In his short but impactful life, Nobel peace prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left some inspiring advice for us. We know him as an activist and one of the most eloquent speakers of the 20th century. His words of wisdom apply to any context in life, fitness included, and inspire millions every day.
In this post, I’m sharing how his words inspire me in my wellness journey.
1. If you can’t fly then run, If you can’t run then walk, If you can’t walk then crawl. But whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
I take this advice literally! There are days I don’t want to run or train hard, but mostly I can always get a nice walk in. So I walk when I can’t run. And then there are those days when I can’t do anything because work has gotten crazy or something came up with the kids. Those days I move more in the house and go up and down the stairs more than on other days. That’s my version of crawling there. That keeps the momentum up and helps me feel like I’m moving forward every day. And the feeling of progress is more important than any progress we can measure in terms of lbs, inches, or miles. Several times real progress can be two steps forward and one step back. But the feeling of progress motivates most of us to put in the work every day. And that little work put in consistently, day after day, adds up to make monumental changes.
2. Take the fist step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.
This is pure gold and applies beautifully to life and fitness. Many of us don’t know what our fitness goals are. I find it funny when I look back at my day’s training with personal trainers. The first question they ask is -what are your goals? And I had no idea. In my head, I would be like – ‘As you can see, I need to lose 10 lbs. what else could it be?’. I truly had no other fitness goals. I know better now and realize that fitness goals can be a wide array of things. It was correct that they were asking that question about the goals, but my ignorance led me to believe that losing a few pounds is the be-all and end-all of fitness goals :).
And also, here’s the thing – as we make progress, our goals evolve, and that’s what keeps this fun journey unending and ever-exciting. The moral of the story is – it’s great if one can see the end goal clearly, but we don’t have to know what it is in the beginning. The most important step is the first step!
3. The time is always right to do what’s right!
And what’s more right than taking care of the only place you have to live – your body! We often procrastinate even beginning the journey. I was that way for the longest time. Midweek I would think I will start afresh over the weekend. Mid-Month, I would plan on starting the first day of the next month. Or sometimes, after this little project is done. That mindset never helped me. I would get to the first of the next month, and there would be something else impeding. So really, the best time is right now! To start, do something as little as a 5 minute power walk in the house every single day and build from there. Just start now!
4. We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
This one is a daily dose of encouragement for me personally and for all of us fighting those little disappointments about not being able to put in the work needed or not seeing the progress we want to see.
It’s ok to get down and disappointed when expected progress is not happening. Disappointment sounds like a negative emotion but can be a positive thing because, after the initial sadness and displeasure pass, we can pause, assess, plan and pivot if needed. Another part of this is – sometimes progress happens in forms we cannot measure easily. The average person is probably looking at metrics like weight, inches, strength, endurance, and energy level changes. If you are working to improve your sleep, exercise, eating, and managing your stress, that all come together to make a healthy lifestyle, the hard work is going to pay back. It’s a robust form of cancer prevention and will shield you from lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension. That’s the greatest benefit of it all, but it’s long-term and therefore underappreciated. So never losing hope and putting in the work is certainly a winning strategy!
I hope that, like me, these inspirational thoughts of wisdom from the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspire you to transform your health and life!