Change, it comes in all shapes an sizes
How long would you dedicate to change your life?
A day, a week, a month, a year? It is, after all, the only life you're getting. So you better be prepared to take what you want while you can, as it may well be the only chance you get.
How about three weeks? Just 21 days, to change the way you live your life. It's not a lot but somehow it might just be enough. Research shows that small changes can become new habits within just 21 days. The bigger the change though, the longer you'll have to dedicate.
But lets start with three weeks to make a small change, that first step. After hurting my foot and having to cancel a trip I sat at home wondering this very question. Did I hurt myself because I had become so out of shape? I looked in the mirror and the stranger on the other side shrugged, jiggling about the extra pounds that had formed over the past few months... Well, self pity wasn't going to do anything for my mood, my figure or my career... In fact, the only one that could fix any of it was me.
Let's skip back a few months... I'd noticed a really positive, upbeat personal trainer on Instagram, started following her and found her lifestyle really inspirational. Her story wasn't too different to mine, but she had fought to make a change. I used to be fit, strong, and outgoing. Used to. And now what was I? I was sat at home on my week off work contemplating how a minor injury was keeping me from a fun vacation. It wasn't good enough. It's my only life and this is what I'm choosing to do with it? Change wasn't just an option, for me it felt like the only option.
Scrolling through Instagram I noticed that this amazing personal trainer was starting a new bootcamp in just a few days, and was open to new clients. Terrified, I watched as my hands swiped on to her profile and typed out an email to her. Possessed by their own desire to be leading a different life, knowing that this was the next thing for me, they pressed send. I make it sound super dramatic, but honestly I never thought I would consider doing something like this, asking for help isn't in my blood.
How much would you pay for a chance at a new life? £50 a month? £20? £10? Let's just say I considered the price for all of two seconds before agreeing to sign up to change my life. Because I think we've all spent way more on a nice pair of shoes than I was paying to hopefully change my life.
Once I'd agreed to sign up for this bootcamp the fear set in. You know fear, it's a creepy gremlin that whispers things like "it'll be terrible" and "you can't do it, you're worthless". But the thing is, fear doesn't know anything. How could it? How could fear know if you're going to suck at something, fail or not see results if you haven't even tried? Fear is a liar, not a fortune teller, and we spend far too much of our lives buying what it's selling.
Bootcamp is essentially four things: the right food, consistent workouts, an accountability group and personal development.
I always considered I ate healthy, I was wrong.
I always thought I worked out "enough", I was wrong.
I always thought holding myself accountable for my actions was enough, I was wrong.
I always thought personal development books were a bunch of crazy nonsense. You guessed it, I was wrong.
Let's skip the boring bit, no one wants to hear me talk about all the baked sweet potatoes I ate or how many chicken breasts one woman can eat in three weeks (a lot). The programme I am following does have a lot of healthy alternatives though, and those have been a life saver. You can still eat brownies and lose weight, I'm proof of that!
The workouts were tough for a week, then they got easier (that's another lie, the workouts didn't change, I just got better and stronger). And finally, in the last week I went from 30 minutes a day (yup, that's all it takes) to two 30 minute workouts a day. And do you know what? I now enjoy the post workout high. 21 days, it's a fascinating challenge.
The biggest part of my journey were not the physical changes, yes I lost a surprising amount of weight, and a lot of inches, but I also had the strongest women supporting me every step of the way. A group of over 30 women going through exactly the same stages as me, for some this was also their first bootcamp, others had been doing it for years. Each and every one of us supported one another throughout the journey. And I learned that when women stop judging each other and instead lift each other up, it can make wonderful bonds.
I discovered that we all go through life with such similar issues, hangups and setbacks. The same pains, anxieties and energy sucking days. But when 30 women tell you that you are doing great, that you are amazing and strong... well, personally I did not want to let a single one of them down. And when one had an amazing day it gave me strength to also make mine amazing, and when one was down I found the energy to help lift them up.
Personal development. Now, for anyone who knows me... well, who knows the old me. The one that walked around being cynical and condemning anyone who dared try and cracking self deprecating jokes. That me, she would never pick up a book called "You are a badass" and read it for any other purpose than to mock it. Nope, that me would never be caught listening to someone give her life advice. I mean, I've managed 31 years and I'm still here, what could anyone help me with?
Well, a lot actually. And it didn't take long for that wall of arrogance, ignorance, self hatred and lack of confidence to fall down. You can spend your whole life putting yourself down, I know I have, but then you can't ask why you're on the floor. I've said it before, it still remains the most true fact I've ever learnt. You listen to your own voice all day every day. If like me your voice is saying some pretty nasty stuff to you about you, then you need to pick up a personal development book. You just do. You're the only you there will ever be, and that's an amazing thing.
Thinking the way I had for 31 years brought me no real long term happiness. It didn't get me the body I wanted, the job I wanted, the relationship I wanted... I could go on, but you get the gist. Living life my way wasn't working out for me, and I'm glad that I listened to my personal trainer and actually read my first personal development book. Did I agree with everything the author said? Of course not. Some of the things she wrote though, they helped me change my perception of so many things.
|Follow my journey in pictures @karina_lawrence|
So, how much time would you give to feeling different? How about a year? After my 21 days ended I thought I would run straight for a glass of whisky and some ice cream. Instead for the past two days I've still been following my nutrition plan and working out. Not because I have to, because I want to. I also signed up for another bootcamp that starts next Monday and I can't wait to get going.
After 21 days my work has seen improvement, my attitude has completely changed, my family life is probably better than it has been since I was a kid, I'm discussing new career opportunities and I'm planning the life I want. So if you're on the fence, wondering if you can be bothered to give up 21 precious days of your life to live in a different way, please try, I hope that like me you won't regret taking that leap. After 21 days I have decided to dedicate a whole year to change and I can't wait to see all the improvements my life sees.