Around the age of 6, I first learned never to say the words “I can’t.” I remember that day just like it was yesterday. While practicing a maneuver on the uneven bars, my gymnastics’ coach overheard me say “I can’t do this.” She immediately responded in a sharp tone telling me to never say I couldn’t do something. It’s amazing the impact those words have had on my life; those words have stuck with me to this day.
The same principle applies when you are told that you can’t do something. Don’t allow other people to influence your life and determine outcomes you can control. Years ago, while running across a school cross walk, I was hit by a car. The aftermath of the accident is still a blur, but, after several medical evaluations it was determined that I had suffered a fracture of my right femoral head. Each doctor told me that I would never be able to run again. Ultimately, after extensive physical therapy and hard work, I proved the cynics wrong and returned to my running regimen.
What impact do words play in the Pilates Method?
- I can’t do Pilates because it’s for girls.
- I can’t do Pilates because I am not a dancer.
- I can’t do Pilates because I am not flexible.
- I can’t do Pilates because I don’t have time.
- I can’t do that Pilates move.
- I can’t do what the instructor is telling me to do.
I am positive there are many more “I can’t” statements you have heard in regards to Pilates. The real issue is the negative connotation of the phrase “I can’t.” Have you ever considered the idea that our thoughts have an effect on our well-being? Positive thoughts will improve your overall well-being while negative thoughts have an opposing effect. My challenge for you is to make an effort to be aware of negative patterns in your word choices and, instead, create positive patterns by using phrases such as “I can.”
- I can’t do Pilates because it’s for girls. The Pilates Method was developed by a man, Joseph Pilates. Pilates developed many of The Pilates Method exercises around the structure of the male body. He ultimately wanted men to practice his exercise method.
- I can’t do Pilates because I am not a dancer. The Pilates Method was not initially developed for dancers. Joseph Pilates began teaching his method in the Isle of Man for military personal. It was not until Pilates opened a studio in New York that dancers discovered this amazing exercise program.
- I can’t do Pilates because I am not flexible. The Pilates Method is designed to meet the needs of all people. For individuals that are over flexible, the exercises are tailored to improve stability. For people that need to improve flexibility, the work is tailored to improve mobility. The beauty of The Pilates Method is there is NO one-way to perform the program. The Pilates Method meets each individual’s needs through appropriate modifications.
- I can’t do Pilates because I don’t have time. Pilates mat work can be performed anywhere for any amount of time. So, why not wake up 10 minutes earlier and start your day doing a little Pilates mat work? I promise, making the effort will change your life.
- I can’t do that Pilates move. We all have moves that challenge our abilities but, with practice, patience, and persistence anything is possible.
- I can’t do what the instructor is telling me to do. Do the best you can. Every day will be different. Some days our bodies will surprise us and we can do anything we try and other days our body tells us to back off. Listen to your body and do the best you can. NO one is perfect and, I believe that once someone feels as though they know it all, they actually know nothing.
These I CAN’T statements are part of our lives, but they shouldn’t hold you back. Next time you find yourself in an “I CAN’T” frame of mind, stop and turn that statement around into “I CAN” and prove to yourself that anything is possible.