3 key steps to becoming an athlete even if you’ve never been one

Can I tell you a story about Megan?

Image: Megan Hyatt Miller courtesy of Baker Publishing Group

Megan Hyatt Miller is a mom of five, including an adopted baby girl and two boys from Uganda. She’s also the CEO of her father’s high-powered business and podcast co-host and author. She has taken on many roles throughout her life, but none of her titles have ever included the word “athlete.” 

However, last year she decided she wanted to become healthier and stronger. As she thought about her future self, she decided she’d like to be an athlete though she’d never been one before. To do so, she committed herself to completing a Tough Mudder race in November 2021. 

You may be wondering: How do you just decide to be an athlete if you’ve never been one

Who can be an athlete? 

Let’s first define the term athlete. Merriam-Webster defines an athlete as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.”


Athletes are people with strength, agility, and stamina. When I think of someone who has these qualities, I think of a mom. 

Sounds like a mother I affectionately call a #badathmother (badass athlete mother). 

Nike has tuned into the fact that moms can be athletes, even while pregnant. The athletic apparel company introduced a new maternity line in September 2020. 


Their amazing new ad pays tribute to “TheToughest Athletes.”


What is an athlete? Someone who moves? Sounds like you,” says the narrator in the ad featuring pregnant and breastfeeding moms including Serena Williams, Alex Morgan, Perri Edwards, Bianca Williams, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Nia Ali. 

“Someone who gets it done, no matter what? You do that. Someone who listens to her body. Also you. Someone who defies gravity. You. Someone who deals with the pain, hits her limit, and pushes past it. Pushing, pushing, pushing. Someone who earns every single win. You, you, you. So can you be an athlete? If you aren’t, no one is.”

Hey, momma. If you aren’t an athlete, no one is


1. See it.

The first step in becoming an athlete is to see yourself as one. 


Let’s get back to Megan. She explains this concept in the Lead to Win podcast, episode #156, Why Your Future Self is Key to Goal Achievement. If you want to hear it for yourself, go take a listen here.


You must create a compelling vision of who you want to become. Even if your current self is not athletic, even if you’ve never been an athlete, it’s never too late to start. Your future self can be an athlete if you can see her as one.


“My future self is doing some hard-core stuff,” Megan said. “I really want to feel strong. I want to feel tough. I have this daughter we adopted who’s only a year and a half old. I’m 40. You can do the math. My kids often remind me how old I’m going to be when she’s 20. You know, I have to be around and ready for the future.” 


What do you see yourself doing in the future to stay strong and agile? If you can see it, you can start to believe it. 


2. Believe it.

The second step to becoming an athlete is to believe you’re one. 


As Megan said, “I’m never going to become an athlete if my story is ‘I’m not an athlete.’”

Change your narrative and change your life. Behavior is shaped by identity. So, if you believe you’re an athlete, you start acting like one. And as you start behaving like an athlete, you bolster your belief. It’s an upward spiral. 


You don’t have to run a marathon to call yourself a runner. If you run, you’re a runner. If you hike, you’re a hiker. If you swim, you’re a swimmer. It’s the same for any activity or sport. 


Start to tell yourself and others you’re an athlete.

“Literally repeat that to yourself,” Megan said, “I’m an athlete. I’m becoming an athlete. I have this vision. I’m reading about that every day, and I’m thinking about it. That’s a big part of tricking my brain into doing things in a way that’s easier than brute force, because your brain really wants to bring your actions into congruence.” 

3. Act like it.

The third step to becoming an athlete, even if you’ve never been one before, is to act like it. 


Once you see and believe it, you start to act like it. You start doing the activity consistently and the rest of your life starts to support that action. For example, you may begin paying more attention to how your nutrition and sleep support your new athletic identity. 


Megan started to imagine herself as someone who had already completed the Tough Mudder. She started to wonder how the decisions she was making each day about nutrition and self-care were affecting her body’s ability to be athletic. She started planning her meals and working out at the same time every day. 


“It’s not really a decision,” Megan said about her routine. “Every day, that’s just the time of day I do it. I don’t have to think about it.” 

Once your activity becomes consistent you start to see improvement and it becomes more enjoyable. The upward spiral continues. 

To recap, you can become an athlete even if you’ve never been one. Simply start to see it, believe it, and act on it. 


If you’ve never seen yourself as an athlete and you’d like to become one, but need more support, I specialize in helping moms believe bigger for themselves. I’d be happy to walk you through the steps in a complimentary call. Go ahead and contact me here


If you can see yourself as an athlete, but don’t have any goals to go after, I created this free Slump Solution worksheet with 10 steps you can use immediately to unlock athletic goals that *actually* motivate you. You can find it here. 


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