Before completing my summer detail(s) and heading home, I fully intended on working out every single afternoon following class. I decided to take an academic class during the summer in order to lessen my load during the upcoming academic school year, but it has been a struggle! My Statistics class starts at 0800 and ends at 1140 Monday through Friday. I spend those three hours going over three lessons a day and on Fridays I test on the material I learned (or was supposed to learn) during the week. Thankfully, I only have two more weeks of this, but I am exhausted. Over the past two weeks, I fooled myself by changing into PTs, climbing into bed for (over) an hour or so, and promising myself to wake up in 45 minutes to an hour. I usually end up sleeping until dinnertime! As a result of my behavior, my eating habits are becoming worse, I am sleeping past noon on the weekends, my belly ring is starting to hide from me, and I am starting to break out. The Army forces upon us the notion that those who are physically fit can accomplish any task. While this may be partially true, there are people like me who still (even after 3.5 years of active duty service and 2 years of attending the Academy) struggle with finding ways to push past snoozing my alarm for 15 minutes up until an hour has passed…

Today was a wake-up call for me. After helping out a girlfriend with some techniques for Military Movement,* I convinced her to go on a run with me. I haven’t run since before my wisdom tooth extraction in April, so needless to say, I was dragging ass. I know how to run and I know what I need to do in order to keep myself in “tip top shape,” but I tend to lose motivation after some time because of the other things that (seem to) require my immediate attention. Eating right (or at least somewhat right) and exercising regularly always seems to end up at the very bottom of my To Do List. As I was walking back to the barracks with her, I realized that I need to pick (back) up my healthy habits and quickly.

In any event, I’m one of those people who prefer to work out with another person or a group, but I know that my excuse is past the point of being worn out. If I continue to make lousy excuses for myself on the daily, then my habits will ultimately spin out of control. I want to iterate that I am not considered to be overweight or out of shape according to the Army’s standards (or my own); however, I am not where I want to be. I am not as fast as I want to be and I am not as strong as I want to be, but I refuse to let my thoughts cripple me. I have the same number of hours in a day as Beyoncé, so what is stopping me from being the best version of myself? I remind myself each and every day that I am obtaining my degree and commissioning at an institution that only admits the best worldwide. I don’t say that to brag of my accomplishments thus far, I say it to remind myself of that I am more than a conqueror. I remind myself of that fact because for a long time (and every now and again), I find myself comparing my abilities to that of others.

Outside of West Point, I know that you may find yourself comparing your abilities to that of others. You may not be worried about how fast CDT Smith runs his IOCT, but you may wonder as to how Ashley secured a high-paying internship immediately after graduating from college. You may envy celebrities and/or “Instagram Models” and their lifestyle. You may be intrigued as to how you had to pay your way through school, but John’s parents provided him with everything he needed and more when he started college. You may wonder why Brianna seems to have such a wonderful relationship with her parents, and you haven’t spoken to your mother in over a year’s time. All of those fictitious people may seem to have it all together, but then again they may not. The point that I am trying to emphasize is that you must try your hardest to be the best version of yourself that you can possibly be.

Ultimately, your journey is yours only. You cannot compare someone’s “book” to your “chapter.”

I was that girl, and sometimes I still am. I worked at Subway for 3+ years in order to take some pressure off of my mother when it came to my needs and personal wants. A number of my friends worked because they wanted to, not because they needed to. My mother and I didn’t truly “get along” until I joined the Army at 19, but it seemed as if my friends could talk to their parents about any and everything. I work(ed) hard at maintaining my appearance, but for some reason I cannot get my stomach to be as flat as Aaliyah Jay’s. I can go on and on, but for what?

I want to get stronger, so I will start lifting (again) 2-3 times a week. I want to get faster and lose (at least) 10 pounds by the end of the month, so I will run intervals (and cut out the multiple packs of peanut M&Ms). I want my skin to clear up, so I will stop skipping out on washing my face at night and only drinking a measly 48oz of water per day. Most importantly, I will strive to do better and be better with each passing day! Physical fitness is just a piece of the cake! Did somebody say cake? I may miss the mark, I may decide to take a nap instead of a 3-mile run, I may slip up and compare myself to another, but what I refuse to do is give up on me.

No matter what you’re currently going through or what will happen over the course of time, you are unbreakable. You’re more than capable of getting the job you want, perfecting the craft you’ve been practicing, or losing that 15 pounds. Create a plan, stick to it and become the success you and I both know you can be!

— T

*If you want to know what my friend and I were practicing for, here’s a link: Every cadet MUST past this class in order to graduate! Thankfully, I passed the class my freshman year, so that’s that.