Friday, September 21, 2007

Day 317: Pain Vs. Regret - A Simple Mindset Shift That Transformed My Life


The picture slide above is from July 22, 2003 (the lowest point of my life) and March 24, 2007.

There is a lot of pain (and joy) in this picture slide. The pain I speak of is not just emotional, there was also a lot of physical pain I went through to transform my body in that time period.

What some people may not realize is that I was somewhat successful in transforming my body prior to the start of Mission 1. Between July 2003 and November 8, 2006 (start of M1) I did lose 20 kg's and 7% percent of bodyfat. This got me down to my M1, Day 1 starting stats of 84.5 kg's and 20.8% bodyfat.

July 2003: Pain Dictated My Life

When I cast my mind back to July 2003 I remember quite clearly how much pain I felt daily due to the shape I was in and the fact that my life was going nowhere. I still had a glimmer of faith that I could turn my life around but I knew the road was going to be long and hard.

At that time pain did dictate my life. Every day I would wake up feeling miserable and frustrated with myself that another day had passed and I still hadn't taken action on my long-held dreams of re-transforming my physique (and life).

Then, every 6 months or so an event would trigger me into action. I would get up the next day and decide to take action (this is why I have so many "before pictures") and go "hell for leather" in the gym for a few weeks or months.

I would always make some progress during those "failed challenges" but inevitably the pain I felt in the gym (and in my mind) was not commensurate with the results I was getting. What made it even harder was that I would keep having "flashbacks" to my Body for Life 2000 Challenge success and constantly beat myself up about "why and how I let myself go".

My Life-Changing Mindset Shift

I continued this cycle for over 3 years until one fateful day (November 8, 2006) when I decided to make a simple mindset shift. Instead of letting pain dictate my life I decided to channel the pain I felt into my training and diet discipline.

As you can see on this blog this simple mindset shift quite literally changed my life. I still remember the first set of my first weight training session on Mission 1. I remember staring into the mirror for one whole minute before I started on the first set of Barbell Bent Over Rows.

I told myself in no uncertain terms,
You are here for a reason, it is time for you to regain control of your life starting RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. You are going to channel all the pain you have felt for the last 3 years into this rep, set and workout session. The truth is, you deserve this pain, it has to be this way because you and you alone are responsible for where you are right now.
For the first time in a very long time I remained laser-focused during a whole workout session. I kept the pain front and center in my mind and channeled this pain into every single rep of that workout.

As my body started transforming in front of my very eyes (evidenced by the daily pictures I took) I began to redefine the meaning of pain in my mind. As I progressed throughout Mission 1 the pain I felt for that one hour in the gym was nothing compared to the emotional pain I had felt for the previous 3 years.

The Choice Is Yours...

I soon realized that in life pain is inevitable. The only choice you have is whether to meet pain on your terms or whether you let the pain you feel dictate your life.

Your body is a perfect metaphor for this idea, that being you can either choose 1 hour of pain every day and live in the body of your dreams OR you can do nothing (and feel no physical pain) and live in the body of your nightmares.

(Sorry to sound so dramatic but I literally had nightmares about my physical shape and the embarrassment I felt daily).

The bottom line is this:
Is it more "painful" to take the daily actions required (physical, financial, spiritual, academic) to live the life of your dreams OR is it less painful not to take the daily actions required and live a life of regret?
I know which pain I would rather feel, I'll take my pain in small doses every day and live the life of my dreams because that pain is temporary while regret is forever.

How about you?

Adam Waters, NESTA-CPT

P.S. Below are Day 317 pics for September 21, 2007: Mission 3 Phase 2 - Day 22 of 70


Anonymous said...

Adam, I feel your pain. I, too was there. Mine was a 12 year long journey. Our mindset has so much to do with how we live our lives. I have a couple of quotes that I have posted in my office at work. One fits with what you are talking about today.
"How you think determines who you are, who you become in life, where you live and what you earn."
In reference the "heavy" picture, you don't even look like the same person, which, I too can relate to also. I've even had people say to me that they almost didn't recognize me! Now that's a great feeling! Keep up the hard work! You truly are an inspiration especially to the dedication you have!

Adam Waters said...

Hi Suzette, I gotta say that your face too has changed dramatically as evidenced on your real-time blog! Also your quote is perfect, everything starts in the mind first, we then manifest those thoughts in the physical realm, whether they be good, bad or indifferent.

Adam Waters