When I was in college, I confessed to my roommates a trick I had for staying motivated while working out. I sang the theme song from Rocky in my head.
I’m not talking about Eye of the Tiger, either. I’m talking about Gonna Fly Now, a mostly instrumental anthem that actually only has three words (Gonna. Fly. Now.). This cheesy tune from the 80s was my high school’s fight song, and after growing up hearing it played by the band every Friday night of the fall, it got me all fired up.
Or at least pushed me hard enough to finish a 10-minute session on the rowing machine.
Don’t feel bad if you’re laughing at me right now. My roommates laughed at me then – and still think it’s funny to tease me about it
ten many years later.
The mocking doesn’t really bother me because I know that my ability to coach myself through difficult times (yes, I’m including exercise in that category) is a good thing. I’ve worked hard to maintain healthy self talk, and encouraging myself is sometimes just as important as encouraging others.
Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at thinking and saying, “You can do this. It’s going to happen this time. This is your semester/project/job/year.”
And when I say those things, I believe them. I do. Mostly.
A few weeks ago I sat in my first Weight Watchers meeting of the year. The topic of the day’s discussion was “believe.” Our leader asked what we believe about weight loss and the program.
As I sat there I nodded and even offered a couple comments to the conversation. Of course I believe this program works. And I know that if I follow the program, I’ll lose weight. But later that day, as those words rattled around my brain, I started wondering. Do I really believe that I can do this?
My question wasn’t about the program; it was about me. I realized that for all my positive talk, I didn’t really believe that I could lose weight. Before I knew it, my thoughts changed, pummeling me with doubt and disbelief:
It’s not like this was my first attempt. Do I really think it’s going to work this time? I’ve been trying to do this my entire life. And while it worked once or twice, it never lasted. What’s so different this year? I’m not good at this. It is my biggest struggle. It’s Just. So. Hard.
Before I go too far down that rabbit hole, I remember. I remember what Jesus told his disciples: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Just a mustard seed – that’s all it takes. When I was growing up, my mom had a jar of those little yellow beads sitting on our windowsill. They really are very small! Surely I could find that much faith.
Then I spotted it: a tiny, foggy ray of hope. I grabbed onto that hope, and I held on with all I have. Maybe . . . just maybe . . . I can do this.
Yes, I do believe. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I just barely believe. But sometimes, “just barely” is enough. It’s enough for me to answer, with confidence this time, “Yes, I believe.”
What do you need or want to believe today? Can you find just a mustard seed of faith?
This post wasn’t sponsored by Weight Watchers :) It’s just a small example of big places in our lives where we need to get better at believing change can happen.
ABOUT MARY CARVER
Mary is a recovering perfectionist who writes about giving up on perfect and getting on with life. She's also mom to a sweet (and sassy) preschooler and wife to her high-school sweetheart. When...