Wednesday, April 12, 2017

From Charles - What's the first step?

Hi Greg. I turn 50 on 10/2/17. I'm a male, 5'8" and weigh 242 lbs. I'm pre-Diabetic; I lost my Thyroid and apparently my metabolism to Cancer. I take a daily Thyroid pill. I appear to have a damaged meniscus right below my knee and I badly want to run, but it hurts when I do. Surgery is a possible option, but the doctor says to see if I can live with it. I take Meloxicant when I have knee pain. I wouldn't mind the knee surgery if I could get back to running, but I'm also on probation status until Oct 30th at work. 
   Now that I'm 50, I want to take my life by the horns and get my body into incredible shape like you have. I'm also divorced and have endured 2 bad depressions and struggle with daily anxiety but I work and stay social. I go to the gym, but not as much as I want to. I'm pretty fatigued most days after work. I'm a teacher. I know I can do better after watching your video. I just need help in getting started. Any help would be greatly appreciated. - Sincerely, Charles


What I've done, I was able to do because I hit a very real and emotional cross-road in my life. It was my mental rock-bottom. Not a romantic "to be or not to be" kind of thing but a very real, "I'm done" if something doesn’t change drastically kind of thing. It was very personal to me and my life experiences - personal to who I am, my model of the world and the rules/belief-system I had created for myself. It’s not something that would make sense or have real meaning to anyone but me.

That being said, the formula is the same for anyone: Get clear and precise vision for what you want in life, down to the most minuscule of detail. Come to a realization that things cannot remain how they are. Be truthful to yourself as to how you got to the place-and-state you’re now in. Begin to figure out who you want to be, how you want to be and when you want it. Clearly define your known obstacles that might keep you from it. Evict the people from your life who don’t support you. Find people to surround yourself with that embody who you want to be.  You have to have a very truthful inner dialog with yourself as to "why" you "must" change, as well as why you haven’t already (What has been stopping you – your inner conflicts). 

I can tell you right now, if the pain or the cost-of-effort for what you want is greater than your purpose and/or the reason "why" you want it, you'll never follow through. You may take the first step, but the burden of effort will eventually stop you in your tracks.

Once you're "very" clear on your destination and what that destination looks like (and means to you), the process by which you get there will begin to reveal itself. The need to get there has to outweigh the pain and cost of the travel. And in the beginning, the time, the effort and cost to get that vision, and to take that first step will always be extremely high. Your vision and purpose has to resonate within you on a deep emotional level (not a logical one), to the very core of your being. It has to be at the same priority as breathing air for you.

Think about what you want. Think about why you want it. Think about what will happen to you if you don't get it. "Write" everything down in as much detail and clarity as you can. The greater the clarity, the more the detail, the higher the probability that you'll make it happen. Think of it like a mathematical law.

Lastly, and most importantly, understand that as you begin this journey, you will fail time and time again. Know it isn't an all or nothing process and failure does not mean defeat. Failure is just a sign to recalibrate your strategy. The more you fail, the better you should get at re-stabilizing yourself and getting your positive momentum back. Your journey will be a very iterative process. 

For some, they see failure as defeat and give up. Those are the people who truly suffer, because they don’t know any better - they have "learned" to lose. Surround yourself with people who don’t quit, no matter what. Find those who are not halted in their actions by fear. Find people who'll support who you want to become. It will rub off on you - I promise.

That is the first step. I hope it helps to at least get your mind calibrated in the right context.

Disclaimer: I always change the personal information and redact certain identifying information for anyone who messages me. I post these conversations to help others who have similar problems and who may benefit from the discussion. If nothing else, people in similar situations will know that they are not alone. My responses are my opinion only. I am giving my opinion because I was asked to.

1 comment:

  1. I am impressed with your well reasoned and supportive post. I think Charles is unsure of how to begin running with his weight and knee problem. I am 5'6", 150 lbs. 1.5 years ago a doctor said I had pretty severe arthritis and offered to replace my knee (amputate) to relieve the pain I had. 1.5 years of yoga has helped remove about 95% of that pain. I too want to start running again. I feel great support and hope from Unger, though he does not know me, but I would add a few ideas.
    Learn about health and advocate for it.
    Learn what can be done to improve you health. Take it very slowly. Do not become an all or nothing kind of person. Once you begin this health journey, it will gain momentum. Do not rush and then be discouraged when you have a setback.

    An reread Unger's response a dozen times. It is filled with wisdom and hope. This is a great time to start. Let's go.