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Use it or lose it! Or develop it and claim it!

Updated: Feb 7


As we have moved from the health-generating month of January to February, I'd like to share my experience attending my very first kickboxing class. On a whim I decided to attend, and I joined the class as the only newbie. The instructor, Kgomotso, commenced the session with tremendous passion and energy. I thoroughly enjoyed following her lead and trying out the various moves. My heart was thumping, and the sweat was building, and I thought to myself, “Wow, I’ve got this!” The initial anxiety I felt at the beginning of the class vanished as I jumped and punched the air, feeling pretty agile and quite athletic overall.

 

A few minutes later, Kgomotso enthusiastically shouted into her microphone above the music's din, whooping, but I couldn't make out any of her words! Soon, I realized that everything was unravelling. The number of moves per sequence increased, the pace quadrupled, and the whooping grew louder. I felt like an uncoordinated chicken! I caught sight of myself in the mirror and cringed at just how awkward and weird I looked when compared (yes, I know I shouldn’t compare) to the cool and fabulous teacher and the experienced, comfortable students around me. Despite having been active in aerobics and even participating in a few aerobic marathons in my youth, my complete lack of ability was very sad. I struggled in vain to keep up with the sequences, constantly finding myself on the wrong leg or facing the wrong side whenever I caught a glimpse of the others, or Kgomotso as she demonstrated the movements. Frustrated, I observed my gawky attempts reflecting back from the wall-to-wall mirror and decided to call it quits. I headed out of the class to the step machine, climbing steps with my tail between my legs, feeling gloomy about my lost ability.

 

Upon reflection, I realized that my ability to follow and execute fast movements had been dormant for a LONG time, allowing it to diminish significantly. In short – I had lost it. I couldn’t be resentful about it, that’s what happens. I planned to share this insight through my blog to forewarn and, in turn, forearm you dear readers. It's well and good to let go of habits that no longer serve you. It’s even fine to let go of skills you no longer need, however, it's crucial to be intentional and aware of these choices so that you don't unexpectedly find yourself in need of a skill only to discover it has vanished. I know my brain is neuroplastic and so I know that with enough effort I can revive these skills if I so choose. I'm grateful that it's not a critical like my balance, focus, memory, my social skills or another critical ability that I've allowed to dwindle.

 

This story has the potential to guide you in a few ways, and I hope you will let it serve you. Take a moment to reflect with a pen and paper or in conversation with a friend. Consider the skills that you most need and treasure, then evaluate if they are being actively developed and utilized enough to keep them current and alive. Take another page in your journal or another coffee with your mate (or self) and think about what you would love to abstain from, and consequently let go of. Maybe it's your coffee habit ☺️, or your daily glass of wine instead? Maybe it involves breaking the habit of speaking on, or checking your cell while driving (an exact habit I am on the verge of shedding!). It could also be about refraining from watching Netflix or scrolling on your phone just before bedtime, opting for a screen detox to ensure a restful night's sleep. Alternatively, it might be kicking the habit of hitting the snooze button in the morning, thereby missing out on that precious and vital morning routine that sets you up for a successful day. Remember, what you don't actively use, you lose!


Now let's think about what you don't want to let go of and lose...

 

I know what you DO need:

 

1.     Your muscle strength and flexibility.

2.     Your balance and reflexes.

 

And to keep all of these skills and capacities, you need to move!

 

3.     Your ability to focus, to figure out complex problems and build strategies.

4.     You need to plan and remember, observe and listen.

 

And for all of these capacities and capabilities, you need to use your brain - to read, learn, try new things and engage with a variety of topics and conversations.

 

5.     Your inter-personal skills and conversation ability

 

And for these you need to socialize!

 

May February (the month of "love", in this instance self love), be a month of skills development and unhelpful habit shedding!

 

I wish you vibrant, glowing health.

 

Love,

Sue and the team

 

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