Close your eyes. Wait, don’t. How can you read this if your eyes are closed? Instead, imagine with me Friday afternoon. It’s probably been a really long week at work. That guy you work with has been dancing on your last nerve. Your neighbor has been working on keeping you up all night with left over Fourth of July fire crackers. The kids are crabby. Your spouse is feeling run down. You? You feel totally overwhelmed. All you can think about is crashing and binge watching Netflix until it’s time to get up Monday morning, and start all over again. This, my friends, is the rat race. Is this the life you really want? You see Facebook posts from perfect moms who go on perfect runs every perfect day and have perfect kids, and wonder, “How in the world is that possible, when I am struggling to just make it every day??”
If I said I didn’t have days like this, you would know I am lying. Or maybe you wouldn’t. The social media perfection machine makes me feel like such a failure some days. Don’t get me wrong, I use social media. It has one of two effects on me. I either feel like such a complete loser by comparing myself to posts that may or may not be embellished, or I feel totally inspired to get off my tired bum and make myself better. For me, Facebook is a total lost cause. I gave up around the time that everyone I knew was farming fake crops and wanting me to contribute to their imaginary farms. In my opinion, it was too much a time wasting, passive-aggressive bragging fest for my tastes. Thankfully, I simply deleted my account and moved on with life. Today, I use Instagram to look at positive and uplifting accounts to keep me moving towards my goals and grant me a bit of motivation.
On many occasions, we go into changes and view them as a temporary existence. Think: Diet. We commit to ourselves that we will stick with the change until we reach a specific goal or number, then every thing can go back to the way it was, and we can ride our unicorn to the end of the rainbow where we will be granted the perfect body and everyone will love and accept us. In the beginning of my journey, I thought that is what would happen for me. In fact, I went cold turkey Vegan one time, and expected pounds to just fall off of me. They didn’t, and I quit. What was my motivation? I wanted all of the glory with none of the work. I thought that if I just give up meat, I would have a model’s body. When that didn’t happen in two weeks, I quit. Does this sound familiar?
At some point, we need to examine our motivations. Not just what’s on the surface, but the deeper motivations for choices. I used to be very afraid to know what my true motivations were. Now, I jump at the chance to look deeper. The more I know about myself, the better I am about making good choices for myself. Case in point: I have a sensitivity to yeasts and casein. This means that breads and cheeses are really bad for me. However, sometimes, the idea of pizza gets in my head, and I let go of all logic and do everything I can to convince my family that pizza is a good idea. Every time I start to get under the spell of a piping hot pie, I need to think about my motivation. I know it’s not good for me. I know I am going to have stomach aches for 2 weeeks. I know it’s going to make me irritable. I know that once I have it, I will crave it more. So what is my motivation? Well, much like everyone else, I can fall prey to eating my feelings. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself, sometimes I feel like work is overwhelming, sometimes I just don’t feel good about myself, and sometimes, I just feel like I deserve a treat. You know, like a cheat day! But my cheat days end in weeks of pain and discomfort. Just like everyone else, I also at times just feel entitled. I eat well, I work out…I deserve it!
So, how can we find positive motivation, and keep it long enough to accomplish anything? I feel like I’ve painted a grim picture for you. My intention is to show you that you are totally capable of doing the impossible. You can use motivation for good or for bad, just like social media! Many moons ago, I was challenged to do Pat’s Run. I had never really run anything but my mouth before, but something in my head just changed. I wanted to run this. I wanted to run the entire 4.2 miles. So I started to train. And I kept going. I had a week long vacation scheduled to Washington DC. I walked for miles all day long, and then would go to my hotel and run on a treadmill. What was my motivation? I wanted to prove to myself that I was not ‘that girl’. In high school, I would wear my resistance to running as a badge of honor, when truthfully, I was totally embarrassed. I didn’t want to try because I didn’t want people to know that, though I was a really good sprinter, I had no endurance. This was a chance to prove to myself that I could do it. That I could gain endurance. That I was capable of change.
Possibly the best way to change your mindset is to start with a small goal. What is it that you want? What is on your mind? Do you want to prove something to yourself, like I did? Do you just want to know if you have what it takes to just see something through? I was once told, “People who can start things are great. People who can finish things are great. The person who is able to both start and finish is exceptional.” Doesn’t that seem strange? I always felt like everyone around me had their act together. That everything came easy to them, and everything was a struggle for me. When I hear and understand that people who are able to both start and finish are exceptional, I begin to understand that everyone puts up a facade, just like I do. If I know that, it’s easier for me to believe that I can do anything that I want to.
Since I don’t know what you want to do as a challenge, let’s talk about a recent goal that I took on. Oxygen Magazine hosts a challenge annually, which is a 3 month body and diet boot camp of sorts. At the sign up, you can choose one of two coaches (some people choose both), and you start your 90 days of eating and working out according to your fitness pro coach’s plan. I have been telling myself every year that I could never do that. 90 days is a long time. That’s a big commitment. This year was different. Last year, I had a bone tumor on my tibia removed in August, and ran a half marathon in November. That experience alone was enough to tell me that I can commit to 90 days, and I have no excuses. Through training for the half, I learned how to not be so rigid in my schedule, and to start to look at time before and after work as opportunities, and not just tv time. In fact, when I started to utilize those hours, I became less run-down at the end of the week. I stopped telling myself that I don’t have time to run during the week, and started getting up earlier. After work, I started cross training for 30-45 minutes. I wasn’t missing out on anything. I was cutting out dead time that I was spending on the couch. Sometimes, you just need a goal that is so exciting to you that you area willing to look at possibilities instead of probably nots.
So, I signed up! I am on #Team Jamie, under coach Jamie Eason Middleton. I just finished week one. Some days were pretty easy. Some have been pretty tough. But every day has been an inspiration. Every day is a choice. Am I going to stick it out and complete the goal, or am I giving up? So far, I choose success. That choice has inspired my husband to do it with me. I don’t know what the next 11 weeks will hold. I am sure that there will be days when I am tired, or discouraged. On those days, I need to examine my motivation. If I am not motivated to be my best and have the healthiest body possible, then I need to change things.
Ok, I outed myself. Now it’s your turn! What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? Maybe it’s a one mile walk. Maybe it is a marathon. Maybe you just want to run around the block. What ever it is, what is stopping you? What are your motivations? What are you fears? The more you know your self, the more you understand your own patterns and cycles, the more you can harness your energies and become the best you possible. Every. Damn. Day. You CAN be exceptional. You CAN be a starter AND a finisher. Take it from a former great finisher, who is currently exceptional. Don’t give yourself options. Don’t give yourself a way out. I believe in you. Set those goals. Take steps to achieve them. I’m always here for you. You can reach me in the ‘contact’ form, or through Instagram @healthierversionofchris. No matter what happened in your past, you don’t have to let it determine your future. No matter what, I only know this….
You’re probably not crazy!!!