As a native born Kenyan, a question that frequently eluded my upbringing was simply, “aren’t you supposed to be a phenomenal runner?” This is of course in reference to the rich history of Kenyan marathoners who never fail to disappoint when it comes to showcasing their consistent ability to win and win big. In response to this question, I have often found myself responding with a clever, “every champion needs a fan, I happen to be just that.” Honestly speaking however, this has become much more than a clever response, it became my excuse. I somehow came to the conclusion that in regards to my physical fitness, I was meant to simply be nothing more than a bystander, a “fan.”

Many of our goals, resolutions, and ambitions are at times erased by our self-doubts and excuses. “I definitely can’t do that because of__________,” or “I can’t compare with how ____________ does that.” These along with many other questions like them lead to a lack of action. A brilliant quote that I have come to embrace by Helen Hayes states, that the expert in anything was once a beginner.” This quote led me to start shifting my perspective when it came to my responsibility to my physical fitness and health. If I wanted to become a healthier version of myself, and achieve the dreams of fitness that had only hovered in my mind, I would simply have to B.E.G.I.N.

I know that there may be some reading this who can relate with the struggle of attempting to pursue a life of fitness and healthful living. Yet after repeatedly starting various photo_7872_20081111programs where you’re motivated and ambitious at the beginning of the journey, something changes along the way. Maybe you’re short on time with numerous work and family commitments begging for your attention, or intimidated by how far along in the fitness journey many of those exercising around you already are. Regardless of the reason, somewhere along the way your efforts start to decline until you found yourself right back where you had been before your lifestyle change. I have been in the same boat with you for many years and it took these next five tips to B.E.G.I.N. my journey down a path of success.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: Beginning with the intention to succeed is both the toughest and best part of the process. It is when you decide and accept that you are worth it, that the transformation begins. The only individual that you should compete against, is yourself.

END IN MIND: Envision yourself having already accomplished your goal of starting and succeeding. I was listening to a podcast recently entitled Life Habits Mentoring with Karel Vredenburg. In the first episode he stated that with planning goals, rather than saying, “I plan to do this…,” look at those goals with the end in mind. His recommendation was that you physically write down your goals as if you had already reached the end of the year, reflecting on your accomplishments.“Write that you have accomplished this, this year, you’ve carried (your goal) out in this, and this way.” This perspective completely changed my outlook in regards to my personal goals, with fitness being at the very top of that list. I would encourage you to physically write down your accomplishments at the end of 3, 6, 9 or 12 months as if you have already accomplished them!

GET A PARTNER: Accountability is everything. Believe me when I say that there are many days when I would much rather crawl back in bed and watch a Lakers game, or an Empire episode. My workout partner however makes sure that especially on those days, I still make it to the gym. It sometimes feels like I’m being dragged against my will at times but I am more than grateful for those pushes after every such workout. So find someone that can and will push you!

INVESTMENT: Set goals and reward yourself when you accomplish those goals, because this is an investment not only in yourself and your future, but an investment in those whom you love. There is nothing more rewarding than knowing that you’re decision to take hold of your life will not only inspire those closest to you, but will also encourage them to take control of their own health if they have not done so already.

NEW GOALS: Once you’ve accomplished your set goals congratulate yourself, you deserve it! But remember, you’re not done. Just when you feel as though you have arrived at your goals and maintained consistency in what was once simply an aspiration, it becomes time to launch once again and make new goals. Don’t settle just for the comfortable goals that appear to be within reach. Reach far beyond your comfort zone, beyond the horizon and surprise yourself and the world. Don’t be afraid of failure, because true failure can only come through doing nothing at all. Each day decide to compete with only yourself, and no one else.

This amazing life is full of numerous options to begin and take hold of things that we ourselves never dreamed of, or felt we could attain. Don’t be afraid of stumbling blocks along the way, keep moving. I still have challenging days where I find myself feeling as though I am backsliding. However, through the B.E.G.I.N. stages I am reminded to continue pushing and fighting harder. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll find myself not simply on the cheering end of a marathon, but in it.

Thank You For Your Time!

My success and inspiration has come from the guidance of Greg Todd and the Smart Success Physical Therapy course! If you are a Physical Therapist or future Physical Therapist interested in leveling up, I would highly recommend being a part of the Smart Success Season 4! It has changed my life!
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Editors: Eliana Iller, Casey Coleman, Matt Hodgens

Joses Ngugi, SPT      img_1301


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