How to get up and get going!

Posted 7/21/21

By Nicole DePalma MS, LMT Every once in awhile, I’ll pull out some reading material that I’ve hung on to that I find to speak the truth to me, which motivates me to try to be the best I can be. …

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How to get up and get going!


By Nicole DePalma MS, LMT

Every once in awhile, I’ll pull out some reading material that I’ve hung on to that I find to speak the truth to me, which motivates me to try to be the best I can be. (I’ll admit, I need to keep reading this stuff more often!) My “go-to” of choice lately has been “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, by Stephen R. Covey. I remember seeing this book everywhere when it first came out in 1989, and for those of a “certain age”, seeing this book out in my house brings remarks of, “One of my all-time favorite books.”, or “Wasn’t that a great read?!!”, etc. If you have time to pick up a book over the summer, I’d highly recommend putting this one on your list!

The last of the 7 Habits is “Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal”. Dr. Covey says that this Habit is about, “…preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have-you.” To that end, what does Dr. Covey talk about? Well, preserving and enhancing four dimensions of our nature, one of them being…wait for it…our Physical Dimension which includes “…exercise, nutrition, stress management…”. Who knew?!!

Dr. Covey’s response to folks that claim they don’t have time to exercise get the salvo, “We don’t have time not to!”. If you’re a farm worker, car mechanic, wait staff, flight attendant, or anyone else who has a very physical job, perhaps you can pass on an exercise regime, but most of us don’t have a physical enough life style to by-pass getting our bodies “tuned up” and running on “all cylinders”!

Dr. Covey had a way of getting the readers of his book to look at taking care of the physical part of ourselves as a way to “preserve and enhance” our abilities to work, function well, and enjoy life. His theme throughout this particular section of his book was, “no-one can do this for you”! If you’ve ever tried saying, “Hey Alexa! Go work out for me!”, how did that go for you?!! Alexa probably replied, “I’m sorry, can you refine your request?”! We don’t get a “designated “worker- outer” to do the job for us, and even though that sounds like a really great idea, there’s no self-satisfaction coming from accomplishing what only we can do for ourselves. You may run across someone who’s in great physical shape, and works out regularly. You may’ve even asked this person if they really like to work out. Some of these fine physical specimens may be honest, and tell you that they hate it! But, they know that they feel better, they function better, and can keep themselves out of the hospital and off medications just by taking the time to put some form of physical fitness into their lifestyle. These role models of regular physical activity had to start somewhere. “The longest journey begins with the first step.”! Over time, with patience, and a willingness to overcome inertia or setbacks that life throws at us once and awhile, these folks stuck with it, and step by step, day by day, improvement by improvement, a healthy lifestyle became second nature. This can be true for every one of us.

We can widen the scope out a bit here to look at not only physical fitness, but any area of our lives where we could give ourselves a little or a great big “nudge” to get something going that we’ve been putting off, that could mean a great deal to us if only we’d accomplish it! Start by listening to your “self-talk”. Do you hear yourself saying things like, “if only”, “I wish”, “I hope”, “Yeah, but…”. This is the kind of mental “Spam” that can take any good idea, and rain all over that parade! Wishing is great, but without action, it’s only a wish. “If only” is a metaphor for talking ourselves right out of something. A hope is terrific, and there’s a positive connotation to the notion, but a hope is just hope without action. The dreaded “yeah, but…”. This is the kill switch to accomplishing anything! Have you ever offered advice to anyone, and with every piece of advice, you get a “yeah, but…” in reply? A “yeah, but…” is literally “Death Valley” to moving forward with anything! This is the best way to convince ourselves or others that there’s a perfectly good reason why we don’t or do something that really is against our best interests. If we can tell ourselves that there’s a good reason to do or not do something, then we can validate the reason(s) why we stay “stuck”. Then we’re back to wishing, and hoping, and praying that something (our physical fitness?) will change!

Dr. Covey sums up his Habit 7 by saying, “We will only reap what we sow”. Boy, truth hurts, doesn’t it?!! Dr. Covey also goes on to say, “We must…do for ourselves. This is the single most powerful investment we can ever make in life investment in ourselves, in the only instrument we have with which to deal with life and to contribute.”.

Can we “sharpen our saws” with regular “self-renewal”? I think we can! I think that we can make the choice to take care of ourselves so we can “be the best we can be” not only for ourselves, but as Dr. Covey says, “…to contribute”. So, let’s get out to the “tool shed”, find that rusty saw, sharpen it up, and see what can really happen when we make up our minds to “just do it”! Cheers and be well!