“I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
– Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali was one of the most important figures of the 20th century. He achieved a lot in his 74 years of life. He was 56-5 in his boxing career. He was also a mammoth figure of his time, athletically, socially, and culturally.
One thing Ali’s detractors said throughout his life was that he lacked humility. They would say that he was an arrogant, boastful man. Boastful is one way to put it. I would argue, though, that Ali did not lack humility. He genuinely believed—he knew—exactly who he was and what he could do. He definitely lacked stoicism, but he made up for that by oozing with self-confidence and swagger.
Ali wasn’t a stranger to hard work. He ensured that his tremendous talent and skill would back up every piece of trash-talking, every preemptive declaration of victory. You don’t call somebody with the punching power of George Foreman ‘dumb’ unless you know you can dodge the punches.
Muhammad Ali’s confidence didn’t just appear overnight. He had to work hard at it by celebrating himself. As the quote goes, he said he was the greatest before he knew it.
Believe in Yourself
If you aren’t the greatest yet, how do you start to believe you are? People definitely aren’t going to tell you something that they don’t think is true. That’s where self-affirmation comes in. You need to believe you can do something before you can do it. You need to be so used to believing it that you know you can do it.
It’s definitely going to feel weird to do it, but try standing in the mirror and telling yourself you can achieve your goals. Say it a few times until you start to feel comfortable, then go about your day with that thought in your mind.
Be Proud of How Far You’ve Come
Wherever you are now, you’re a different person than you were five years ago, last year, and even last week. You are constantly changing all the time. If you’re on the right path, then you can be proud of those changes now. If you view the changes you’ve seen in your life as negative, then you can be proud of who you are going to be. Finding self-awareness is important in celebrating who you are. You are you and you are unique. There is nobody who has been through the struggles that you have.
It’s a lot easier to celebrate changes when you mark down progress. A great way to do this for fitness that you’ve probably heard of is progress photos. I cannot stress how great it is to have something tangible on which you can visibly see the changes you’ve been working for.
If you’re experienced and you’re taking your first progress photo, you can still celebrate how great you currently are and then set additional goals. If you’re just starting your journey, you may not feel great about your first progress photos. At that point, it’s important to remember and be happy that you are at the beginning of something great. Pretty soon, you’ll be on your way to your dreams.
Look Forward to the Future
When you start anything, it’s very tempting to get lost in the new thing you’re doing. It’s important to remember why you’re doing it. Get excited! There is nothing wrong with feeling happy about eventually reaching your goal, even if you’re not quite there yet. There’s a reason you want to achieve those goals. Celebrate your reason.
Plan out times to acknowledge your progress. Maybe it’s with a progress photo, or perhaps you just take a good long look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you look. Find some way to keep yourself excited for what is to come. It’ll keep you motivated and take your confidence to the moon. Before you know it, you’ll be the greatest you that can be.
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