Maybe killing your old identity, the identity that no longer serves you, is necessary in your evolution as a person.
I was a skinny kid. A combination of a lightening fast metabolism and a very active childhood kept me lean, svelt and pretty bony.
Since the age of 16 I wanted to be jacked. I wanted to carry around a bunch of extra muscle with me everywhere I went.
I don’t know what the real reson for this desire was, though I’m sure it was rooted in inecurity.
I didn’t put on any appreciable muscle until I was in my early 20’s. Once I hit 24, look out. By my 24th birthday I had added 50–60 lbs since I was a skinny 16 year old who decided to get big and muscular.
I’ve been a pretty big guy ever since.
Right now I’m sitting in a Starbucks nestled in one of my favorite places in the city.
This Starbucks is located in Sundance Square, downtown Fort Worth Texas. Sundance Sqaure has an energy that’s almost tangible. I love coming here to just sit.
As I approach my 32nd birthday, I find myself with a stronger desire to take time out and reflect. Because of that, I find myself in places like Sundance Sqaure, the park near my house, and random, cool coffee shops a lot more often.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my life in the world of fitness. Particularly my own fitness.
Like I mentioned, since my early 20’s, I’ve been a big guy. It’s become a major aspect of my identity.
Mitch? Oh yeah, he’s that big guy.
While I’ve come a very long way in the department of strength and size, I’m starting to notice some cracks in the areas I haven’t placed as much effort.
Particularly movement quality, mobility, and conditioning and flexibility.
You know, all the stuff that just goes to hell if you don’t take care of it.
Now, 32 years old doesn’t make me ‘old’, I know this. But let’s not kid ourselves and pretend that 32 years of neglecting your body in certain ways isn’t enough time to cause some problems.
Currently, my hips are tight and out of whack, my general mobility is awful, my shoulders are tight, and I haven’t done anything overly athletic in a while (besides lifting stuff up and putting it down).
I’ve also noticed that I don’t stay as lean and mean as I did in my 20’s, so clearing the fluff away from my abs is on the to-do list as well.
Here’s the thing. Every time I dig in and make some ground in these areas, I panic and call off the entire operation.
More time being athletic and mobile means a little less time lifting heavy things and chasing muscle pumps. Getting leaner means my body gets a little smaller.
This all sounds fine, right? Well, not to me.
Once I get even the slightest hint that my body is getting smaller and maybe even *gasp* weaker, I call the whole thing off.
That’s my identity I’m messing with. What if big Mitch wasn’t that big anymore? Would I still be Mitch? Am I still living up to expectations?
Here’s the thing. I’m the one that decided on these goals. I created them, made the game plan and began to execute it. So why would I be so shocked and appalled when it actually begins to work?
Because my identity trumps anything else that I want. It actually doesn’t matter what I want. If ‘Mitch’ can’t identify as himself in that new physical or mental state, then ‘Mitch’ isn’t going to let that fly. Not for a second.
Maybe the old Mitch has to die?
Seriously. This thought crossed my mind as I wrote the last paragraph:
Ancient cultures all over the world include rituals that involve symbolically dieing and becoming reborn.
Maybe killing your old identity, the ideintity that no longer serves you, is necessary in your evolution as a person. Maybe your old identity will always pull you back until you kill it off.
I don’t have the answer to that, but I’ve seen people’s perceived identity of themselves hold them back many times.
I happen to identify as the big guy, which for most people could be perceived as positive.
Whether it’s positive or negative means nothing. Many people identify as the big guy or gal, even if that means they’re actually very over weight.
Some people identify as the person that loves burgers, the person who hates exercise, or the person who can eat more brisket than everyone they know.
Most people aren’t aware of this identity.
Sitting here in Sundance Sqaure has been really eye opening for me. This time for reflection has been invaluable.
When we hustle and go 24/7 we have no time to really stop and take a look at ourselves.
It’s very possible your perceived identity of yourself is the reason why you only stick with your plan to change for 4–5 weeks before something ‘comes up’ to throw you off the rails.
If you’re anything like me, real and honest reflection can be painful and awkward.
Killing off your old identity is even more awkward. But to become something new, you need to shed your old skin. Create some space for the new you to emerge.
Burn yourself to the ground, then rise like the Pheonix from the ashes.
The Jacked Hipster is dedicated to inspiring your personal progress and evolution. We do this through fitness, nutrition and lifestyle changes.
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