You Can't Quit Until You Try

By Dave DiFabio

We are about to enter the 3rd week of January.  If you are a “regular” at the local fitness facility you may have noticed the surge of new patrons crowding “your” space last week.  By Monday these people may already be gone. To the “regulars” I say, “I hope you took the time to encourage a “newbie” to keep at it, and congrats on keeping your own momentum.”

If you are a “newbie” that has already quit on your fitness resolution, or hasn’t even tried yet (remember you can’t quit until you try) this article is for you.

The idea of setting resolutions weighs heavily on people’s minds in December.  The peculiar thing is something happens to those heavy thoughts once Jan 1st passes by.  Now guilt starts to weigh heavily if the treadmill is still being used as a clothes hanger, or if yesterday’s skipped workout turns into today’s and tomorrow’s skipped workouts.  Not to mention the thoughts that race through your mind when you compact the calories not burned with the calories you shouldn’t have eaten.

And it gets worse. The more you think about it, the guiltier you feel.  You start to beat yourself up.  In your mind you are digging a hole you can’t climb out of, until it looks like the Grand Canyon.  By this point any motivation you might have had is gone.  You think, “I’ll never be able to climb out of this so why even bother trying.”  Now, the lack of motivation has evolved into anxiety, depression and even intimidation. I KNOW BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN THERE.

I know what you are thinking.  “This guy is a trainer?”  “Isn’t it his job to inspire?”  “Then why did he just make me feel so bad?”

I’m sorry if that’s what I did. That is not my intention. My intention is to purposely point to the pink elephant in the room.  The pink elephant is negative self-talk.  We all do it.  We all know it’s there and it’s bad, but we still do it.  Why?  Because we still have to train our brains on a consistent basis to not do it.  It takes practice.  It takes repetition, frequent repetition.  It takes consistent effort, just like training your body.  If you want results, you have to do your repetitions. Even the best athletes in the world have negative thoughts which, is why so many of them spend as much time, if not more, training their brain as they do their body.

A quitter thinks, “I will never have enough time to do all the work I need to do, for the results that I want”.

A winner thinks, “I can’t be expected to do all of the work, all at once.  I will just focus on taking one step at a time.  Every journey begins and ends the same way, with a single step.”

A quitter thinks, “I don’t even know where to start.  If I do start, will it work?  What if I make a mistake?”

A winner thinks, “I don’t know where to start yet.  I know other people that are good at this and I will learn how they learned.  Mistakes will happen.  I can’t control that. I just won’t repeat the same mistake.”

A quitter thinks, “I’m sore, this sucks, I quit!”

A winner thinks, “I’m sore, this sucks, I will get better, the soreness will go away, and I will start to feel great because of it!”

A quitter thinks, “I don’t want to get all sweaty and smelly.”

A winner thinks, “There’s gotta be a shower somewhere in this place.”

A quitter thinks, “I feel like everyone in the gym is watching me.”

A winner thinks, ”I’ll get some advice so that I know what I’m doing, so I can be confident, so I don’t care if people are watching me…hey, wait a second, I just got distracted…did that guy over there actually lift up his shirt, check out his abs, make a duck face, and use the mirror to take a selfie?...and he did it in between sets of bicep curls in the squat rack?...ok I just learned what not to do!”

A quitter thinks, “All of my friends have quit.”

A winner thinks, “I need new friends.  I need to hang with a crowd that won’t rain on my parade.”

Anyway, I think that’s enough riffing.  I hope you enjoyed it.  I believe that once you acknowledge the pink elephant you can actually do something about it and thrive in spite of it.

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Dave DiFabio MA, CSCS, USAW

Owner/Strength & Conditioning Coach
Team Speed Fitness LLC

National Accounts Manager – Team Sports
Polar USA