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Change your life…

September 22, 2009

“Change the metaphors in your life  and your life will change.” – Oz Swallows (1978)

This is one of those simple statements that goes so deep.  For me, it is one of those thoughts that you go back and re-examine as you start to get fitter and fitter.  When it comes to fitness, metaphors are remarkably important.  In fact, in most things in your life that take a long time to achieve and require long term focus, metaphors can be very important.

My favorite metaphor for getting fit is, ‘This is a marathon, not a sprint’.  I have run short distances (5k and less) and I have run long distances (21.1k).  I understand how I approach both of these differently.  I understand the differences in the frenetic, hard burst activities like running 5k and the mind set it requires, and the slow, grinding activities like running 21.1k and the mind set that requires.  I have tried in past to get fit in short bursts and it didn’t work.  I have since tried and succeeded at getting fit by changing the way I look at fitness.  I need to remind myself though, that this is a marathon and not a sprint because I keep wanting to get fit quickly.  I think everyone does.  I keep pushing myself too hard and risk burning out or getting disappointed.  That is how my favorite metaphor works for me.  I know that if I slowly plug away at training for a marathon, I will eventually succeed in running a marathon.  I know that now.  I also know that if I make some small meaningful changes, work at those, master them, and then add some more small meaningful changes, I will eventually be fit.

“You don’t see something until you have the right metaphor to let you perceive it.” -Thomas Kuhn

But metaphors go much deeper than this.  When I think of my recent post about imagining our bodies as houses and the current group of experts as master builders, I can clearly see just how foolish we are being, and just how little we know about getting fit in our current society.

Think about how changing your metaphors on fitness could help you get fit, this next quote is taken from this blog.

“Metaphors are important to be aware of, because they aren’t just the stuff of assigned papers in English. We often think, decide, and plan based on metaphorical assumptions of which we may not be fully aware.

One interesting link below is to a study that looked at the metaphors college students used to describe how they learned in lecture classes (Tape Recorder, Stenographer, Sponge, Reporter, etc.). The metaphors were fairly predictive of student performance, raising the issue that metaphors could constrain as well as facilitate students’ approaches to learning.”

“Teaching is the art of analogy” -Isaac Asimov

If teaching is the art of analogy, then learning is finding the right analogy for you.  What analogies do you use for fitness?  Are you aware of what they are?  I use the analogy of building a house quite often.  When I am thinking of all of the facets to fitness I find this a great analogy as there are so many parts to building a house.  Planning, design, execution, hard work, you name it.

As well, what analogies do you think of with weight gain and weight loss.  I often think of it as a tub with the tap on (food coming in) and the drain open (energy burned).  I know this is a poor analogy, and I am working on a better one.  What analogies do you use?

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 22, 2009 9:59 pm

    Hummm.. I’m going to think about this one.. for me my training I could equate to modeling with clay.. but I will give this more thought.. thanks for the thoughtful post! From one fitness blogger to another, wanted to ‘reach out’ and say hi… my blog – a relatively new one – is

    Would love for you to check it out sometime.. welcome any constructive feedback in addition to understanding if there’s anything I could do for you in return 🙂 PS are you on facebook? would be great to connect there, too! Tracy

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