It’s Getting Hard: A Pep Talk

What is going on, friends? I totally went MIA yesterday, which is bound to happen from time to time. normally I get out of bed an hour early to blog.

But yesterday I got out of bed, on Day 17 of the Last 90 Days, and … oh, this is embarrassing … I was over it. Not over blogging, but I felt tired and bored and not willing to get out of bed and start my day like I had intended last night. So I laid in bed and mindlessly read emails and scrolled social media and all of the sudden I had to get ready for work. So no post, no reading, no me-time. And it’s driving me nuts.

What happened? What’s missing? What was different about Day 1 that makes Day 17 so different? It’s the same day, same routine. Same “5 to Thrive” objectives. How did I bounce out of bed Day 3, tie on the shoes for a run, fill up the water bottle with pep, and today I just want to lay around and scroll Instagram?

So I did some pondering, and I started my homework for “Workshop Wednesday,” and I thought about all the times I started something and gave up on it – work project ideas, exercise programs, All the Whole30’s (oh, so many dropped Whole30’s!), home projects and crafts – and then I found the theme: I quit when I don’t realize progress, and lose my emotional attachment to my “Why.”

Progress is encouraging, but like a lot of things worth doing in life, like encouraging your body to get stronger and healthier, saving for a home, working toward a promotion, they all take a long time with no noticeable results until that one day when you PR a lift or receive recognition from a VP that noticed that great presentation. That’s when you have that “wow, it’s working!” celebratory moment.

However, what fuels your fire during those long stretches that it seems like the goal is so far away (or worse, not even close)? How do you keep turning down your favorite food because you KNOW it messes you up (looking at you, candy!) so you can realize your health goals? How do you put in that extra hour at work when you’re starting to feel that tug of guilt that you should be at home taking care of the things you’re putting off there so you can kill it on this assignment? How do you lace up for a run when race day is ages away, and you really don’t want to put your body through that right now?

For me, I need what I call a “Why”. I need an emotional reason to hang on to when things get annoying or hard. And when I started pondering my Last 90 Days progress, I found that my “Why” was a wishy-washy “oh, I like challenges! This might be fun to do.” I have no end game, no expectations. So it makes it really easy to brush off if I’m not feeling it, because it’s entirely based on a “I feel like doing this” emotion rather than something solid that doesn’t change based on my mood.

Also, I really have no end goal in mind for this challenge, other than “let’s see what changes.” I don’t know how my life is going to change for the better by drinking water and gratitude journaling. Maybe it won’t. And if I make my motivation based on results I see, I may be disappointed in the end.

So I have to cement in a stronger “Why,” one that is not dependent on outcome. That I trust the process and don’t pass judgment on things I may not understand. That I’m doing it purely because I like to do hard things and I want to be the kind of person that finishes what I start. My “Why”is because “I finish things and I finish strong.”

How about you, do you have a “Why?”

Go make it a great day!

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The Last 90 Days: Week 1 Recap

Howdy howdy! And happy belated Mean Girls Day, while I forgot to post about it I did make sure to wear pink on Wednesday.

So. The last 90 days of 2018. I signed up for Rachel Hollis’s challenge because I was just rolling off another Whole30 (yay!!) and was really feeling the buzz of keeping up with some intentional group personal improvement project. And from the outside it seemed simple enough to partake in. You pick up the passion and fire from those shiny new year, new you resolutions from January, incorporate Rachel’s “5 to Thrive” habits to incorporate daily, and commit to really visualizing and living your best life. She hosts a daily live stream on Facebook and Instagram (with her super adorable husband Dave) to give you the day’s challenge, answer questions, and do some kick booty tough love motivation to start the day. Simple enough, right?

Ha.

Here’s how I did for the “5 to Thrive” Daily tasks this week:

So … it leaves a little something to be desired.

But you know what? This is okay. I heard recently that “FAIL” means “First Attempt At Learning.” And trying to really dial in all 5 habits – while I normally can fit in 2-3 a day, I’ve rarely attempted all five! – is a logistical and motivational challenge!

So, what did I learn this week that I can do better next week?

New Habits are Hard

Let’s be honest, I watched the live cast, made some mental notes, then checked out and went on with the rest of the day. Habits are tough to break without support and reminders. I need a better system to remember to drink my water, complete my Gratitude List, and to keep my guard rails on post-Whole30. I’ll be perusing Gretchen Rubin’s work on some strategies to get these new habits incorporated into my daily routine!

Motivation

Especially with getting up early in the morning, motivation for me starts to wane after a few days. Day 1 is like, “Hell yeah!” Day 2 is like, “Oh yeah, I’ve got this.” But by Day 3, I’m like, “Hmm. Do I really have to do all of this? Can I fudge a little?” Um, no. I’m pretty sure Rachel will give me a thorough kick-booty talk if I try to convince myself that 70% is just as good as 100%. So that’s where this blog comes in! I have to show up and report to y’all that I am the kind of person who embraces a challenge and sees it through. So I should, you know, do that then. Also, I know with my recent Whole30 that a huge motivation for me was to remember my “why.” Why am I doing this? Why is this important to me? I want to see how much I can grow by the end of the year, to see what I can do. I’m not going to truly realize my potential by making excuses and cutting corners!

Those are my big takeaways from the week: develop some strategies to help me incorporate my new habits into my current routine, and be mindful of my “why” so I can stay motivated.

