Thursday, October 17, 2013

From "I Can't" to "Maybe I Can"

Have you seen this?

This is Maria Kang, and she seems to be causing quite a stir.  There are camps that say she's knocking overweight women, and there are camps that are saying, "You go girl!"  I happen to be in the 'you go girl' camp, but that is neither here nor there.  Discussing the stir surrounding this picture is not my goal today, however.  My goal is offer understanding, and perhaps lend some perspective to the buzz.

No one gives birth to three children and looks like that without a lot of hard work.  However she got there, that's where she is, and I don't begrudge her that.

I used to come from a place of "I can't."  After the high school mile debacle, my mantra was "I can't run."  My ex-husband used to like to say, "She can't cook, she can't clean, and she can't sew."  (As if that's all a wife was good for!  Ha!  Good riddance, you jerk!)  So I didn't cook, didn't clean and I still don't sew.  I signed up for a 5:30 a.m. bootcamp once, and I was so tired at the end of the day, that I decided I couldn't do that either.

That all changed one day, when I said to myself, "Maybe I can."  A friend asked me to run a local half marathon with her.  Of course my first answer was, "I can't."  Then I asked myself why I thought I could not at least attempt this.  Why couldn't I try?  Why couldn't I train for this?  I could not come up with a good answer.  That is when I committed 100% to this goal of finishing a half marathon, and I've never looked back.

Unlike the high school cross country athlete who perhaps walks away from her sport to further her career, get married and have children, I was not an athlete as a kid.  I didn't do much at all until I decided to run a half marathon at the age of 44.  I wasn't a gym rat, I did some Jazzercize back in the day (now I'm really dating myself!), but exercise was not a part of my life.  

Deciding to do this seemingly impossible thing was something I committed to like it was my job.  Look for a coach, find a gym, do the workouts, read the books and magazines, eat the right food, and take it one day at a time.  One workout at a time, even.  When you approach a goal this way--take small bites each day in pursuit of your goal--it is completely doable and you learn so much about yourself while you're getting there.

If I didn't have that shift in my thinking, I would not be the person I am today.  Maria Kang's body didn't just happen.  Maybe she used to be in a place of "I can't" just like the rest of us.  You'd never know it from the picture, because humility was not one of her goals in posting it.  That's ok, everyone is different.  I'd rather allow people to see the good, the bad and the ugly.  You don't see all the hard work, stress on the family, sweat and discomfort that Maria endured in order to get to the picture you see.  I'm willing to expose that side of me.  Now granted, I don't look like she does!  I used to weigh 25 pounds more than I do today, but I'm still not that!  What I am is stronger, leaner and faster than I used to be, and that's what's important to me.  You can never go into something new and different without telling yourself that the only person that you're trying to be better than is yourself.

Today, when you're thinking of all the things that seem impossible to do, allow the thought of "Maybe I can..." to work its way into your brain.  We all have it in us to accomplish the seemingly impossible.  Instead of convincing ourselves that we can't, let the maybe in.

Do you have a goal that you think you can't accomplish?  

What's your excuse?

Happy Thursday, everyone!



  1. You and Maria can inspire people! You no longer say you can't. You normally say, guess what else I did.

    Good article!

  2. My excuse was fear. Arthritis in the knees and back had me too scared to even Try running. But like you, I slowly shifted into, "Why Not?" and, "Maybe I Can." In just a couple of short months, I already feel better turning 50 than I did turning 40. Great posts and thoughts on how a subtle attitude shift can have a Huge impact on your life!