True statement? ... I suppose it depends on what we are referring to. In the world of fitness, for most people trying to get back into it, I think it is important to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare. The tortoise always wins... Why? He didn’t go big ... he went slow and steady... and he won the race. However, all too often, I see people (particularly who have been out of the fitness game for a while) jump in Hare style, going big from day one or setting ‘go big’ goals, only to find him/herself back at square one moments, days, or weeks later. Why is this? We have been unmotivated for weeks or even months, haven’t worked out or lifted a thing, barely ourself off the couch. Suddenly we get this overwhelming sense of motivation and we are ready to make changes. So we get up, get super excited, and hit the gym... maybe A LOT... and hard... and the thing is... you can’t go from 0-100 without acceleration... When we try to go big too fast in the world of fitness, I see one of two things always happen. 1. We end up hurt...excessively sore or injured, and are left to deal with yet another setback - right back on the couch, until the next gust of motivation sinks in. OR 2. We set goals so large that we can’t realistically obtain them, only to find our self quickly at failure, and then we just figure “what the heck”, give up, and hit the couch again.
Let’s talk about option 1 first. Like I said, I see it happen all the time. People FINALLY get motivated and they get this go big or go home mentality. They start with this plan to workout EVERYDAY... As if they think they can make up for lost times... So they jump in start working out in excess....doing it all... “I gotta hit bootcamp 3 times this week, and heavy lifting 5 days this week, and I gotta log 1 hour on the treadmill all 7days”... The alternative is that while maybe they are not planning double day workouts - but rather when they do show up to the gym they just go all out with maximum efforts right away. Often, what happens to most people who go from nothing to a whole lot, is they end up over training, over fatigued, excessively sore, or even injured. When this happens they end up right back where they started... On the couch - nursing their excessively sore and injured bodies. In some cases maybe that one super duper intense workout hits them so hard they have to take the next three or four days off. However, wouldn’t it have been better and more appropriate to scale the intensity back just a little to ensure the ability to still hit another three or four workouts that week? In the long run - you end up with four or five workouts consistently as apposed to only one per week, while limping around the rest of the week. Likewise, if we set more realistic expectations on our body, hit a few solid workouts without over doing it - then maybe after a few weeks we are feeling better, stronger, faster, and then we can add that fourth day or fifth day. In the end, the person who is able to consistently maintain a commitment to fitness is going to have more success then the person who is on and off the couch.
Let’s also consider option 2. This is the person who spends several months being “too busy” to workout. After a sudden gust of motivation kicks in, for whatever reason, they suddenly decide they are going to go to the gym five, six or maybe even all seven days in the week. Well the thing is - this isn’t a realistic time commitment so week one or maybe week two they already fall short on their goal. So then they feel like a failure and rationalize, “well I already missed one day, what’s one more”... which turns into the rest of the week, until they are right back where they started... on the couch. I think it is all about setting small, realistic, obtainable goals, so that we can celebrate our wins. So IF you haven’t had the time or motivation to hit the gym once in the past two months, then it would be more reasonable to commit yourself to maybe two times per week starting out. If you hit both workouts then you can be excited, celebrate that success, be proud of yourself, and feel like you won. Now maybe next week you can plan for three workouts. Hit those three no problem? Still feeling good? Awesome - the week after that plan for four workouts. It’s all about setting ourselves up for success so that we can feel successful, get excited, and want to continue moving forward. This also leads to consistency...and I feel that when it comes to fitness, consistency over a long period of time (i.e. our whole life) is what will most likely win the race called being healthy and fit for life.
