Too critical of yourself? Fitness can help.
I’m your typical mid-twenties Generation Y girl: never really satisfied with myself and always searching for ways to improve. How can I be more effective at work, learn new things, be a better person? The only way to get me out of this vicious circle of thinking is my daily workout. Ironic, isn’t it! So here are four things I learned through my fitness routine that help me in my daily life:
1. Be realistic
Despite my ‘all in’ mentality, I’ve realized that it’s much better to focus on goals that are within my reach. In the gym I can’t do proper pull-ups without any training; it’s neither achievable nor realistic. But over months of training, where I learned to be patient with my improvement, I started getting closer. When I began my traineeship at the adidas Group, I felt that I had to perform brilliantly from day one. Instead of slowly adapting to my new workplace and colleagues, I wanted to support my team as quickly as possible. I’m just not patient enough for this ‘small steps’ thing. But as soon as I used my training technique of being patient with my improvement I allowed myself time to adjust to my new role. That meant I was better able to help my colleagues and manage my own projects.
“My new calmer approach then pushed me to perform even better.“
2. Keep a positive entourage
Having a training partner at the gym makes it so much easier to push myself through the endless circles of burpees, launches and push-ups. She supports me to not give up, to finish every set, through her motivational words or just by doing the same exercise and sweating next to me. In real life, I rely on family and friends for good advice as well as colleagues.
“In my daily work I’m keen to take on feedback, tips and suggestions from my team as it makes me even more motivated to improve.”
3. Allow yourself breaks and treat your body right
Working out every morning can be good for you, but only if you know how to treat your body right. Although I’d love to do strength training each and every day, intensive muscle soreness and good coaches taught me better. Taking breaks is one of the hardest challenges for me. I hate not finishing things properly. Discussing this with my new team I realized that they are often in the same situation, but we’ve learned to recognize when we need to rest and refuel both our body and our mind.
4. Celebrate small successes
“Every little success is part of a whole and I’ve made a point of always enjoying small achievements.”
I’m not a runner but recently I completed a 10k run with my dad in less than an hour (he’s much faster without me, by the way) and rewarded myself with a new pair of trainers. Meanwhile at work I’ve learned to enjoy the praise I receive and be happy about the progress I have made rather than quickly rushing on to the next challenge. The above is not a call to action to take your foot off the pedal! But what I wanted to share is the learning that I will never be happy if I always doubt myself and try to optimize all of my characteristics. I’ll keep working on my weaknesses, but I’ve also accepted that some of them are just part of me.