Why Adversity Is Actually Your Friend

Adversity is your friend.

I know that sounds crazy, like how could something that opposes you be good for you? But some part of you knows it’s true. We get better in the face of challenges, not in the absence of challenges. Our best work often comes out when we are most frustratd, most pursued, most sure we are about to fail.

But we don’t fail. (Or, sometimes, we do.) Then we work harder and we keep going … and eventually we win. And it all starts with adversity.

If we know this to be true, though, why do we struggle with the concept of adversity? Why do we avoid? Why do we complain?

Because we’re human. Because we’re flawed. Because misery really does love company. All of these answers will be graded as correct. But the real question is how do we keep going even when we don’t want to? How do we get to the gym to suffer when we just want to head home, curl up on the couch, and eat a big bowl of mac and cheese or have a couple of beers?

1.) Dwell on the consequences.

On the horrid consequences. On the bad things that could happen if you just decide to be a lazy fool for the rest of your life. Dwell on the disease, on the bad energy, on the wasting of your muscles and your life. Picture yourself overweight, unhappy, and without a future.

What? Why did I just tell you that? Have I lost my mind?

Yes, and no. (Nobody is really certain I had my mind to begin with, so we can’t really figure out if I lost it.) See, all the ads and the salespeople for pretty much everything in the fitness and health industries are going to tell you about the beautiful body you are going to get if you exercise and eat right. And that’s true. But sometimes that carrot doesn’t work as well as the stick you crack yourself with. So, picture the downside to prolonged sloth and bowls of carbs and beer. Picture yourself miserable and out of breath from climbing a set of 5 stairs.

2.) Now, stop that!

Get that doom and gloom scenario out of your head and go do something! Just because you missed a workout (or three) doesn’t mean you have to miss the next one or ten or one hundred. Get up and get moving. Stop thinking depressing thoughts and start working so you stay healthy and get fit or more fit. Clean up your nutritional plan and make sure you’re prepared to make good choices. Order some Steve’s chicken and sauces. Lay in a supply of Protein Bars.

So much of fitness and healthy eating comes down to having a strong mental game, to being able to start, continue, and finish. None of it is easy but all of it is doable with the right mental attitude. Adversity doesn’t have to be your enemy. Learn how to use it to your advantage.

Use every mental trick you can to keep yourself going on the right track. Use positive reinforcement when you can, and negative reinforcement when you have to. Adversity is your friend, but it’s also a tricky opponent. Use each skill you have to keep yourself sharp and moving. You got this!

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