Copyright 2006 Howard McGarity
“It’s a contest of purposeless suffering….to me of course, it’s all about living.” – Lance Armstrong comments on the grueling demands of competitive cycling, after his fourth Tour de France victory in 2002.
With the start of the Tour de Georgia last week and the approach of the Tour de France in July, I find myself checking in to see what Lance Armstrong is up to these days. I sometimes do this when I’m in need of a little motivation.
Of course, you remember that all of Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France wins followed a cancer diagnosis in 1996. This was not just any cancer, but a highly aggressive testicular carcinoma that rapidly metastasized to his lungs and brain.
Most people would have crumbled, but based on Armstrong’s attitude toward life, his response was absolutely predictable.
After absorbing the terror of a certain death sentence, he assaulted the aggressor with the same guts and determination that he exhibits on grueling inclines in the French Alps. It is in the mountains where he typically leaves his competitors in the dust.
Armstrong’s motto… “Knowledge is power and attitude is everything”. The rest is history.
As someone who helps people lose weight and improve fitness by changing their habits and behaviors, I’d like to take a closer look at the subject of attitude.
After all, it’s attitude that determines whether you drag yourself off the couch and out the door for an invigorating walk, or spend the afternoon watching TV.
Whether it’s to enhance your life, or save your life, to a very large degree, it is attitude that determines where you end up.
If you would like a good example of how attitude can overcome a real downer of an experience, consider Kelly Luckett of Decatur, Georgia. She ran 26.2 miles last year, as the third ever female amputee to compete in the Boston Marathon. That’s 26.2 miles folks…in six hours, twenty minutes and two seconds.
Ms. Luckett had the choice to either succumb to her disability or live life fully. She chose to not only live, but to strive for excellence and the result was outstanding.
With the list of things I have to do today, I have a “pretty good reason” to stay hunched over my desk until dinnertime, but I guess I have just motivated myself to haul up the anchor and take my protesting body out for a run.
It’s all about living!
Tips to “Boost” Your Attitude:
Most of us understand the reasons for our poor physical fitness and the answer to losing weight. We have read volumes on diet and exercise, but it is our attitude that prevents us from doing what needs to be done.
One way to develop a powerfully positive attitude, even if you don’t feel that way, is to behave as if you do. To that end, planning your actions and anticipating setbacks, in advance, is essential.
1. Schedule workouts on your calendar. Making an important appointment with yourself, in writing, carries more weight than just the vague intention to do something. Schedule for first thing in the morning because research shows that people who exercise before the business day begins are most likely to stick with it.
2. A little bit of something is better than nothing. Regardless of how short you are on time or how blah you’re feeling, commit to just five or ten minutes. Every little bit helps and, almost always, once you get going, your energy picks up and you have a great workout.
3. Be flexible. A change of plans is not an excuse to do nothing. If you usually exercise in the gym, and you’re out of town, go for a jog. If you forgot your running shoes, go for a brisk walk. Honor your commitment to your exercise appointment.
4. When possible, join your spouse or a workout partner. It’s a lot less easy to cop out if someone else is depending on you.
5. Check out Lance’s autobiography, “It’s Not About the Bike. My Journey Back to Life”. Last time I looked, you could get a used copy for fifty cents on http://www.Amazon.com . If this book doesn’t motivate you, nothing will!
“Be Strong… Be Lean”