“This pain has been bugging me for years”
“Everything I’ve tried has failed”
“I seem to take one step forward, two steps back”
These are all common phrases that I have heard over the past few years whilst working in the health and fitness industry. It’s distressing for someone to explain to his or her friends and family all the different methods and diets they have tried in his or her quest for a pain-free and healthier lifestyle.
Recently I watched a video of an interview with American actor Will Smith that I thought was a fantastic way of explaining the overarching theme for the methods we use as Exercise Physiologists. He explained in the interview that his father made both him and his younger brother build a wall from scratch. This was his takeaway from that experience:
“I learnt early on that you don’t set out to build the biggest, baddest wall that has ever been built. Instead, you lay each brick as perfectly as a brick can be laid. You do that every single day. Soon you will have a wall.”
Brilliant analogy. Let’s apply this to the health and well-being scenario. When we are given advice from health professionals, the big picture can be recovering from surgery, or injury, or losing weight.
Yes, long-term goals are important to give us a guide on where we want to be in 12-18 months time. However, it is more important that we have an understanding of those little landmarks along the way that lead us to our long-term goal. Or as Will Smith put it, put all your focus towards that next brick, and lay it as best you can. I.e. give your absolute best to the next exercise session you attend. Complete every rep as if it were your last.