In light of some recent situations I have found myself in, reflecting back on how I handled these situations I have some personal letdowns. I quickly (although not quickly enough) realize that my words and actions didn’t come from a place of love. I feel that I wasn’t being the woman God intended me to be, and I definitely wasn’t being the best version of myself. I understand that sometimes when we are sad or hurt or angry that many of us let our emotions get the best of us, but at the same time, it is our actions and reactions that determine so much of the way our life unfolds. We can’t control what happens to us, we can only control how we respond. Truthfully I would want myself to respond with dignity and integrity. I would want to act in a manner that when I reflected back I could thing, “wow you really handled that well”. And more importantly, in a manner that other people would view respectable. In this situation, I must admit, I was flawed in my approach, or at least part of it. At first thought I want to sit here and tear a part my process, recognizing each flaw, and feeling personally let down by myself. At second thought, I want to focus on the better ways I acted then in my past. See, after thinking about it, I could sit here and ramble on to myself about where I failed, or where I was flawed then leading into feelings ofguilt or remorse, I could beat myself up over and over again, and punish myself emotionally, OR I could reflect on ways I handled everything better then in my past, ways I improved, how I have grown, and then determine what ways I can shift my actions to continue to grow, and move forward. What will get me further along? What will get me to the next step?
I can definitely admit to myself, that this experience and time for reflection has provided immense growth. Through the process I eventually came to a place where I was able to shift my perspective. This was tremendous for me... it provided a very large mental shift. It wasn’t; however, enough, so I kept moving forward and also keep reflecting... Through a shift in perspective I was finally able to get to a place of gratitude; however, it was only a one sided gratitude. This isn’t bad, it was good - it helped me to release phase one of any negative energy I was carrying, but it wasn’t enough, because it wasn’t fair ... One side is rarely fair. I needed to have gratitude in all directions. Then through a service at church and continued reflection I was finally able to come to another shift in mindset. This is where the gratitude in different directions flowed into me.
What started with resentment and anger, eventually led to a shift in perspective and gratitude, which eventually led to a shift in mindset, focusing on the positive, or the gains, which then led to more gratitude. Oddly enough though, this was still... not enough. Why? Because despite being able to intellectually understand things more clearly, it didn’t mean that my day to day actions along the way would completely align with this way of thinking, which was recently brought to light. This might seem strange - but truly it’s not - we do it ALL the time.. every one of us...
A great example... we intellectually know what is best for our health like regular exercise and healthy eating, yet we continue to grab what is convenient or most tasty, and/or rationalize taking an extra day off of the gym all the time, over and over until our health more vastly deteriorates. (But that is a whole new topic for another day) We know what good feels like, but we keep doing more of the things that keep us feeling bad, and then we feel bad about it. It is a sad cycle.
I wish I had the million dollar answer for how to break out of the cycle every time, or never fall into it, but I don’t. It is all still one giant learning process for me as well. One thing I do know is to not feed into the cycle, by not beating self up or allowing self to feel guilt. The best scenario is to reflect, learn, and apply it through life moving forward... but truly learn from it and truly be ready to apply it - not just think about it and revert back to old habits. So that is what I am going to do. I am going to remind myself of the woman I want to be remembered as, the woman God would want me to be, and be her. I can not allow myself to feel any level of guilt. We can look back to reflect, to realize opportunity for growth, and to move forward with our discoveries, but we can not change the past, so there is no point in dwelling on it. The only thing we can change is what we do, how we act, or how we respond in our present moment and future. Did we truly learn from our experiences, our pasts, or mistakes, or will we fall prey to a viscous cycle of repeat?
This made me think of a quote....
"Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die" ~Psalm 103:15~
Ever heard the good old saying, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”? Well whoever came up with that had a good point. The other day I wrote all about refresh/reset. It was basically about finding things in our lives that recharge our battery, that feed our souls, and make us basically ‘tick’. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and it has led to some wonderful conversations with a few good friends. What I realized through these conversation is how incredibly important it is to “not put all your eggs in one basket”... go figure...but, it’s limiting, and can lead to disaster. It limits our ability to recharge, to be happy, to feel fulfilled and satisfied.
