Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.
There are some moments in your life when the curtains behind your eyes are drawn and you are forced to accept the awful truth that is unveiled.
For me, last night was one of those moments.
As I laid on the floor of my bedroom listening to the remaining minutes left on the “8 Minutes Abs” YouTube video I had attempted to complete, I slowly came to grips with the horrible secret I had been hiding from myself.
Defeated, tired and somewhat nauseous, it was at that moment it became clear that one of my worst nightmares had become a reality: I was out of shape.
Now, this might not seem like any sort of major dilemma, but let me add some background context that can add weight to the severity of this issue.
At the start of each new year, I make a resolution for myself to finally take the necessary steps to get in shape, and, by the following December, I am forced to accept that no apparent changes have been made.
To make matters worse, the periods of time I decide to try and get in shape always end up becoming expensive and time-consuming points in my life.
I do things like buy the latest model of running shoes, only to end up using them twice and later deciding they’d be better suited as casual tennis shoes to wear when going out.
I’ll spend unheard of amounts of money on health foods at the grocery store, only to realize I have no clue how to cook and am left eating raw vegetables for my meals throughout the day.
And, most depressing, I’ll create things like “workout charts,” marking the number of days in a row I engaged in some sort of exercise, only to realize the tallies always come to an abrupt end.
Although these half-hearted attempts serve as a constant reminder of how little I truly know about the fitness world, the periods of time I spend trying to get in shape always seem to be some of my happiest times.
In each of our daily lives, we constantly are bombarded with advertisements and other unknown pressures that somehow force us to seek out the imperfections we feel about ourselves.
Whether it’s the idea of attaining the “perfect body” through random secrets found using a Google search, to buying a certain kind of toothpaste guaranteed to whiten your smile, these factors can eventually take a toll on the way we feel about ourselves. Even more, they make us, at times, wish there were simple ways we could fix the things we see wrong with the person staring back at us in the mirror.
It often feels like avoiding these stereotypes for perfection is impossible, instead of caving in and allowing these unrealistic ideas to have an effect, I think everyone would be much happier if they spent more time trying to find ways to make changes in their life that might actually make them happy.
Although I slowly am coming to grips with the fact the fifty push-ups I do each week are not going to have the long-lasting effect I desire, and the realization that my modeling career won’t be taking off any time soon, the idea of actively taking time out of my day to search for new ways to try to make myself healthier is something I always look forward to.
Instead of wasting time hung up on the other things that might cause stress in our lives, which consequently always seem to feel like things that are completely outside our control, setting small personal goals to work toward can be one of the simplest ways to stay positive about yourself.
Whether it’s working out, breaking an old habit or trying something new, taking time out of your schedule to focus on the things that make you happy should hold a special part in your day.
Although it is impossible to avoid all the pressures that constantly surround us, spending more time focused on the things that bring you joy is an easy way to lighten the load.
So the next time you find yourself laying on your bedroom floor listening to the last remaining minutes of the ‘80s workout you found online, don’t fret.
I’m right there with ya.
Greg Olsen is the opinion writer at The State News and a professional writing senior. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.