Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if it were lived under different circumstances? Or is this one of those weird things about me? I wonder what I would be like if I had grown up in “the country” instead of the Bronx, or if I had studied forestry instead of Information Technology, or if I had gone to Japan to teach English when I was fresh out of college. I wonder how different I would be. What friends and relationships would have come from that life, or what defining experiences would have shaped my life.
Genetics aside, I feel our environment, and the habits that make up our day-to-day lives, are the molds in which the person we are has formed. It shapes us and influences our assumptions of ourselves and the world around us. In many ways it becomes a sort of boundary that can, if not mindful, limit our personal growth and evolution.
My most transformative moments have come when the status quo of my environment and lifestyle was disturbed, either by circumstance or choice. Initially, it was mostly circumstance – graduating high school and college, battling depression, getting laid off, moving to a new town, buying a house, changes in relationship status… each threw my life into upheaval and it was during my struggles to adapt and survive that I came out transformed. As I matured I learned the value of intentionally shaking life up from time to time – learning Japanese, piano and martial arts, taking an intensive life coach certification course, taking a radical risk shifting my profession a bit. There is something empowering about choosing to embrace risk and change with the intention of furthering who I am. Hence the core methodology behind the work I am slowly doing with YouAreWhoYouCreate.com and my life coaching reflect this idea.
It was with this in mind that I decided to take the next step. I was not happy with my body and lack of motivation to get back into a regular exercise routine. I needed something to thrust me back into a healthy lifestyle and undo the damage the last 1.5 – 2 years of inactivity have wrought. Not only did I want to get back into some form of martial arts, eat healthily, and feel strong and limber, I also wanted to push past the seeming ceiling in my abilities to take me further than I have ever been before. Alas, the lack of motivation made for many false starts and much disappointment.
Then I saw it. An ad on Facebook. I never click ads on Facebook, but for the heck of it, I did this time. It was a free 6-week challenge by the Krav Maga Academy in NYC. I was, as usual, suspicious, but I decided to sign up for the 30-minute introduction to hear what it was all about. It sounded intense – real intense. 3 brutal workouts a week along with Krav Maga classes, a strict meal plan, weekly weigh-ins, and most importantly – constant accountability. In fact, I had to put my money ($599) up for the challenge. You see, the 6-month challenge is “free” if I meet my weight loss goals and stick to the nutrition and training requirements. (For the record, there is an option B that does not require a refundable deposit, but that lacks the accountability and in-person training.)
My first reaction was “screw that, I will take option B), but I had been trying to do self-training with things like Tactfit and Gold Medal Body programs (both excellent and recommended) and I was not keeping to these programs consistently or entirely. I’d start strong (when I actually started) but fizzled mid-way through. No, this called for breaking the current mold of my life and embracing the radical.
And so, knowing there will be many short term regrets along the way and the reality of the intensity hits home, I choose to formally accept the challenge. I chose to break the container of my life that was holding me back from moving forward and meeting – if not surpassing – my fitness objectives.
This blog is about me breaking the mold and claiming my freedom to mold myself into a better me. It won’t always be pretty, and regardless of whether I make it the full 6 weeks, I will walk away from this a changed man.
2021 Update: I was successful in that venture and now explore how to undo some of the damage of being more sedentary during the pandemic. Who will I become in this new world?