When a kick in the pants is mandatory


I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the things I’m really working on is trying to get into shape. In high school, I was always active – gymnastics, dance team. But when I hit college – boom, full stop. Just go to the gym? Just to exercise? With no competition to prepare for? No team of girls to hang out with? No skills to learn? Thank you. But, no thank you.

Queue sedentary lifestyle fueled by some of the most delicious (and terrible for you) junk food.

My saving grace was that my college campus was huge and I walked everywhere. It wasn’t uncommon to get a few miles in daily, just in getting to class and work. Once I graduated, though, that built in movement went to the wayside. Suddenly, I was at a desk 8+ hours a day, driving back and forth to get to that desk and sitting on the couch indulging in Netflix and pizza at night.

Fast-forward five years to an ill-fated day five weeks ago.

After about six months of being frustrated because my clothes weren’t fitting, I bit the bullet and signed up to work out with a personal trainer. Now, I had worked out with a trainer before and, while I loved the gal I worked out with, I can’t say that I was super committed to it. I didn’t really have weight to lose, wasn’t training for anything specific – more or less, working out with her had been a way to make sure I was getting in the gym once a week (even if that wasn’t enough to make a huge difference).

I knew from the moment I met my new trainer, though, that this was going to be different. First things first, she put me on the scale.


I had gained 15 pounds since the last time I’d been weighed, probably a year earlier. How was this possible?! I’d been the same weight roughly (through the grace of god or good metabolism – whatever) since pretty much high school. This was not good.

But as I thought about it more, I came to realize I was lucky it had only been 15 pounds and that I’d gotten off easy for so long. I didn’t move. I didn’t exercise. I ate nothing but junk food. I’d done this to myself.

And that 15 seconds on the scale was enough to give me a swift kick in the pants.

My trainer is one tough cookie, and I’m so thankful for that. In the last five weeks since that ill-fated moment, I’ve been eating better than I ever have and working out 4-5 times a week. I’m feeling better about myself and have finally gotten to that point where you’re like, “Oh, this is what people mean when they say that being in better shape gives you more energy.”


When you need a kick in the pants

I tell this story not to toot my own horn about getting in shape – there’s plenty of those stories out there if you want them. Rather, I tell this story to show that there are times when the only way you’re going to make a change is when you get an overwhelming, shocking, unexpected kick in the pants.

Ever have one of those?

Those kick in the pants moments often come when you’ve been coasting for too long. Everything’s been just fine. No need to put in extra effort because, well, it’s no big deal and you’re alright with where you are.

And then you have a “Holy $***!” moment.

Maybe you didn’t get the promotion you thought was so obviously coming your way. Maybe you get handed divorce papers when you thought your marriage was perfectly fine. Maybe you have some sort of health emergency.

Whatever it is, that kick in the pants is often the only thing jarring enough to wake you up to the reality you’ve been living in. And then there are two questions you’ve got to ask yourself:

  1. How the heck did I get here?
  2. What am I going to do about it?

Now, a lot of people hang out in question one. And it’s great to be self-aware enough to realize how you got to this point so you don’t repeat past mistakes. But it’s question 2 that’s the difference maker. Only those who make a choice to do something about it have the ability to turn their kick in the pants moment into a life changing opportunity.

For me, the kick was was gaining 15 pounds without even realizing it. I had to make a choice then and there to keep going like I had been and let that number creep up to 20, 25, 30 pounds or make some changes now to feel better about myself in the long run. I don’t know what your kick is. But whatever it might be, ask yourself – am I going to take advantage of this swift kick, or keep getting knocked down until it’s too hard to get up?


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