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The Dark Side of the #Fitspiration Revolution

The Dark Side of the #Fitspiration Revolution

You’ve probably seen the hashtags, references, or pictures of the Fitspiration ‘revolution.’ Personal trainers, fitness enthusiasts, and “I need to get up and exercise” Instragram users all use it.  Why not?! It seems like a motivating type of tool that could provide that fit-inspiration we might need to do physical activity each day! Well, there can be a darker side to this sometimes seemingly innocent “rah rah’s” we need to get up and go. Many individuals, the majority of them women, already scrutinize their body size and shape on a daily basis. We do not need to look further than the diet industry.  It is a very profitable machine that relies solely on women feeling badly about their bodies (and you’d better believe that this industry COUNTS on us and knows they will always have a steady stream of business, depressing as this fact might be!). If there is a ‘quick fix’ to change the way we look, well, we want in! We are bombarded by images of specially molded women (compliments of Photoshop of course, though this secret is never really ‘revealed’ to allow us to use our maximum projections idealizing what it might mean to have a thinner, fitter, not-too-thin, yet not-too-toned body type)! A girl can dream, right?! No, not our daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, or wives. While we are not going to change our culture of glorifying women’s bodies (the ‘perfect’ body) anytime in the very near future (though we are changing every day, thankfully), we can take control and ownership about how we view, perceive, and treat our bodies.

While there can be some benefits to using #Fitspiration and using some of these images and quotes (typically posted by others) to motivate ourselves, there are others who put up glaringly negative messages about what we ‘should’ look like, what we ‘should’ be doing, and what you ‘could’ look like if you engaged in a variety of healthy and unhealthy practices. All of these driving negative forces can put a vulnerable population (again, mostly women) at risk for beginning a negative cycle of self-abuse with their words, thoughts, and actions. We already disparage ourselves as it is, and way too easily, I might add.  Do we need to add another element to this layer of victimization? In addition, Fitspiration is easily accessible to generations of all women, including young girls, adolescents, college students, young adults, new moms, and our grandmas. If you currently use Fitspiration as a way to stay motivated and it seems like a healthy fit, then maybe the Fitspiration revolution can assist you. That is, your Fitspiration participation helps you stay motivated while viewing yourself in a positive way in regard to body image, physical activity, and nutrition.

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For those that are in the fitness industry engaged in social media, such as personal trainers, be sure that the images, quotes, and ideals you are portraying are healthy, empowering, and positive messages. Note: when you post pictures of yourself and your ‘beach-ready-body’ 1 week after having a baby, though we are extremely happy for you, many women will be triggered by shame, guilt, and self-loathing about their own bodies. Should we take responsibility for every woman’s unhappiness? Absolutely not! But, if you are involved in motivating others in regard to physical activity, nutrition, and health, there needs to be a responsibility in how messages are shared and how they might be perceived.

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Now, if exposure to images, quotes, and energy of Fitspiration fuels a trigger that elicits a venomous self-attack, including self-hatred, depression, anxiety, perfectionism, and the echoes in your head that you are not worthy of putting on a bathing suit, eating something not ‘clean,’ or not ‘allowed’ to sit on a couch to rest, then it may be time to think about your exposure to your friends at Fitspiration. Physical trainers, dieticians, athletic organizations, weekend ‘warriors,’ and casual exercisers, take a pause and reflect. Sincerely, #Empowered and #BodyLove.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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