I always believed that a community is simply a term to describe the area that you lived in. In my limited time in the blogging world, I have come to respect the fact that the word, community, means so much more than just a grouping of similarly coloured houses.

I decided to make a life change today. I decided that it was time for me to stop punishing my body with junk and a lack of exercise, in order to create a healthier version of me. Let’s call it Me 2.0. There were a handful of things that pushed me towards this decision today, none of which I will be discussing here. The point is that I got suddenly motivated and had no idea where to begin. I’ve had this sudden burst of motivation in the past and it always turned out the same; I would tell myself I was going to the gym but when the time came to actually do it, I would find any excuse to bail out. Then I would eat chips.

Today was different though. I innocently tweeted my intention to hit the gym for the first time in years and something funny happened. Encouragement. From complete strangers. There were no less than 10 tweets from people I have associated with online, each pushing me towards completing a goal I have failed to achieve so many times before. It was probably the single coolest thing that has happened to me on Twitter so far, and that includes the time Wil Wheaton scolded me.

And I did it, too. I took all the messages of encouragement, got my ass to the gym and it felt great! When I finished my workout, I sat and wondered why it took me so long to finally do this. It wasn’t that hard and it was made easier by the fact that I was reading the tweets coming in as I was doing it. Community. That’s what helped me get over the first hurdle in creating a better version of myself, for myself and my family. I shared all of those messages to illustrate my point and to my surprise, I received more messages from people who just needed to hear the encouragement, even if it wasn’t intended for them.

This new online community I have found is something that has started to transform my life. That might sound like an exaggeration but those who are willing participants in it will know exactly what I am talking about. It’s one of things where you absolutely get what you put into it and I have decided that I am all in. If a simple tweet of encouragement can make someone feel the way it did for me today, imagine the effect of 10 or 20 or 100 would have. It’s something to think about the next time you see someone innocently posting about a goal, hope or dream, while secretly looking for support.

Community is important. It’s what drives us to be better to each other. It’s what motivates and inspires us to do the things we didn’t believe we could do. I’m incredibly thankful for having found such a great community of people and can’t wait to pay forward all the kindness that has been given to me thus far. Thank You all.

29 replies
  1. Julie
    Julie says:

    Good job! Glad to hear you put the word out there and that you got to the gym.. I find accountabilityis a great motivator. I guess thats why the running room groups are so great. You should get a work out friend to go too the gym with it can motivate you even more. This may sound silly but a lot of times I will tweet that I plan on doing something specific *like going through the kids clothes or cleanng the basement* and if Iddon’t get to it I feel like I let myself down especially if I have had a few tweeters ask or encourage me to do it. Anyway its great when you can show how something like twitter can be used in such a positive way. WTG!! 🙂

  2. daniel
    daniel says:

    Sometimes a community offers that little push you need to make a seemingly small change that results in a big change. Sometimes it offers up the support we are missing in other areas. Don’t neglect the community, whatever shape it takes.

    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      I can’t even think about where I would be right now without the encouragement from the online community. Probably still locked in some half depressed state and feeling sorry for myself.

  3. MultiTestingMom
    MultiTestingMom says:

    You CAN do this! Many of us stuggle with being over weight, not being healthy etc. – the online community is filled with encouragment – it is so awesome!

    I’m on this journey with you, my friend. I’ll have your back if you have mine.

    If you ever need a word of “you can do this”, you know where to find me! AND, I know I can count on you for the same!

  4. Schmutzie
    Schmutzie says:

    I have found an incredible sense of community online, and it has spurred me on to become a better me, too. Anyone who says you can’t make real friends online hasn’t been where I have for almost ten years!

    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      I always laugh when someone says, “I don’t need to know what someone had for lunch”, that’s why I don’t use social media. No clue what they are missing out on.

  5. Brent Almond
    Brent Almond says:

    I’m both glad and pissed I read this. Glad because I’ve needed a reboot (or rather a re-re-reboot. Done this more times than I care to think about.) and pissed because now I gotta do it.

    Look for my Tweets and please encourage the hell out of me. My 3 year old, my husband, and my closet full of cool clothes thank you in advance.

  6. Tracey
    Tracey says:

    I missed the Tweet too but WAY TO GO! That was me a year ago, and the support and encouragement is frankly what made a HUGE difference in my journey this time around! You DO feel accountable or obligated when people are waiting to hear! Im not on Twitter as much as someone else we both know (cough, Chris!) but I’ll keep an eye out and the support a flowin! 🙂

    • Chris Read
      Chris Read says:

      Thanks, Tracey! I feel partially responsible for Chris’ increased Twitter presence but I think it will lead him to good places with his work, so I think it evens out ;D


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] wish I could pinpoint what has changed to keep me motivated this time around after many failed attempts, because it certainly hasn’t been easy. I have started going to the gym 2-3 times a week and […]

  2. […] After all, I have already written a number of times about how I was finally committing to creating a better, healthier life for myself, and saying it makes it so, right? Apparently it takes more than words to make something […]

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