On Tuesday I taught a timed circuit class that looked like this:
My class members totally rocked it. They pushed themselves and powered through, even when the circuits seemed never-ending and tough.
After class, one of them posted on my Facebook wall:
“SO proud of having pushed myself harder than almost ever at tonight’s two-a-day workout. 2014=my year of strength! Thank you for an awesome night!”
This got me thinking about the phrase “year of strength” and what it could mean for someone. On one hand, there’s the concept of being strong at the gym and with your body. Things like:
— The amount of weight you can lift
— Pushing your fitness abilities
— Bodily or muscular power
— Taking care of your body even when it’s tough to do
— Constantly setting new physical goals to challenge yourself
— The concepts of willpower, discipline, and motivation
— Pushups, pull-ups, bench presses, squats, deadlifts, planks, etc.
But strength goes beyond just these things. There’s a LOT of mental components to having strength, many of which go hand in hand with the physical. Here are some other things that come to mind when I hear the word strength:
— Something that you do best or excel in
— Standing up for yourself and what you believe in
— Mental vigor
— Trying new things
— Always trying to better yourself
— Overcoming something you once thought you couldn’t
— Having an indomitable spirit
— Following your dreams in the face of adversity
— Not giving up or losing faith
— Listening to your gut and following your intuition
— Persistence and the ability to keep fighting
— Admitting when you need help
— Despite the above, the power to accept that sometimes you cannot change things, situations, or people
So when it comes to 2014 being a “year of strength,” think about what that could mean to you. For me, it’s definitely working on the fitness goals that I set for myself around New Year’s. But it’s also about a lot more than that.
I want to find more opportunities to showcase what I’m good at and passionate about. I’m very thankful for what I’ve been able to do so far at work and with the blog, but I want more. I can’t help it.
If there are things or situations that aren’t making me fully happy, I want to have the strength to either keep fighting or figuring out what needs to change. Sometimes just having the strength to make a tough decision can be really difficult for me. I always think about the worst case scenario and all of the “what ifs.”
I want to have the strength to realize that I’m human and that I can’t do it all. Being able to take a step back, take a deep breath, and say “it’s okay” are strong actions to me.
Letting go. Not harping on things. Not worrying about everything.
And finally, I just want the strength to be the best person I can be. There may be some sacrifices I have to make in the near future to accomplish what I need to do, but I know I have the strength to remind myself it will be all be worth it in the end.
What does strength mean to you? How do you show physical strength? Emotional or mental strength? What are some things that would help you have a “year of strength?” How do you power through situations when times get tough?
This is so true. It’s not just our physical capabilities that determine strength. Strength is in all forms. For me, strength is making it through a job search. Strength is having the ability to complete tasks to the best of my ability everyday. Strength is keeping stress levels at bay.
Thanks, Heather. All really good definitions and meanings for strength!
This is the second article on “strength” that I have come across in the last few hours, and it’s nice to see lots of people apply strength to more than the physical realm. To me, it means the ability to overcome resistance (physical, mental, spiritual, etc.). I think it’s necessary in all aspects of one’s life, with physical strength being the foundation.
I like that! Resistance has so many meanings as well. Thanks for sharing!
I love this – so true that strength is more than just how much weight you can lift.
I know that when it comes to my boys I want them to be strong enough to do what they choose and not just follow the crowd. Actually, I think of it in the same way for myself – being willing to do my own thing and not just go along with the flow!!
Thanks, Kim! Your boys have you as a role model – so I’m sure they will be strong enough to do their own thing. Keep on being awesome!
Strength is not only physical strength, but mental strength and endurance. It becomes more about how well you can accept challenges, live with difficulties, and find peace with struggles. Sure, I am very proud of my physical strength. But that would not be possible without mental strength. Strength is being able to accept what you cannot change and to find happiness in your life.
Thanks for sharing!
Great post! To me strength is the ability to push limits and do something you’ve never thought you were capable of.
Thanks, Olena! Agree.
Nice post, Athena. I agree with a lot of your non-fitness strengths and, too, am working on them this year: letting go, saying “no”, not stressing about things I can’t control, not worrying about making everyone happy and fitting everything in, not feeling bad about taking time for ME… it’s hard and I think, for me, takes more strength to do those things than it does to lift heavier at the gym. Excited to see what’s in store for you!
Thanks, Monique. I agree that for me it’s also harder to work on mental strength than physical strength. We can do it!
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Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.