How Do you Define Yourself?
Think about that for a moment. I am …
You fill in the blank. What did you come up with? Maybe even write it out. Be honest; maybe not all the things that come to mind are good things, we tend to be harder on ourselves than anyone else.
Here is a list from my past: I am: smart, impatient, hardworking, intimidating to others, adventurous, a procrastinator, etc.
When this was my list, I was doing very well in the school and work part of my life but I was very frustrated with the relationship part of my life. I really wanted to be in a relationship, but couldn’t seem to make that happen. At the time I was very impatient about it and thought I must be intimidating to guys because I couldn’t seem to get them to stick around. What I later found out was I had a limiting belief (a belief you have that holds you back) in this area and I was also looking for the wrong kind of man.
Anyways… what you can see from this list is there are some positive things and some negative things. Yours probably has that as well. What’s interesting about this list is at this time, I didn’t think of myself as a person that was athletic or a person that exercises. I would compare myself to my friends and think I wasn’t athletic, why? Because I didn’t like to do the same exercise that they liked to do. I wasn’t a runner, or a climber, I didn’t enjoy going to the gym to lift weights, so part of my identity was thinking I wasn’t athletic. Therefore, I didn’t exercise on a regular basis because I thought, I don’t like those things, so I won’t like exercising.
Was My Definition Accurate?
This is all a bit silly, because if you know me, you may know that I love to water ski, and wakeboard, and downhill ski and snowboard. I really enjoy swimming, I love to dance, I like to walk my dog, I did gymnastics for years and I also did diving and tennis. These just weren’t the things that people talked about all the time so I thought hmmm, I’m not athletic. I would tell my mom that, and she would say, “Ali, you are athletic, you just like to do different things.”
From this list of activities I enjoy, you may see that it could be difficult to do many of these things on a consistent basis for exercise. One day I decided to try yoga, and I found there was something I could do on a consistent basis that I love! To me, yoga feels like a blend of dance, gymnastics, and a peaceful environment with a great community. To read about more of my adventure with yoga, check out my previous blog post, Why Yoga.
How My Definition Changed
I found that I could do yoga consistently, and sprinkle in the other things I enjoy when they are available, i.e. dance, tennis, walking my dog, swimming, wakeboarding, and suddenly my definition of myself changed. I now thought of myself as a person that exercises and that is athletic.
While that may seem like a subtle shift that doesn’t make much of a difference, it is in fact a HUGE shift. If you think, I SHOULD work out 5 times/week… how often does that happen? Have you ever noticed the things you think you should do, don’t actually occur all that often?
On the other hand, if you think of yourself as a person that is healthy or a person that is athletic or a person that exercises, you are MUCH more likely to exercise often, than if you think I should work out x times/week. Same goes for if you think of yourself as a person that eats healthy versus thinking I should eat healthier or eat less sugar or less carbs etc.
I have found ever since I have thought of myself as a person that eats healthy food, I find it WAY EASIER to say no to things that are not healthy. When I get presented with an unhealthy choice, or see it, I automatically think, “I’m not a person that eats that kind of thing.” Of course, sometimes I do eat unhealthy things, but I find that I only want to eat a few bites and then I’m usually done. Instead of having to eat a whole piece of cake for example, I can eat a few bites and set it aside.
Take some time to think about what kind of person you are, and how you define yourself because it makes a big difference!