Ever think about doing something, like taking a photography class or writing your first novel, only to somehow find yourself putting it off for another day or reasoning with yourself why now isn’t a good time? We all have experienced that with at least one thing in our lives. We imagine how exciting it would be if we were in the class we potentially want to take or typing out the first few words of your dream novel on your computer. Then we suddenly dismiss the idea just as quickly as we conjured the image in our head out of fear, doubt, or just laziness. It’s times like these where we really need to stop talking ourselves out of doing something and just do it.
I’ve been the worse offender of talking myself out of things that have always sparked my interest, but I would never follow through on in the past. Sometimes the excuses I had were legitimate. Half the time it would be a financial issue. “Oh, I can’t register for that class because I don’t have the money.” The sad truth is if there’s any class or activity you want to take on your spare time, it will almost always cost you money. The other half would be my excuses being based on fear.
Fear is the biggest factor in keeping you from taking any sort of action. It’s a natural response system we all have to try and protect us from what our mind believes is a danger or a threat to us. Fear has its place and function to keep us from valid harm, but those other times just serve as an irrational, Chicken Little of overreaction to something that isn’t all that scary when you think about it.
For the longest time, I’ve been wanting to take a fitness, martial arts type class that would keep me in shape and be fun to do at the same time. I’d flirt with the idea often, but I never really did anything about it. Money certainly wasn’t the issue for me as it had been in the past, but the thought of actually doing something new and doing it alone scared the hell out of me.
There was a moment in my life, a clarity moment, when I felt like I needed to do something different. I was in a desperate need of a change from the safe, mundane little life I carved out for myself. After a friend praised the kickboxing class she was taking, I decided this was exactly what I’ve been looking for and enrolled for three trial classes. Approaching a year of taking kickboxing, it became one of the best decisions I ever made for myself when I signed up for full classes last year.
In the beginning, I felt really uncomfortable and unsure of myself. Watching all the people in class, at varying levels of experience and skill, I couldn’t help but think, “What did I get myself into?” I felt really shy, self-conscious, and the overwhelming fear of embarrassing myself when I took the trial classes. It helped that the trainers at the kickboxing studio were really friendly and encouraging when you start out. Just jumping in there and giving it all you’ve got was enough to shake off all the fear and insecurities I felt in the beginning. If there’s one valuable thing kickboxing has given me, aside from a more toned body and the proper way to punch and kick someone in the face should I need to (which I hope I won’t need to use in a real life situation), it’s confidence.
I may have been doing kickboxing for almost a year, but I wouldn’t boast that I’m the best at it. I often notice when I could do much better at a kick or I’m stumbling over one move I still haven’t quite perfected, but I remind myself that you’re doing your best and that’s enough. Besides, I’m not trying to be Chun-Li here but that would be awesome if I ever reached her level of kickassery! What’s important is how I feel after I take each class and feeling like I can conquer anything I take on. I’m kicking fear in the face!
I recognized this year alone how, as cliche as this sounds, you’ve only got one life to live. You have to make the most of it if you want to be able to look back on the life you’ve led and feel proud of what you have done. We can’t let fear or excuses stop us from doing the very things that will help us grow, expand, and enrich our lives. If it’s a choice between playing it safe all the time or taking a leap of faith, I rather jump. You never truly know what you’re capable of until you swallow your fears and anxieties and just do it. It may just change your life for the better.