Feel Comfortable, Confident, and Capable In Your Own Skin

(Big breath).  Day twelve of school and how is Mrs. Bradley feeling?  Like I’ve been running a marathon at a sprint pace.  While they have been fast-paced and exhausting, those twelve days of school have been the most rewarding of my career thus far.  The kids came excited and ready to learn and my teacher-friends know that this is all teachers ever hope for.  Being a better teacher makes me a better person.  When I feel fulfilled at school, I am more fulfilled at the gym and at home as well.

During a social skills class this week we talked about self concept, which is the way you think and feel about yourself.  Our self concept is defined by the way we feel and think about ourselves socially, intellectually, emotionally, and physically.  Socially- how do you feel around others?  Do you interact easily or have to try a bit harder?  Are you always talking or sitting quietly in the corner of the room?  Intellectually-how do you feel about learning?  Are you book smart, street smart?  Do you have common sense?  Emotionally-are you happy?  Sad?  Aggressive, passive?  Lastly, physically-how do you feel in your own skin?  Do you wish you were more active?  Hate your curly hair?

Having this discussion with a bunch of high school students is always interesting.  I am always amazed by their honesty, they are much more honest with themselves than many adults.  I asked them to rate themselves on a scale of 1-5 on each of these aspects of their self concept: intellectual, social, emotional, and physical.  If they felt really good about where they are, they gave themselves a 5, if they felt bad a 1, or a 2,3,4 if they felt somewhere in between.  Today I ask you to do the same and then spend some time reflecting on why you feel the way you do.  Go ahead, rate yourself.  I’ll wait.

Are you all 5’s?  If you are, I’m jealous.  Are you all over the place? Are your ratings low?  I am especially interested in your physical self concept.  Just like my success or failure as a teacher affects my role as a coach and wife, so does your physical self concept affect other areas of your life–whether you realized it or not.  Not only does your health affect they way you feel physically, but your emotional state, your ability to learn and adapt to situations, and for many it gets in the way of the social life they would like to have.

I see many kids and adults come into Crossfit with low self concepts, maybe they’re uncoordinated, overweight, or just intimidated.  After the very first workout I can see the confidence rising and the morale improving.  After a few workouts they’re wanting to try new things because they have already accomplished more than they thought they ever would.  It only takes a few weeks for people to start viewing themselves differently, they feel comfortable, confident, and capable in their own skin.

I see the same things with my students, they experience a little success and want more.  They start off struggling, then surviving, and before long they are being successful in something they thought was bound for failure.

Is your physical self concept getting in the way of your success in other aspects of your life?  Are you afraid you’ll look dumb if you try something new?  Well, as Coach Glassman, CEO of Crossfit, said “You can’t look good and get better at the same time.” Go out and do something. NOW!

You might already be making an excuse for yourself, if this is the case, I’ve come up with some simple, yet witty solutions to your dilemma.

Top 10 Reasons People Don’t Work Out (Caution: a heavy use of sarcasm)

1. “I don’t have time.”-Unplug your television and your computer and magically there are 28 hours in the day.

2. “I don’t have the money.”-When is the last time you had to pay to go outside?

3. “I don’t know how.”– Putting one foot in front of the other is a good place to start.  Get walkin’ sister.  (If walking isn’t working see number 4).

4. “I don’t have any equipment.”-Unfortunately, there are only about 1 million activities you can do without any equipment, so I can see how you’re struggling with finding things to do. (Push up, sit up, squat, burpee, jogging, walking, crawling, jumping, dancing…)

5. “I have a toddler.”–FREE EQUIPMENT!  Put that baby on your back and squat, run, or walk….I hope you don’t mind hearing the thrill and laughter of your child in your ear while you workout.

6. “I have a bad back, knee, shoulder, hip, finger, or toe.”  -I am not a doctor, but I would venture to say that many of these muscle, tendon, ligament, or bone related injuries would improve with a little movement in your life.  If it’s really bad start in a pool or begin with yoga, increase your range of motion and then begin with more intense exercise.

7. “It’s cold outside.”– In a couple months this excuse will go to number one on the list, to this I say: workout inside. (Push up, sit up, squat, burpee,walking up and down your stairs 100 times, crawling, jumping, dancing…)  PS-you burn more calories when it’s cold!

8. “I am too fat.”– I don’t even know where to start on this one.  Baby steps.  First make changes to your diet, all of the physical activity in the world won’t help if your eating habits don’t improve.  Next, walk, do step-ups, whatever it takes to get your heart beating fast.

9.“I’m too old.”– At well over the age of 80, both of my grandmothers were still biking or going to the gym. Don’t let my grandma beat you.

10. “I don’t want to.”  This I cannot help with.  “To get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.”  Go run, hun.


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