Kati’s Fit Kit
Fitness Lessons from “It’s a Wonderful Life”
Almost every December, I watch Frank Capra’s classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life”. It’s probably my favorite movie of all time. If you’ve never seen the movie (you should definitely watch it!!) the story centers around George Bailey, living in the small town of Bedford Falls. We watch George grow from a boy into a man with his own family, having taken over the family business, the Bailey Building & Loan. He experiences frustrations that most of us have at one point or another – dreams unrealized, a job we didn’t necessarily want, financial hardship. As difficulties keep piling up during a particularly trying time, George decides the world would be better off without him, and attempts to take his own life. He is saved by his guardian angel Clarence, and given the opportunity to see what the world would really be like if he had never lived.
So what does all this have to do with training? Here are three lessons from the film, and how they apply to your health and fitness:
1. Everything we do has the power to affect others. “Each man’s life touches so many other lives,” Clarence explains to George. “When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Many of the seemingly inconsequential things George does have a dramatic effect to improve the lives of others in town, and without him there, those people have a much harder time. When you take time to prioritize exercising and eating right, you are keeping yourself healthy and strong, not just for yourself, but for family and friends. Especially at this time of the year with so much to do, it can seem selfish to take this time for yourself, but it’s actually quite the opposite. We all want our loved ones to be in good health, and to be around as long as possible. Even outside of your close circle, there are endless ways that being your best self can make a positive impact… The healthier you are, the more you have to share with the world around you.
2. We should learn to appreciate what we have without comparing our lives to others. George was surrounded by people who, in his mind, were more successful than him and had opportunities he didn’t. His brother was a war hero, his friend moved to the big city to make his fortune, but George never got the chance to leave Bedford Falls. In terms of fitness, we are constantly being shown that we aren’t good enough. From airbrushed photos in magazines, to posts on social media, to YouTube videos, to friends who have been training for years ahead of us… it’s easy to feel like everyone is already stronger, more shredded, looks better, and can do cooler stuff than us. We are so behind the game we will never measure up. Yes, it can be inspiring to look at other people’s accomplishments – humans are capable of some awesome things! But your own personal story is uniquely yours – and it’s amazing! Wherever you are in your current fitness journey, make sure you give yourself credit for where you have come from, enjoy where you are at now, and be inspired by the possibilities ahead of you.
3. Life is not just about doing extraordinary things, but doing small things in an extraordinary way. As a young man, George had big dreams to travel the world and become an architect, but life takes him in a different, seemingly more mundane direction. When Clarence shows him how the world would be without him, not only does he get the chance to see the impact he has on others, he also comes to realize how much he loves the life he has. He sees how precious even the “small”, “boring” or “frustrating” tasks of his daily life truly are. In your training, not everyday is going to feel amazing, or have you hitting a new PR, or conquering a challenge. There will be days when you feel tired, have minor aches, feel uninspired, feel frustrated, or have setbacks. Progress and accomplishments don’t come just from the days you feel ready to dominate your training, but from showing up on all those other days and choosing to give your best to whatever you can do that day.
We hope you all enjoy a beautiful holiday season, and have time to reflect and appreciate your wonderful life!
Strength, love and joy!