Barriers are everywhere! They are a nuisance even if they are there for a reason. They stop you leaving a car park without faffing on having to pay, they stop you sneaking into your favourite places for free (I would assume, not that I have ever done that…… ahem), they stop you from getting close to Tom Hardy at public events! But the worse barriers are those that you put up yourself, in your mind. They stop you realising your full potential, they stop you trying new things, they delay spontaneity, they make you believe you are not worthy of what is on the other side. They are basically a pain in the backside!
Now there are loads of different barriers I could talk about, but as I am all about the healthy lifestyle and exercise I bet you know where I am going with this. Yep, the fact that so many people seem to actually FEAR physical activity. Setting up Red Balloons and it being what it is, I expected it to be a slow burner. The thing is, I believe 100% in what I am offering and I WILL make a difference. Red Balloons WILL be a success. I want to make exercise fun, easily accessible, something that people WANT to do, not just need to do. The benefits far outweigh any negatives.
So, lets look at the barriers that could be affecting people. I am one of these people, I have broke through many to get where I am, but let’s be honest, there will always be another one somewhere along the line. What changes is your ability to believe in how strong you are, the belief that you can smash through this barrier, like the others. Instead of looking and focusing on the problem, you will look for a solution. It is all a form of training your brain to access that confidence and motivation. It is not a quick journey and it sure as hell isn’t easy. I am over 2 years into mine and I still have so much else I need and want to do. They say patience is a virtue, it may well be, but it is a bloody hard skill to learn. Yes, a skill because without it life gets a lot more messy in my experience.
Barriers I have discovered/learnt:
- Thinking your fitness levels aren’t up to scratch
- Social anxiety
- Physical ailments
- Lack of access to facilities
- Thinking that it will be like school (I HATED PE and all I would do is walk or dance like a tool)
There are many more than this, you may have your own and I know you will be aware of them. Some people may call them excuses, to a degree I would sometimes be inclined to agree in certain circumstances but they are your personal battle. No one has the right to belittle them, make you feel bad for thinking like that. No one knows what is going on in your mind or your life. I have learnt and proved that NO ONE knows what is going on behind closed doors. This is why I want to help, support and encourage. Yes these battles may seem completely impossible to win but I am here to say “Yes you can”. We can always find a way.
You don’t have to be a member of a gym or a running club, do you know what? You don’t even have to leave the house! Although I will say, I do strongly encourage even 5 minutes outside somehow for its other benefits, Vitamin D for example. The biggest part of this whole process is finding something that you enjoy. It may be yoga, it may be an aerobic video, it could be dancing round like a loony with the kids (one of my favourite things to do ever!), it could be walking the dog, going for a run or shotting weights around. In regards to gear, you don’t need fancy gym stuff in the house, you don’t need the latest Tikiboo leggings and whatever trainers are advertised as “the best”. Saying that though, I am craving the new Nike Reacts! But what I mean is, look around you and see what you could do. Try squats when waiting for the kettle to boil, lunges (are the devil) during an advert break, step ups on your stairs while the kids are brushing their teeth. All these little things add up and cost nothing, the added bonus, no one will even see you. But you will have that little feeling of, yes, I did that. Every day your confidence will grow a little bit more and something new could be added.
Another tip, what have you always wanted to do? Get back into swimming? Run 5km? Learn to lift weights? Go to a class? Learn a full dance routine to one song? Join a gym? Write it down. Somewhere you can see it pretty much every day. I am a fan of Post It notes for these kind of things as they are shiny and colourful. Having an ultimate goal, no matter how impossible it might seem at that moment in time, can be the ultimate motivation. Try and imagine how you will feel when you smash it. That sense of absolute euphoria, confidence, pride, general amazingness. On your bad days, try and focus on these feelings. The important thing is doing what you want to do, what you will enjoy. You cant do something because someone tells you it is good, or that it helped them, or that it is the newest trend. Enjoyment is key because then it isn’t scary any more, it isn’t a chore. That will be what reaps the biggest results. Trust me, I have been there.
Ok, let’s be honest. We all have bad days. Days where we barely want to open our eyes never mind do anything. What I need to say is, this is ok too. Have a bad day, embrace the bad day, do whatever it is that you need to do to self care. Rest is essential to a healthy lifestyle. I know to those that actually know me, I am being a huge hypocrite right now as I struggle massively with this part of my life, I actually need help to relax. I need people to pretty much force me to stop and even then I cant always enjoy it. My illness forces me to believe that if I stop I wont start again, so I go too far the other way and risk burning myself out. As horrible as it can be, sometimes you have to go in your head and listen to those voices that the louder voices try to continuously swamp. Those small voices are you! The loud voices are whatever issue you may be dealing with. Those loud voices WANT you to fail. They want you to believe you cant do this, that you are not worthy of trying to do something. I am telling you, you are!
The first step isn’t doing the moving or the exercise, or even believing you can. The first step is wanting to. Do you want to be fitter? Do you want to be stronger? Do you want to want to manage your weight and learn more about a healthier lifestyle? If you do, then you have started your journey. Well Done! That is the hard part over. Now, it’s time to start planning. This is where you may need help and support. This is where I, or your family and friends, or your GP or whoever is available in your area come in. I am here to help you believe in yourself, I am here to help shout the message of how exercise is essential for mental well being as much as it is for physical benefits. I am my own walking case study. I am doing this all from my own journey. I know the hard parts, the darkest days, the days where you feel a failure. But I also know the amazing days, where you beat your internal enemies, where the endorphins make you feel superhuman, when you hit a mini target you have set.
So, get that sledgehammer and SMASH that first wall. You CAN do this, you WILL do this and I cant wait to be on this journey with you. I have my cheerleader outfit and pom poms at the ready! Woooo, go you!!