International Women’s Day (IWD) is a worldwide celebration of women’s achievements to raise awareness of the ongoing push for gender parity.
This year’s campaign theme – #pressforprogress –encourages people to remain motivated and to take action in circumstances where gender parity is predicted to be another 200 years away. Together with movements like #Metoo and #Timesup, there is a growing global momentum for gender parity.
What it means to Breaking Ballet
99% of Breaking Ballet’s clients are women (there are a few men who are brave enough to take on the challenge) and I am encouraged and inspired by all of them who are empowered to become stronger in both body and mind. Ballet is a challenging discipline and it truly is the most rewarding feeling for me to see changes in the physical and mental wellbeing of my clients and their enjoying the journey as well. The perceived barriers preventing people from even trying a ballet workout are definitely being broken and I am very proud of that.
I recently talked to the Breaking Ballet members about the key steps towards reaching their fitness goals. One of the most important is realism. Your goals HAVE to be realistic. Otherwise, they are not achievable and you are striving for something that is inevitably going to leave you feeling disheartened.
Setting realistic goals means accepting your body as it is at this moment and setting goals that are appropriate for who you are and where your body is, physically. Natural changes in your body will of course occur over time. From childhood to adolescence and from adolescence into your 20s and 30s, your body will shift in its appearance, its ability to perform certain movements and its toleration of particular pursuits. Once you hit 40, things change again. Your metabolism changes and you put on weight more easily. As a consequence you may need to fuel your body differently in order to reduce your calorie intake. You need to strengthen your core to support your lower back and incorporate more exercise into your weekly routine.
This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your body, or that you should feel ashamed, lacking in confidence, or fearful of being judged by others. On the contrary, you need to embrace your unique beauty all the more and, if that is what you want, to maximize its evolving potential.
We are bombarded with images of the latest Instagram celebrities and waif-like models in magazines. We are told we can “get a bikini body in 7 days” and weight loss is often the focus of many exercise regimes. But we are not all the same and life would be very dull if we were. Instead, we should focus on feeling stronger, healthier and happier. Confidence and good posture will make you look slimmer and taller anyway!
Rather than setting goals of weight loss, striving for smaller hips or longer legs (anatomically impossible by the way), or any number of goals you have set yourself as a consequence of comparing your body to others, instead focus on fine-tuning what you already have. If you can take control of your outer self you will feel empowered and you will be an inspiration to women around you. If you have a daughter, let her hear how you celebrate your uniquely beautiful body. Show her how you take small steps every day to become stronger, more vibrant, more sculpted, no matter what your shape. A woman’s body is something to be appreciated in its natural form and it is unhelpful to perpetuate the stereotypes of perfection that create unrealistic expectations and goals for women and men. Maximise the body you have, so you can live long to celebrate her body as it goes through the same changes you have experienced.
“In this day and age, you have to have a positive view of yourself. You have to try and not be anyone else.”
Misty Copeland, Principal Dancer with American Ballet Theatre
It’s time to write your own story
What will you do this week to keep you feeling stronger and more confident than ever? What are you going to do to #pressforprogress in your own life?
Did you know it takes 66 days on average to change a habit*. This average is based on a range of between 18 and 254 days. Some of us take longer to change our habits than others. Fact. So forget the bikini body in 7 days. Be patient. Each small step towards your goal is progress. Celebrate those small wins. They are taking you on a journey towards changing habits of a lifetime and achieving the lifestyle you deserve and aspire to.
If you need some inspiration, the IWD website has a number of ways you can #pressforprogress. Click here to find out and get involved.
For more information about the Breaking Ballet monthly membership click here.
”How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world,”
European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 40 Issue 6, Phillippa Lally, 16 July 2009