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Just like life has ups and downs, so does our progress towards success… not only in terms of work projects or relationships, but also with our fitness and the ability of what our bodies can do on a day to day basis.

It is the hardest thing to constructively critique ourselves, rather than maliciously judge every detail of our self being, especially in today’s society that is so heavily focused on being better, more productive, more efficient, etc, etc, etc.

On top of all of that, Social Media was born to make us all just that much more aware of “how much fun everyone else is having,” or “how successful everyone else is being.”

I think many of us tend to get off of Facebook feeling depressed after looking at all the cool things that the rest of the world did that day. Then, I often wonder if this idea of “Selfies” came about only because Social Media has often become a place of competition of who looks the happiest and has the best life, which is obviously demonstrated with abundant photos and videos of the said individual showing off his/her best smile.

Of course, this is an exaggeration, but with this seemingly constant public display of one’s private life, it is harder to maintain a healthy attitude of “progress” and what it truly means. We forget that sometimes it is not only necessary, but also healthy, to take a step backward and evaluate or go back to the basics in order to move forward.

Actually, one of the more inspiring things that I have seen on Facebook recently was this diagram.

I was reminded of this the other day when I, myself, decided to go take a Pilates class, which is one of the first organized classes that I’ve been able to do in about 14 months since my daughter was born. In order to get myself moving after the pregnancy, I’ve been training myself while my daughter takes her naps or somehow creatively incorporating her into the workout, but now it is time that I get back into the meat and details of the workout.

The first thing that I said to the instructor before getting onto the reformer is “Don’t expect much from me, as I’m not very strong anymore.” Then, the instructor kindly smiled and responded, “Isn’t that why we work out….to GET stronger? We don’t work out because we’re already strong.” Immediately, I bent my head and realized that I, too, am a culprit of this malicious judgment that so many of us place on ourselves.

It didn’t end there, as later in the session I commented in Italian what translates more or less to “I have practiced being the lazy person during the last 14 months.” She simply responded, “Here in Italy, we don’t like to say that you practiced being the lazy person, but rather, you practiced the other (things).”

Of course, yes, I moved to another culture, with a different language, with a new baby and left all of my work back in New York, yet in my own mind, because I lost some of my strength during my pregnancy and have spent time being a mother and getting us settled in a new country, I have somehow classified myself as lazy. Not on a daily basis, but in demonstrating to others….

Regardless, as I started to move through the very advanced exercises, I realized that I needed to take a step back. In my case, pregnancy has changed my body, and I need to rediscover my limitations.

For the past week, I have allowed myself, without judgment of where I used to be, the ability to go back to the basics and focus on every exercise. Taking that step has given me the space to realize that I was not truly present in my workouts for the past 14 months. I have been too preoccupied with wondering when my daughter would wake up.

I’m realizing, again, for the 100th time, that LESS IS MORE!!!!! After 15 minutes of doing basic intermediate exercises with intention, I was completely out of breath, sweating, and I had worked out more in those 15 minutes than all of the hours that I had been doing for the past 14 months. And I know that had I not taken a step back simply to evaluate, I would still be rushing through the workout just to get it done.

I invite you to join me in this journey of being gentler on ourselves, taking the time to evaluate, and realizing that the path to success is truly more of a spiral so that we can focus on moving toward what is truly progress.

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