I think that most of us have heard the old adage about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Hard work and a can-do attitude are all that you need to be successful and to achieve your goals. HECK!!! It’s part of the American Dream!
Let’s avoid the politics of what this represents and just focus on the ideology of it all. The American Dream perpetuates the belief that we are all capable of accomplishing our goals as long as we are willing to work hard to get it done. We see this as a matter of effort rather than capability. If someone is not successful, then they must be doing something wrong. They must not be working hard enough. They must simply be looking for the easy way out because we have clearly been taught that failure is a result of our own shortcomings. Excuses are not to be tolerated and are viewed as a sign of weakness.
So what about when you can’t do it? How do you pull yourself up by your bootstraps when your bootstraps are broken? Or what if you haven’t found your bootstraps yet? What if you’ve just decided to buy boots for the very first time and didn’t know to buy ones with straps? What if you just don’t have the motivation to do it on your own?
I think that it is just fine to feel lost and to need help. I even wrote a whole blog post a couple days ago titled “Do You Have Your Exit, No Wait I Mean Fitness Buddy?” about having an accountability partner to encourage you and to help you out when you can’t do it on your own.
However, I do believe that there does come a time when you need to take responsibility for your own actions. You have to be the one that makes yourself do what you don’t want to do, and if you can’t do that, you need to be willing to step up and take the “blame” for not accomplishing what you want.
I have heard just about every excuse in the book; I am a high school teacher after all. If I only had a dollar for every excuse that I’ve heard or told myself regarding school work and/or weight loss, I would not only have enough money to pay for an entire body lift but to also pay someone to do the following.
As glorious as the idea of not being responsible for my own choices is, I know that it isn’t feasible. I need to be the one to resist the temptation. I need to be the one to put on and lace up my shoes and do the work. I need take ownership of my choices. I can either choose to accept who I am currently, or I can make the choice to be different.
I’m not saying that this is easy. It seems really easy, but it is ridiculously difficult. It is hard to change ingrained choices. It is hard to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
So in my mind, pulling myself up by my bootstraps is choosing my hard. I am choosing to do the workouts and to eat the healthy food.
I’m not saying that it is easy. In all honesty, it is anything but easy. However, it is worth it. Self-perseverance and determination resulting in the accomplishment of a goal provides me with one of the greatest feelings in the entire world. I love knowing that when I reach those goals, it is because of me.
So this is the bootstrap mentality. I’m going to do this on my own. It is okay to lean on friends and family for support from time to time, but the ultimate responsibility lies with me. I will pull myself up by my bootstraps and do what needs to be done in order to become the person that I want to be.