Starting over again…
Going through the last few weeks, I realized that I’m not alone in feeling a little bit stagnant in some of the changes I’ve been trying to make for myself this year. I have new goals and aspirations and I’m in a period of evaluation that I think others may relate to so let’s see if we can explore it together.
Excuses, excuses…that’s all they are.
The other day I heard myself telling someone “I just don’t have the time…” and it stopped me almost as soon as I said it. Let’s be honest, how accurate is that statement? Is it that I don’t have the time for whatever it was I was responding to or was it that I instinctively didn’t want to invest my time in that particular activity? The truth is, by a series of choices we make every day, we’ve found ourselves right where we are. Putting aside those unique obligations that may stretch us extremely thin from time to time, to say that we don’t have the time to eat well, exercise, rest when we need to, and so on comes down to how we choose to prioritize our needs.
No matter what we commit ourselves to the first step is always to be honest about it. We choose to get up for the job we’ve committed to…or we quit, we choose to be there for our family and friends…or we neglect them and we choose to either take care of ourselves however we can…or we don’t. Being aware of how we perceive our reality is the first place for us to make any change in our lives at all. Whatever our true priorities are, that’s where we invest ourselves and so I now realize it’s much more accurate to say “I choose to spend my [time, money, energy…] this way rather than that.” There’s no reason to judge our choices, just be honest about them. That way when we find a contradiction with what we say we want and what we continue to choose to do, then we know it’s time to take a step beyond the words and take a step towards action.
There’s no right or wrong way to start…just start somewhere.
For anyone who decides to create a new reality for themselves, where to start can be the hardest step and I am no exception. My current lifestyle didn’t happen overnight and how I started is certainly nothing like I live my life now. So in the beginning, I had to figure out what I could do and that meant being realistic about where I was and start to make small adjustments like cutting my meals in half, choosing water over all other drinks and maybe try a new workout video. With my current lifestyle, it means increasing my fruit and vegetable intake and making sure I always have a loaded supply of healthy snacks on hand wherever I am. It also means learning to incorporate lower impact cardio to balance out all of the strength and high impact activities I do as well as finding more time for periods of meditation to make sure I feed my spirit.
There are so many different methods to either cut out or incorporate new habits, not to mention different theories as to which approach works best but don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by it. The truth is there is no one perfect method because we’re all so different. We have different needs, different life experiences, different physical, mental and emotional make-ups and all we can do is be open to our potential and keep trying new things to see what works. Healthy living is a journey for us to create a lifestyle that brings out the best in us so be aware of what brings you joy versus what brings you down and just start taking the steps. Make them small enough to stay consistent because once you start even the smallest steps will be no less significant.
Everyone benefits from a challenge.
Taking my own advice of allowing the occasional indulgence and not depriving myself of “celebrations” throughout the holidays, I found myself struggling with getting back on track throughout the last several weeks and not just nutritionally, emotionally as well. The hardest part was trying not to judge myself for the slips that happened more often than intended but at the same time it gave me a chance to reinforce for myself that there is nothing to judge…ever. It is completely normal to slip, to fall, to hit a plateau, to feel discouraged. What’s most important, however, is that we recognize those are the BEST times for us to gain strength and empowerment by getting back up, starting over and trying again as often as we need. That’s what matters—not the slips and not the falls themselves no matter how long they last or how broken we feel, but the way we build ourselves back up because of that experience.
For me, some of the challenges I am currently going through are by choice. I recognized a need for myself to get back on track with some of my personal passions, activities and nutritional habits and am accepting various “challenges” through programs that best fit me and what I’d like to accomplish. For others, the challenges experienced feel like a giant black hole has been dumped into their lap but, again, I encourage all of us to embrace these moments as our best opportunities for growth. Choosing that perspective rather than judging it or comparing it to where we think we should be can mean all the difference in the world we create for ourselves. Regardless of your current state or struggles, welcome the challenge and hang on tight. Believe in them and believe in yourself and know that with every step forward you take, you truly are better than you were the day before.