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We spend a large amount of time pushing ourselves, arguing with our inner demons, and fighting to get out of our heads in order to pursue what we believe in. Sometimes it feels like we’re constantly beating ourselves up (physically and mentally) without much progress. It’s like we’re running uphill, especially when it comes to fitness and other facets that don’t show immediate progress. But your hard work WILL pay off.

One day, the pieces will fall together. The things you’re doing right now—the getting up early, the convincing yourself to keep going, the sore muscles, the struggle—will all pay off.

When you stop worrying about the distance you have left to travel, you’ll see how far you’ve come.

Fitness is one of the most difficult things to track. In the day to day, it feels like you’re not getting anywhere. You might look at yourself in the mirror or frown at the images of your ‘goal’ or ‘ideal’ while feeling that you’re miles and miles away.

But truthfully, when you stop worrying so much about how far you have left, you’ll see how far you’ve come.

Working on yourself, mentally and physically, doesn’t happen overnight. Building muscle, losing weight, getting to a place where you feel confident and healthy—that’s a long and lengthy process that requires perseverance, determination, and sheer force of will.

If you speak to yourself negatively, that’s what your focus will be.

Another important component of your mental and physical well-being is learning where your energy lies. Are you speaking empowering words over yourself? Or are you only looking at your flaws? When you’re faced with an obstacle, are you determined to overcome it? Or are you telling yourself to give up before you even start?

Learning to recognize the moments you fall into self-doubt or negative self-talk and pushing those out of your mind will make a huge difference in your ability to reach those goals. What you feed your mind, you’ll become. It’s as simple as that.

Trust your process (even if it’s slow).

It’s hard to believe that you’re going to improve and become the man or woman you want to be when you’re constantly surrounded by images and people that look like they’re doing far better than you. It’s so hard to focus on yourself when life has become a comparison game—always wondering where you fit and if you’re doing ‘enough.’

But the sooner you stop looking outward and start looking inward for validation and truth, the happier you’ll be.

Fitness (and life itself, really) is about focusing on YOU and your individual journey. As hard as it is to keep from thinking about others and where you compare, when you understand that your story is completely unique and has its own ups and downs, you’ll realize that your process doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be yours.

And your hard work will pay off. I promise.


Marisa Donnelly

Marisa is a full-time freelance writer, editor, and fitness enthusiast located in Ocean Beach, San Diego. She is the author of the poetry collection, Somewhere On A Highway and founder of Be A Light LLC, a remote writing coaching/tutoring/editing services company.

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