuel to keep that fitness train moving forward. Each little milestone you hit, whether it’s something you were trying to get to or not, is motivation to keep going. To see how much further you can go. To see what’s on the other side of all this hard work. When you find yourself saying “Woah, did I just do that?” That’s one amazing feeling, and you’ll be hooked.
So I implore you all to not give up when things get tough. Fight for what you want and what you desire. Prove to yourself that you can do things you didn’t think you could, and watch it carry over into even bigger and better things in your life during the process. There are wonderful things waiting for you if you can face your fears. I know sometimes it’s tough and you want to quit. Just imagine for a moment though, what could happen if you don’t. It’s time to unlock your next level.