Here is an example. What happens if EVERYTHING that is in your list of ‘go to’s’ for battery recharging is physical and requires your body to function properly, and then you suffer from some type of injury and become incapable of physical performance for whatever amount of time. If ALL you know for recharging is physical and then you can’t do it anymore - you feel like everything you have is taken from you and you are left feeling lost or empty. I know this first hand... Exercise is my life... It is my career, my passion, my love. It fills me up. No matter how I feel, I always feel exponentially better after an amazing workout. I also love snowboarding... it’s one of the most amazing feelings in the world to shred down a mountain. Well, when I hurt myself and I couldn’t do either of these activities, I was left feeling so helpless and lost. I had NO idea what to do with myself to distress, to unwind, to feel satisfied, whole, complete, or even worthy. I see this happen with a lot of fitness enthusiasts.. They become so wildly passionate about what they are doing around fitness, that it becomes their focal point for happiness and completion...only left feeling lost when faced with an injury and/ or physical limitation, wondering, “now what?”
I know that the first time I got hurt and was extremely limited with the level of physical activity I was able to engage in, it allowed me an opportunity to really sit back and assess other things I could do to feel fulfilled and refreshed. It forced me to learn new things about myself, find new interests, and discover hidden talents. It was actually an amazing experience, and many wonderful things came from it. However, despite all of this, I found myself quickly jumping back into ONE basket as soon as my body allowed me, only then to find myself right back at square one with the next injury and set back. This is why I truly believe the importance of not limiting ourselves at all, and no matter how much we love one thing, the value in finding many ways to express ourselves and feed our soul. As Vincent Price says, “A man who limits his interests, limits his life.” Wise man <3
You hear sayings all the time about how sometimes something happens to you in life and it doesn’t make sense right away but it will someday, or how God always has a plan, and to have faith. I would have to say that more often than not - in my life - this proves to be true. Although, it is often further down the road then I prefer before I can finally make sense of it all. Until now, anyhow... I feel like it was only a short amount of time that I questioned why a series of events had to occur in my life... I questioned why these things were happening, and what could possibly be the reason behind them. Nothing made sense, everything seemed wrong.
If anyone asked me four weeks ago where I would be at today, I would never have expected to give them the answer that I can stand today and give. Hell, I don’t even think I would have thought it possible to stand where I stand today, even two weeks ago. However, over the last couple of weeks my entire mindset has shifted tenfold. I feel that with each day passing, I am more aware of the situation God placed me in, the whys, and what is to come. I feel that almost daily I have some insightful thoughts, an epiphany, a new way of thinking or seeing, a clearer understanding, and a more peaceful mind. It is amazing how something can initially seem so bad, but so quickly be seen for all the good that comes from it.
It is crazy to think that one day I can be sad and angry that something in my life is happening, only to find myself in a place of gratitude shortly thereafter. Life has a funny way of working itself out, that is most certain. I recently wrote a blog on perspective, and I really think that this is what it all comes down to. I feel that once I was able to see things from a different perspective, it opened up a mental door in my mind to see everything else differently, and to be more open to seeing the good to come.
This makes me think of church Sunday. Pastor Kevin was talking about change. He talked about how change has to occur through a mental shift. One thing through the whole service that really stood out to me though was when he expressed that when most people are going to attempt to change something they look at what they are loosing instead of focusing on the gains. In context, he gave an example of if someone was going to diet - they focus on everything they can no longer have, or what is being taken away from them, rather then focusing on what God is giving them as gain - such as their health and a more abundant life that God planned.
This concept also applies to my thoughts up above... And many other things in life. If someone is going through a breakup or experiences loss, it is very easy to only focus on what is being lost, as in the relationship, the other person, and sometimes even the feelings of a part of our 'self' that is lost when the ‘us’ is broken. However, it is easier to begin healing in the heart when the mind can shift into a focus that is more positive, such as the gains. See, there are always gains, we just can’t always see the good from a situation, or the gifts God wants to give us from our hardship until we are ready...by shifting our perspective.
I believe that once we are open to receiving these gifts, God is ready to give them to us. I also believe, especially now through this experience, that focusing on these gifts, the gains, and the positives, it makes going through the experience so much easier. This then allows us to move forward, to grow, and to embark on the next journey life has in store for us as a stronger, healthier, and happier person.
Today in church @ New Life Petaluma, Pastor Ron talked to us about what refreshes us. By refresh, he expressed to energize us or feed our soul. He gave us a challenge to come up with six different things that feed our soul or energize us. When I first started thinking about what refreshes me I felt instantly blessed, because I had several different things I could instantly think about related to my job and what I do for people. However, that is a whole other story, and in this regard we were challenged to think of things outside of work that refresh us.
