It won’t have escaped your notice that it’s Halloween. And Halloween is so hot right now. It wasn’t even on the radar when I was a little girl (sometime ago admittedly). But it’s absolutely massive now and us Brits can’t seem to get enough of it. But stretch beyond the costumes, the sugar-rush and the pumpkin explosion, what is Halloween actually good for? Well it can scare us into pushing ourselves that bit further for a start. Boo.
Eyeing up the costumes hanging with anticipation in my children’s bedrooms, it got me thinking how Halloween can be a metaphor for grown-ups on facing fears, pushing boundaries and savouring the sense of satisfaction that brings. Abracadabra, here’s how:
1) Defeat your fitness nemesis
Batman and The Joker. Superman and Lex Luther. A nemesis isn’t just the preserve of comic books. They relate to exercise too. My nemesis is Teaser. It’s such a hard move for my body to attain with grace. For a while I chose to ignore it and focused my energies on advancing exercises my body relished and quite frankly looked better doing. But what’s a great character without a great adversary? And what would Wonder Woman do? She’d go head-to-head with her baddie. And so did I. Now Teaser is no longer my undefeatable character that’s impossible to overcome. I’ve re-classified it as ‘work-in-progress’. It’s so satisfying making gains and giving my body what it needs more of instead of cowering away.
2) Screw you, Fear
Entering any new territory outside your fitness comfort zone can be a scary prospect. To first-timers and newbies, entering a Pilates studio is a daunting experience. All those machines: springs, straps, beds and bars. You fear you’ll never get to grips with it and you feel vulnerable. Or maybe you get hooked on one bit of kit – Reformer: you’re guilty as charged – that you stay put fearing no other equipment can rival the experience. Insider knowledge: they all do and what’s better, they’ll offer you something different. We all know it’s easier to stay within the boundaries of where we feel secure than face the fear of going beyond them. But linger there too long and we lose out on the opportunity to seize new opportunities, grow stronger and make transformational changes to our bodies and minds.
3) Exercise your demons
“Hello, who’s calling, please?” Is it by any chance your pesky, persistent, irrational voices swirling loudly around your head with self-doubt and negative chatter? That self doubt rarely has anything to do with reality or actual fact. Damn those inner demons for holding us back and stopping us reach our potential. Going back to my corporate days, it’s something that seems to plague so many of us females. Including the most successful, high-achieving, inspiring female leaders that I looked up to and admired for their self-confidence. Perhaps that’s why there are so few women compared to men at the top? So how do we silence our inner demons that tell us that we can’t? The awesomely inspiring Arianna Huffington (named as one of Forbes’ most Influential Women in Media) has useful advice to scare them away: “It was only when I began observing the critical voices inside me rather than giving in to them that I could start to take control over them. Instead of being drained by the negative self-talk, I found myself amused by it the way you are by a naughty child.”
Which brings us right back to the kids, the costumes and the spooks. What if we chose to embrace all the things we’re afraid of with the same bring-it-on attitude that children approach the fear of Halloween? Screw you, fear. Nevermind the hocus-pocus, it’s all about the hocus-focus. Halloween, thanks for the reminder to keep pushing our limits and go for the gains.