It’s okay to be a beginner. I feel like this lesson is being taught to me in a million different ways right now. As humans, we so easily fall into the comfort of routine and knowing our role – whether it be at work, home, school, on a sports team, in a relationship, or in a group of friends.
As we continue to grow and change, so do our roles. We graduate college, start a new job, maybe even move to a new city or state. Change could be as small as picking up a new hobby, or as large as starting a completely new lifestyle.
Embracing a beginner’s mindset
So in the midst of this new transition, we change and accept our new roles. We are beginners again. For a lot of people, myself included, being a beginner is hard. It’s scary to not quite know your place, or to feel as if others are leaps ahead of you. In order to navigate the changes that I am going through at this stage of my life, I have found it so incredibly helpful to use a beginner’s mindset. The beginner’s mindset requires being open to new possibilities and accepting that we’re not going to always understand or do everything perfectly, but that’s okay! When we can look at things from this perspective and drop any expectations of perfection, we can embrace the newness and excitement that every change brings.
Being a beginner with healthy living
I’ve found that I’ve been readjusting my lifestyle to be more balanced and healthy, rethinking my workouts to align with my greater values and what will make me truly feel good. I had a very unhealthy mindset around food and exercise for a large majority of my life. I wanted to control everything in order to look a certain way. While I seemed healthy on the outside, my thoughts were anything but. I needed to make a change in order to fully enjoy my life and the people around me.
Recreating my idea of healthy living is teaching me to be a beginner everyday. I am learning to enjoy lower impact exercises, like walking outside in nature or doing an easy yoga flow, because they bring a sense of peace and clarity, while helping my muscles recover from a more intense session.
I have also been learning to embrace myself as a beginner in higher impact workouts and strength training – Tone it Up workouts are my absolute favorite! – because I steered away from these for a while.
Coming back to harder workouts is a challenge. I have always enjoyed exercising, and it’s mentally and physically challenging to be somewhat of a beginner again. This time around, I am using the beginner’s mindset to stay motivated and excited about each workout. A great thing about being a beginner is that you have SO much motivation! It’s exciting to move up in your weights, or be able to workout for longer than you could have the week before. You start to see changes in your mood, energy levels, and sleep cycles.
If you are starting a new exercise routine or you’re new to working out in general, I encourage you to not be frustrated with being a beginner. Don’t focus on how hard it is to start, or compare yourself to others who are further along in their journey, embrace where you are right now. Notice the little things, the changes in your day, your anticipation of the next workout, finding an exercise or routine that gets you excited every day and feels GOOD. Be present with where you are right now, and push yourself to move closer to your goals each day.
Top 2 tips for enjoying being a beginner
It’s normal to enjoy doing things that you’re really good at, but true progress is made when we push past our comfort zones. Starting something new requires effort and can be intimidating – because what if we fail? What if we’re not good enough?
The truth is that you probable will stumble, you probably won’t be good at first, and that’s totally normal – because you are a beginner! If you’re anything like me, you can get pretty hard on yourself when it comes to being imperfect. It’s great to have high expectations for yourself, but beating yourself up won’t help you make any long term progress and is ultimately a hindrance to growth. This leads me to my top 2 tips for enjoying being a beginner.
Positive self talk – how are you thinking/talking about the new project or skill? Positive self talk can be so powerful. If you’re feeling defeated or tired in a super hard workout class, rather than giving up because you feel like you’re too far behind, give yourself some words of encouragement. Maybe something like: “I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. I may be a beginner at ___ but I’m stronger than I was yesterday, and each time I come to this class I will be stronger.” Having a go-to positive phrase or mantra is so useful to combat the negative thoughts that can creep up when you’re pushing past your comfort zones.
Why statements – why are you making a change in your life? Be honest with yourself about what caused the change to occur, and why you are doing something new. Write this down. Read it and repeat it as often as necessary. You could even post it in your phone notes app to have a reminder wherever you go. If you’re embracing a healthy lifestyle your why statement might be something like this: ” I am choosing to begin a healthy lifestyle because it will help me be present with my friends and family, feel confident in my skin, and live my best life.” Once you nail down a why statement that truly connects with your values, you will have so much motivation to push past the nerves that come with being a beginner.
I’m realizing that regardless of our age or experience level, we will almost always be challenged with new levels of success that require us to be beginners again. I am learning to let go of perfectionism, and embrace the areas of my life that require me to be a beginner, rather than shying away from the uncomfortable feeling of growth. These two tips have been so helpful along the way, and I hope they are helpful in your journey as well!