And so it began... the thinking process. Of course, one HUGE thing came to mind instantly, which I reserve ample space for 4-5x / week! ... #1. WORKING OUT... I can’t express enough how I can have the world’s worst day, be mentally & physically exhausted, grumpy, not feeling well, or whatever, but every time I force myself into the gym, I leave feeling energized, pumped up, refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take it on - all of it. ... But like I learned Sunday, we need more then one thing to refresh, more then one way to hit the reset button, so back to the drawing board... or so I thought... until I met a girlfriend for a coffee chat... I was super tired walking into it and a little emotionally drained. I didn’t really know how much of a hoot I would be or joy to converse with, until we just started chatting and the conversation flowed. As I got up to say goodbye I realized instantly - refresher #2... getting lost in a great conversation with a good friend. And of course, #3 - something I had to miss for an entire year - but am sooooo excited to jump back into - snowboarding. I am not sure what it is exactly, but I have always described it as somewhat magical.. something about driving through the mountains, it is as if I warp into another dimension - whereby it is like a rule that when I am in Tahoe, I don’t have a worry in the world... I get on top of the slopes & it is just me and that beautiful fluffy white stuff... all my focus is just on the smooth ride. Anyhow, three is a good number, it feels good to have them down, but it isn’t enough... The challenge was six. I was thinking maybe Pastor Ron knew that it would be relatively easy to come up with three which is perhaps why he wanted to make it more challenging by encouraging us to come up with six. I know that several days have passed, and I am still thinking about what those last three really look like.
He also challenged us to make a commitment for the whole year reserving space in our calendars to actively engage in refreshing activities at least 3x/ month. We talked about how when you look at most people's calendar's it is always filled mostly with roles & responsibilities. This is sustainable for a while, but often leads to people feeling 'lost', a 'loss of self', not in tune with his/her identity. The reason is we can get so lost in our roles & responsibilities that we loose focus on our 'person' our 'being', on our passions, or the things that fill our cups, the things that make me-me, or you-you. I know that I already am extremely committed to filling my calendar with my #1 refresher, but I am also wise enough to know that isn't enough... Especially because that is a physical activity that requires my body to function accordingly. IF this is the ONLY thing I run to for joy, for fuel, or for recharging, what happens if I ended up hurt or injured and couldn't partake in exercise for a while? I would be left feeling lost, with a giant void. This is also why I think it is important to have a diverse array of ways to feed our soul, to not invest everything we have in just one, or as the saying goes, "to put all of your eggs in one basket".
Anyhow, that was all a little ramble... but here is the real point in it all, or what it makes me think about... LIFE IS SHORT! It is... it really is... time flies before our very eyes.. moments come and go, and life is over before we know it, and most of the time we don't even see it coming. So for that reason, I think it is important to remember to make space in your life, in your calendar, in your heart for things that bring you joy, peace, energy... because the happier and healthier we each are physically, emotionally, and mentally, the more we are able to thrive in our responsibilities, and the better of a person we are able to be in our roles. Commitment to the health & happiness of self first and foremost leads to a better version of you for everyone and everything else.
It's funny how loosely the saying "life is short" is used. You see it quotes in pretty little pictures with neat fonts on Facebook ALL the time... we read it - we feel good about it - we think to ourselves, "man this is true".. we embrace it for a minute... and then what? ....We forget about it...We jump right back into the mundane version of life... the roles.. the responsibilities... the 'to-do' lists... But really... We need to embrace it daily... to remember it... to embed it into our hearts... and to live by it... To make space for the things that are near and dear, to "feed our soul", to fill our cups, to be healthy and whole so that we can then be the best version of ourselves for everyone else in our life that we care deeply for and love... So we can not look back on life someday with regret...
Can you think of six ways to refresh & reset? What non related activities feed your soul? What do you always walk away from feeling recharged? And, do you reserve ample space in your calendar for them? IF not, I challenge you to complete this journey with me :)