I went back to the gym for the first time yesterday since my injury that has sidelined me for three months. In fact, the entire time I’ve been working on getting this Choosing To Be Fit website ready, I’ve been in and out of pain and treatment for a sciatic nerve injury.
Before the injury I was in great shape, feeling strong and invulnerable. And then in the blink of an eye I was lying on my couch with an ice pack, frozen in pain. I was committed to getting this website up so I’ve persevered, but I must admit I felt a bit of a fraud writing about fitness as I was losing mine due to such a long period of inactivity.
So yesterday was Start Over time, and I found myself dreading going back to the gym. I had already, supposedly, dealt with the fear of re-injuring myself and I was planning to take it slow, but I just kept coming up with one more thing to do before I put on my shoes to go to the gym.
I decided to meditate for a while – and within a few minutes I started crying. And then I knew what I was feeling. I was angry that I had to Start Over, and I hated the idea of going to the gym looking like a schlub (Yiddish word for useless oaf) instead of the trim, energetic, feeling-good-about-myself person I had been three months earlier.
Wow, I have certainly been here before. In fact I have been here many times in my life. So why doesn’t it get any easier?
I think perhaps it’s because I am still slightly infected with the “perfection” virus – the one instilled in me in childhood. If I’m not perfect, I will be ridiculed. People will judge me. I really thought I had a handle on this damn perfection thing, but there is something about all those mirrors at the gym that brings it out in me.
I sat and thought about what I could do to help myself, and I remembered seeing this really funny picture of a guy who had a great attitude in spades. I found the picture on my computer and sat looking at it for a few minutes. An old favorite song from the Pointer Sisters came into my head:
I’m feelin’ good from my head to my shoes
Know where I’m goin’ and I know what to do
I tidied up my point of view
I got a new attitude
So I put on my shoes, got in the car, and drove to the gym. I was there to Start Over and proud of it. And they were really happy to see me – because, as one woman said, they liked my attitude . . .
Question for you: Perfectionism may not be your thing, but is there something else that gets in your way when Getting Started or Starting Over? Can you identify what it is? What do you do about it?