My little guy Frank is almost 4 months old. He is my first child. It only took me this long to join some groups that support new parents and natural parenting. (Hand smacks forehead at this moment.)
See, I was really thrown for a loop. I was pregos and getting ready for baby Frank to arrive. I read books and joined online resources that I felt would prepare me for Frank’s arrival. I felt “ready”. Ha, little did I know. Right after Frank was born, I had a few days of bliss because new babies sleep almost the entire day. But then it sinks in. These babies don’t come with manuals or instructions. I had to learn and decipher his cries and body language. And of course, once I thought I figured it out it all changed again.
I found myself in uncharted territory. Feelings of frustration, exhaustion and isolation set in. “Am I doing this right”? I always wanted to know the right answers. Yes, I had Darren. But he had that deer in the headlights look on his face when Frank would be crying up a storm. I’d go online to find support, just to be confused my the million different answers people would give on the forums and Facebook pages. I felt alone in my struggles and confused in making the “right decisions”.
I finally found relief when I would meet up with other new parents going through the same journey. And it was not because these people had super-parent all-knowing. powers. No, they were just as exhausted and confused as I was. The magic in our meetings came from the fact that we were part of the same tribe. The tribe of scared-as-heck new parents. We could look in others eyes and say “yes, I also did not sleep much last night”. That in and of itself was full of comfort because no longer did I feel alone. I was part of a tired community of new parents that were going to make it. I finally found the support and strength I needed to make it through the good and rough times at home.
So how does this story relate to fitness? Well, I see the same thing with people as they start on a fitness journey. They join an online group or buy a dvd set with high hopes of losing pounds and inches. They embark on their new fitness and weight loss program alone. And many of the same feelings I feel as a new parent sinks in when the new fitness program begins.
Here’s what I mean. People feel isolated when they go to a dinner event where no understands the diet plan they are on. They go home to a partner to vent about people not understanding only to get a glassed over look because they don’t understand either. When they wake up the next morning and put in their workout dvd, it’s just too easy to skip the burpees because they are not a favorite exercise. If your clothing starts to fit better, others at the office don’t really get it because they just chomped on a glazed donut when you shared the great news.
Just like I found in my new parents group, is that you need a tribe of like minded people. A tribe of people that you can look in the eye when the workout gets tough and know that you can crank out a few more burpees. (You know, the burpees that you hate.) A group that finds their way to gym after the toughest days of work because they know they’ll see the same supportive faces of their tribe. And when a tribe member shares the victory of buying smaller clothes, other tribe members cheer and celebrate.
Don’t make the mistake of “going it alone”. This method only leaves you feeling isolated and frustrated. When these feelings set in, it’s easy to give up.
Find your tribe that will understand you, your goals and what you are going through. Surround yourself with people that “get it” and can offer support and motivation. People that look you back in the eye and you know they hear you and can 100% relate to journey you are on.
Not only will being part of a tribe increase your chances of success. The tribe will also make the journey more enjoyable.