I’m inspired when I witness people willing to help themselves. I was at my local gym recently, doing my usual workout routine. In the gym’s classroom, a group of members toughed it out through a rigorous “burn” class. Some of them have physical issues that challenge them, but they persevere to make themselves and their quality of life better. Other members were exercising in their chosen manner. Nobody had to be there, and they probably could think of a myriad of other things to do instead of coming to a gym. It reminded me of how easy it is to give up, sit down and not bother. No one else is going to pick up that next dumbbell for me or do another 10 minutes of cardio. When I leave the gym, no one else is going to push me to paint a better oil painting or learn how to use a computer program for me. I have to do it or learn it with my own mind and effort. I often have to ask for help but, ultimately, I must meet the challenge.
One member, Austin, told me about his life and his struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle. He retired from one career but took on another job after a period of sedentary living. He knew he had to make a change. His 100-pound weight loss didn’t happen on its own. He worked for it. He hasn’t been perfect, but he gets it that nobody else is going to do it for him. Others have told me their own stories and remind me how hard some people have to work to keep going.
It’s easy to quit. It’s easy to not even make the effort to start. I’m not just talking about exercise but so many other things in life. Maybe it’s a skill you want to learn, a relationship you want to improve, or something about yourself you know has to change. Nobody else should or can do it for you. You have to start by showing up for it. You want to make your health better? Show up the first day, then the next and the next. Lift a dumbbell, strap on the gloves and hit the bag, get on the treadmill. You sacrifice, maybe your favorite food, or you cut back on it and eat something more nutritious instead. You push yourself to take the first step, then another one. You pick up the book, go to the lesson, make a phone call. You start. You fight for it. You do it for you. If you are a better you, you are better for others, too. You can always find help along the way in your life endeavor, but you’re the one who has to make it happen.
Maybe tomorrow you can build on what you did today. Put on the gloves. I bet you can do it.
Karen Sorce is a Canandaigua resident.