It has now been more than 1 month since I’ve updated this site. My apologies for the inconsistency. I do love writing, sharing, and discussing on Physical Living, but it takes a back seat when other life priorities take over. I’m going to try and change that over the next several weeks and months which have a new theme for my life: CHANGE.
For those who don’t yet know, my wife and I are expecting our first child this summer – a son. Conversations have shifted, people are full of advice and encouragement, and I have an ever-growing mass of baby items stealthily infiltrating my home. They do seem to be appearing at random, but I’m pretty sure my wife is running night-ops to secure their arrival in our armory/living room in time for Mission Siffer-baby. Amidst all the newness of this experience, there is one thing I’ve realized that every parent has in common – the acceptance of change. Just about everyone we talk to who has a word of advice says that life will never be the same again. Some are very positive about the changes they’ve experienced, and others are not, but EVERYONE says that life is going to change big time. Regardless, it’s true that everything is already changing in our lives even before the baby is born.
I think a major contributor to success in general is the acceptance of change and not just that, but actually leveraging changes in your life to help you reach your goals.
In our society, it’s not uncommon to hear about how a new addition to a family can be an inconvenience, which I think is a ludicrous idea for many reasons that I won’t get into here. The point is that some people only see the negative side of things. They look at the work involved, the late nights, the extra financial commitment, the lack of sleep, the crying, the diapers, and all the doctor appointments.
Call me crazy, but I don’t see it like that at all (at least, not yet – my tune may change after I’ve got a few diapers under my belt, hehe). Ever since I’ve known I’m going to be a father, I’ve felt that this will be one of the most liberating experiences I’ll ever have. Yes, I know liberating is not a term usually associated with raising a family. In fact, most people consider family life downright confining. But for me, the realization that I’m fully responsible for a human life is mind-blowing and inspiring. I am so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been graced with.
One way to demonstrate the liberation possible from a new life is looking at your mindset about the whole situation. My daily thoughts have totally changed and I’m asking myself very new questions from day-to-day. One question that I keep asking myself is:
What kind of father do I want to be for my children?
Asking and answering that question can be life-changing. You can hit the motivation jackpot with that question or one similar to it. The magic and mystery in questions like this is that it puts yourself into the future, looking back on your life. It lets you experience the moment of your success or failure. You can think and speak as if it has already happened, and it lets you FEEL what it’s like. Feeling something that you’re passionate about can be both liberating and inspiring.
The reality of my situation is that there is a baby boy coming into this world whom I will be responsible for raising. That boy may become a man and have a family of his own and make an impact on this world. For me, this is one of the greatest gifts I could ever be given – not just because I get to experience it, but also because I now have a powerful reason why I need to continue working towards the goals I have for myself and my family this year. I want to be a good father, and I’m leveraging that desire to help me move forward as I take action on my goals.
Desire is a key element in the success of any endeavor. It’s not enough to have a goal and a plan to achieve it. You need a personal reason why you absolutely must achieve that goal. Desire leads to the daily actions necessary to reach your goals.
In a similar vein, if you don’t have any desire in your life, then you may be trying to meet expectations other than your own.
If you’re not willing to do something, if you don’t desire to do something, then the only way you’re going to do it is by sheer willpower. In my experience, willpower works for a little while, but doesn’t last forever. It’s too easy to get tired and burnt out when you’re living your life on willpower alone.
What usually happens is that something CHANGES your circumstances (like having a baby), and that’s exactly when willpower doesn’t hold you through anymore.
You have to run an unexpected errand, and can’t make it to the gym.
You look in the fridge and there’s nothing to eat, so you order takeout.
You forgot your gym bag so you can’t workout.
When these situations arise – and they always do – willpower often isn’t enough to make the hard, right choice. When you’re running on fumes of willpower and something like this happens, that’s when you give up or skip out. A diet or workout program can be completely neglected and forgotten when a major life change takes place simply because there was no desire to begin with. But when you have a strong desire to achieve your goals, when you have personal reasons why you must take daily action, and when you can’t imagine life any other way, that’s when you will start leveraging life changes every single day. You’ll find a way to make things happen because you want so badly to see it through. You will stop at nothing to achieve your goals!
When you adopt this mindset of seeing changes as opportunities, making what one person perceives as disaster into something liberating and inspiring, you’ll see the world in a whole different way. Instead of viewing challenges in life as merely a conduit of hardship or bad luck, you can take joy when confronted with a struggle because you know the rewards that lie within and ahead.
We will always be faced with changes. Life will keep throwing curve balls. There will always be circumstances that make quitting look acceptable. When I’m faced with the temptation to quit, I’m often reminded of a quote by Marcus Aurelius: “Death smiles at us all, but all a man can do is smile back.”
I encourage you to apply a similar attitude to quitting. When tempted to quit, smile and keep going just to spite the thought of it.
Look at the world around us. There’s a reason to do better. There’s a reason to live your life to the fullest. If an unborn child can inspire so much, imagine what the rest of this awesome world could become if enough people pursued their dreams with unquenchable, passionate desire. Start seeing through your changing circumstances today and turn disaster into opportunity. Find a reason why you absolutely must succeed.
CST, CST-KS, NSCA-CPT