In January 2014 I had dinner with a friend in New York. I was over 120 days into my Fitness First practice and the coldest stretch of winter laid ahead of me. I remember telling my friend:
If I can make it through the winter, I can make it a year.
It was the first time since starting the practice that I had dared to look ahead. It felt daunting, and I immediately pulled my focus back to the “goal” that I had set for myself each day:
Do it again tomorrow.
Today I celebrate 7 years.
What’s Fitness First Really About?
Over the years, I have fielded a range of questions about why I do this and what keeps me going. People asked if I had a specific goal or if I was doing a challenge. Many people have expressed their perceptions of my discipline and willpower.
From the start this was about more than just a “workout.” It was about resisting the pull of email and social media so I could focus first on what was important to me.
It was about saying yes to myself first, filling myself so I could better serve, bringing my best energy to my day.
As we’ve all learned this year, health is fundamental. If we don’t have our health we have nothing. Physical fitness doesn’t just work the body; it also works the mind, emotions, and spirit.
Taking care of myself, and my health, is important, even when it doesn’t feel urgent. And it’s not something I can outsource.
Each day it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, ‘No, this is what’s important.’ — Iain Thomas
Cultivating a Relationship With Myself
Over time I realized that what started as a practice of getting out the door and into the gym eventually became about getting out of my head and into my body.
That’s been especially true during COVID when gyms and yoga studios and communal pools shut down and “getting out the door” became a metaphor.
A big part of this journey has been about cultivating a better relationship with my body, through a practice of daily movement and deep listening.
Underneath it all is a foundation of self-love. Showing up for myself. Saying yes to myself. Investing in myself. Giving myself what I need to show up at my best and do my best work.
Showing up for myself and loving myself requires me to cultivate a relationship with myself.
It requires consistent communication. Each morning I have a conversation with my body, and over time I’ve been learning how to move from being a dictator to being an active listener.
This is a lifelong practice and there’s a long way to go. But the goal remains the same as it ever was:
Do it again tomorrow.