I’ve always been drawn to this particular twelve-week diet and exercise program. It’s also a competition. Friends have completed and competed in it, some having literally changed their physiques and lives.
For the twelve weeks of the program, you follow a strict eating and workout plan. Then you send in before-and-after photos, along with the story of your physical, mental, and life transformations.
Winners are selected and rewarded. Some even win careers as spokespeople for the organization that hosts the competition.
I love the spirit of personal transformation. I believe knowing you’ll share your results can be a powerful source of motivation.
But I don’t think it’s necessary these days to compete in someone else’s game for opportunities to share your story.
Wouldn’t it be more rewarding to become your own voice instead of being picked to be someone else’s?
Or, why not be both?
Today I think it’s entirely possible to turn health, fitness, or lifestyle into a career for yourself if that’s what you want. You just have to be willing to put in the work.
But even if you have no desire to be a voice for health or anything else, I’d still recommend finding ways to share your goals and progress publically.
Not long ago, I started filming myself practicing moving meditation every now and then. Very slowly, I began preparing the videos to share. I wasn’t sure exactly where I’d be sharing them; I just felt like what I was doing was valuable enough to be worth somehow letting others know about the experience.
Moving meditation, filming, and video editing were all quite new to me; but knowing I’d be filming gave me something concrete to work toward. It wasn’t just me waking up on my nth “Day 1” of yet another radically uncomfortable plan to change.
We’ve talked about how removing all external confines (such as accounting for time and being told what to do) is at the core of what moving meditation is all about.
Well, have you ever experienced the ineffectiveness and frustration of exercising while watching a clock? Yearning for the artificial sound of some alarm to end your set or session can keep you from really doing your best or pushing yourself.
It’s both ironic and logical that adding an external, extroverted dimension to what you want to do (doing it publically) relieves you of the need for an external source of motivation to do it—timers, trainers, etc.
By all means, learn from external sources. Never stop learning. But don’t rely on anything or anyone else to push you.
When you go public, you won’t have to.
Imagine this scenario: You’ve chosen a good time to film yourself practicing moving meditation. You’ve set everything up. You press record.
You start moving…
Then, as with anything, you feel like stopping. Moving is, of course, always more difficult than not moving.
But you know you probably want to go for at least . . . what? Ten minutes?
There’s no magic number, but I’m guessing you’re aiming at moving for more than a minute or two, right?
The fact that you’re recording yourself without knowing how long you’ve been going motivates you to keep going just a little more.
Move on camera without looking at a clock, and you’ll always feel motivated to not stop just yet.
Filming myself as I move has become a fun activity I look forward to. It’s something I’m motivated to work up to and prepare myself for by getting in shape and improving my lifestyle in every way.
In general, going public with your experience keeps you accountable to yourself, to what you say, and to the progress you’ve already made—not to those who see what you share.
Does it ever seem like celebrities are some of the only people who can actually get and stay in shape?
Well, celebrities don’t have to be the only ones anymore. Today, we can all experience the same degree of accountability to what we put out into the world.
Going public forces you to take an honest, objective look at where you’re really at.
In another story, Facing Addiction, I talk about the power of going public to face and overcome your limitations and compulsions so you can take steps toward being the best version of yourself.
If you’re looking to make any positive changes, I’d simply recommend finding a way to go public with your real experience. This book is part of how I share mine. Share yours in whichever ways best suit your personality.
Going public with your journey makes it impossible to ignore what will make that journey a success. It also makes the journey a whole lot more fun.
Going public connects you with others who are in the same position and have the same goals as you.
So, how might we connect?
We could practice moving meditation together on videos or video calls (anonymously or not). We could meet and do this in person.
Let me know if you’re interested:
But first, it’s important to realize and even take a stand for the idea that how you look when you practice moving meditation doesn’t matter. This isn’t a visual art, but a physical one. It’s not to see, but to feel as you do it.
So we should only consider doing this together if we can still avoid focusing on how we look—if how we move can remain unaffected.
Not caring how I look when I move (because it doesn’t matter) brings a beautiful sense of freedom that separates me even further from external constraints and pressures.
As I said, this will never be about competitions, organizations, or ranking systems.
If you practice moving meditation publically, you don’t ever have to mention me or connect with me at all.
But maybe we could help each other reach our goals.
Eventually, I might film myself moving every day.
I’d love to do a marathon session on video one day, perhaps wearing a tuxedo; that could be my version of a fundraiser.
I love this!
By the way, if you’d like to move “with me” in the comfort of your home, here’s a compilation of the videos I mentioned. I thought it would be fun to do at the beach with a tube man, some martial artists (or anyone), a fire at night… not wearing masks or anything; at the time (when making the videos) the mask was just to keep how I was moving from being influenced by anything. But it’s no longer necessary for me. Don’t let how I move influence you at all.