Exercise hasn’t always been a priority in my life. There was a time when it wasn’t even on my radar but I wanted that to change. We moved to a house in Edina with a larger lawn and I took on mowing as a way to get in a bit of physical activity. Plus, I love the instant gratification of the process.
Eventually, I realized that I wanted to be more intentional about exercise. For it to become a part of each day, week, month and year… to become a part of my life. When a new gym opened nearby, I jumped at the opportunity and haven’t looked back. Despite not knowing anyone, I showed up and gave it a try. It was hard and I hurt. But I kept going back and eventually fought through the hurt to attend daily and truly get a taste for the culture of the gym. At the end of my 30-day trial, I committed for another year. This gym wasn’t just a place to get active and push my body, but a community of like-minded people who wanted to better themselves in the company of other women who felt the same. Ultimately, I’ve found a place that allowed me to push myself outside my comfort zone and get stronger without the constant comparison and feelings of competition that often exist. I’ve surrounded myself with a community that creates accountability and offers support.
We’ve all heard the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Yet it is an easy trap to fall into and an incredibly unhealthy place to spend your time. And we are all guilty of it – whether it’s a comparison of looks, abilities, haves or have nots, comparison only serves to drain our energy and our motivation. It’s hard to move forward when you keep looking back and all around.
For me and many others, community is the key to making a commitment, making progress and making yourself a priority. Community offers three elements that keep me engaged, pushing myself and trying new things: 1) accountability, 2) support and 3) positivity.
Accountability Inside & Outside the Gym
When setting goals, it’s important to know yourself. I am not someone who can work out at home. I come up with a million excuses and I don’t push myself in the same way. I love the accountability of a gym and fitness community. I want to work out with people who I look forward to seeing each day. People who push me to lift heavier or try something new. And people who continuously inspire me to do more and better.
Whatever accountability looks like for you, find it and use it to your advantage. When you understand your motivations, you can get yourself to show up even when you don’t want to. I understand that life is busy. As a business owner and mom of three, I can’t always prioritize the gym but more often than not, I show up. It’s a habit. And on the days when I can go but don’t want to go, my kids are often so excited about seeing friends at the gym daycare, that they insist we get there. If that’s not accountability, I don’t know what is.
The best part of a community is the support that is gained through that community. What I love about my gym – the trainer support and the community of (mostly) women pushing me. Some days are hard and the mere act of getting to the gym is an accomplishment, but then you are surrounded by a community of people who truly care. And that makes all the difference. You are reminded about why you are a member of this community and what you value most. People who are there for those who matter in their life. I love being a part of a community where I am supported and in turn, have the opportunity to support others. Life looks different for everyone but being there to support one another is what matters. Just today, someone announced the birth of a beautiful baby girl and the number of comments on social media speaks volumes about the community’s excitement and support of this significant milestone. That is definitely a community I can get behind and even more, I love the example it sets for my three daughters. You can be strong, smart, brave, kind and… a mom!
One of the greatest things to come from finding a fitness community is the positivity that community brings to my life – both inside the gym and out. Life is often about perspective and looking at everything with a bit of positivity makes even the hard moments more manageable. I’m inspired by people who always have a smile and hug. I love support others who might need a word of encourage here and there. And I value staff who keep the place running, while also living out the values this fitness community encompasses.
Finding success in life, no matter what the goal, is often about priorities and perspective. When we take a break from comparison and truly consider how we can best support our goals, no matter what they are, community is often a key component. It might be a community at work that allows you to identify new ideas and bring them to life. Or it might be a community of new moms that allows you to feel less alone as you embrace motherhood. Or it might be a group of like-mind women who understand that strong is the goal. And physical strength often translates to other areas of life. So, the next time you consider getting caught up in the trap of comparison, consider instead, turning to a community that will push you to be better and be your best. Because comparison brings joy to no one and life is too short to not prioritize joy.