If you’ve tried to lose weight, gain muscle, or even train for a competition, you’ve probably been here. “Here” is the point in time when you look at what you’ve accomplished so far and the set backs that you’ve encountered along the way. “Here” has surfaced many times along your journey and you wonder what good all your hard work is doing for you. You look back at where you started and you feel like you just left the gates. Then you look down that endless road where you know your goal awaits and you wonder if you’ll ever get there. This is where many people drop the ball and lose focus on what counts. This is also where enablers prove to you that what you are doing is a waste of time and you might as well be content with your present circumstance. Enablers try diminishing your hopes of succeeding. “Don’t torture yourself, have a fry,” states an enabler. “Why do you want to get up so early just to know that you’re not going to finish first in your race?” questions another enabler.
I’ve been there so many times as a youth. Growing up as a minority in a town full of prejudice and hate, it was hard for me to stay motivated to pursue my goals. Lacking a role model and having people tell me that I couldn’t succeed made my road difficult. I fought every second to overcome those oppositions and prove to myself that I was going to reach my goals. Many times in my life, “here’s” became rest stops and I questioned whether I should just give up and face the fact that I wasn’t cut out for this journey.
I will never forget the day when I was in the doctor’s office as a young child. Hearing the doctor tell my mother and me that I was overweight while showing us where I placed on the graph seemed to knock me back a few miles. I wondered why this was happening to me. I was always active throughout my childhood; how could I have gained so much weight to put me twenty pounds overweight? I then remembered all the fast food joints my mom had visited, and the day long binges on chips and freshly made desserts. Two of my close friends were not the leanest of kids either. When I met the brother of one, I wondered how anyone could be that big. They told me that we were kids and we’d grow out of that stage. No one ever told me that I was perfect the way I was back then. Instead I experienced the reverse effect. People picked on me, causing me to come to a complete stop. My motivation to move forward had ceased and I had only begun my journey. I figured I would just stay how I was and live with it. It wasn’t until one person’s comment that really changed my life for the better.
It was nearing Christmas one cold December morning and I had managed to be pretty pudgy for my height. I was looking at myself in my bathroom mirror just to check how round I had become. Then my brother came in to use the bathroom. He asked what I was doing and I didn’t say anything. Then he unleashed a life changing comment that I would always look back and for him thank. He laughed and I asked what was so funny. He pointed at my shirtless body and said, “this year, you can be Santa and his little elf.” Then walked out laughing, never to let that one down. That was how an enabler became a motivator. The next day I put on a pair of sweatpants, two long sleeve tees and a hooded sweatshirt and stepped into the thirty degree air. I was tired of being the short, fat kid and took my first step into a new direction. I ran up my street to the top of the hill as fast as I could in hopes that I would be able to run around the block. I got to the top and gasped for air. The freezing moisture knocked the wind out of my lungs and I walked back down from which I came and back into my house to warm up. However, I was determined to run everyday from that day on. Eventually, after a month of running a little farther each day, I was up to 5 miles a day and I started doing push ups and sit ups. I also made sure I wasn’t stuffing down french fries and cupcakes every week. In the end, I was back down to a healthy weight, with a six-pack and definition in my body to turn the tables around. I remember a hot summer day a year later when I was walking around the house with my shirt off and my brother walked by. “Wish you could have these,” I said as I pointed to my abs and flexed my chest. We laughed, but I knew that I wouldn’t have been as healthy had it not been for my brother’s inadvertent help.
To this day, I look back at that period of my life when the motivation had diminished. My enabler didn’t keep me from accomplishing my goal. My brother turned out to be a motivator. However, there are many more enablers out there trying to stop you. If you want to succeed, you must find that willpower to continue. Turn enablers into motivators by showing them that you will not stop. Make that decision to keep going and don’t ever lose hope. Even when the road never seems to end, know that no one ever finished anything by going backwards.