Now go make it a great weekend!

Getting Off the Couch: A 3-Step Plan to Get Moving

Hello!

So, yesterday I started talking about rewriting unhelpful patterns that I recognized were keeping me from doing the things I know I want to do. And I started thinking more about specifically what are the themes that keep popping up for me, and what have I started to put in place to keep those situations from thwarting my good intentions? So to be extra helpful, I’ve collected the three big things that I find always throw me for a loop, and how I’m changing my mindset to see these challenges differently. I hope this is useful to you!

This August I set myself a goal for incorporating some sort of healthy movement every day for the month, and so far I’m hitting about 50%, which I consider a win since I think in July I worked out maybe four times. My life is kind of crazy so I give myself a lot of wiggle room when it comes to achievable goals, but I also know how easy it is for me to pull out Ye Olde Book o’ Excuses and thumb through until I find one that allows me to Netflix & Beer it. There are certain scenarios, when provided at a moment of peak weakness (i.e. stressed, hungry, possibly surrounded by children), that cause me to cast my growth-mindset priorities aside for the familiar and comfy.

And we’ve all been there. Possibly repeatedly. Maybe you set your alarm to hit that 5:30 am class, but now that it’s 5:00 am you’re like, “Meh, sleep is healthy, too.” Or you told yourself that you’d go for a run after work, but now that you’ve walked through the door the kids are crawling all over you and your spouse just handed you the baby and it looks like you are now putting on the Parenting hat instead, and isn’t family time important, anyway? Or perhaps your yoga buddy cancelled because their parents are in town, and the idea of packing up and going to class alone has lost its appeal. Despite our best efforts, it’s so easy for Life to derail our fitness plans. Not to mention bed is so cozy in the morning, and the couch is so comfy after work!

But if you’re like me and circumstances have made it easy to throw in the towel for the day, it’s always so much harder to pick things up again tomorrow. Not to mention the disappointment of “I would have felt so much better now if I had gotten my run in this morning” realization. So what can Current Me do to help Future Me keep my commitments? I have shared below a few strategies that I have been using successfully, so take a look, keep what you like, and leave the rest!

For When Bed is Too Cozy

On those days when I feel too lazy, or I just don’t want to get up out of my chair and change gears, I pull out Mel Robbins’s “5-second rule” for this one. The 5-Second Rule is pretty simple: based on the premise that it takes your brain 5 seconds to decide to do something, you simply tell yourself mentally, “5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1 … Go” and immediately get up to do the thing, no thinking about it. This is great for when I’m trying to get out of bed in the morning, when I walk in through the door at work and need to change into my gym clothes, or when I have a home workout scheduled and am procrastinating on starting. It’s so simple, it just works!

For When Expectation Doesn’t Meet Reality

I tend to get in my head the “perfect” scenario – the perfect yoga class, the perfect run, the perfect lift – and if my circumstances or energy level are anything less than my perfect idea of what I want to have happen, then I tend to make excuses on why it’s not meant to be right now. I drank a few too many beers last night, so I know I’ll feel lousy at Bodypump this morning. My legs are super sore from lunges yesterday, so if I go on a run I know I’ll feel sluggish. I accidentally fall back asleep after my alarm, and now I’ll be 10 minutes late for my early morning yoga class. I forgot my hair tie. Nothing disastrous (well, except for maybe forgetting a hair tie), just when my idea of what was supposed to happen doesn’t meet what actually happens. It’s easy to use minor setbacks as convenient excuses to say, “Oh, darn! Maybe not today, then.” But don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Accept that feeling bloated and sluggish at Bodypump is going to be a thing after last night’s happy hour, and that’s just fine. Go for a recovery hike instead of a run if you’re that sore. Show up to yoga late; it happens, and as long as you’re quiet and respectful in settling the worst you’ll get is a possibly a judgy side-eye from Judgy McJudgerson Pretzel Woman, and who cares what she thinks, anyway? Take the minor setbacks to demonstrate further proof of your commitment, and build up some self-efficacy in the process. We can do hard things!

For when plans change

You had plans to go for a walk on your lunch break and your boss just handed you an issue that’s on fire. Your Pilates-then-pinot buddy is stuck in traffic and said to go without them. You had a run planned but it’s now raining, or your bike has a flat. Similar to letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, a last-minute wrench in the plans can provide an enticing opportunity to allow fate to deal you another blow in your resolve. But we’re stronger than that, aren’t we? Take a deep breath, assess the new situation, and make a new plan. Maybe the stars have truly aligned out of your favor and a workout just isn’t going to happen today, and that’s okay. But if you can schedule your work walk at 3pm instead of lunchtime, bravely solo it to Pilates, or use the rainy day or flat tire as an opportunity to try out that new dance class you’ve been meaning to check out, then you’re proving to yourself your commitment, even when it would be easy to quit.

Do you have any other scenarios or tips you use to overcome obstacles in your habits building?

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Go make it a great day, friends!

Get After It (In Your Own Special Way)

Monday morning I was scrolling through Instagram while procrastinating on getting out of bed. It was the dawn of the new week, and I was feeling “a case of the Mondays” come on. It would be another week of my richly-packed schedule, catering to the demands of job, small humans, and whatever my body decides to throw at me this time (a resurgence of hamstring tendonitis and mild depression? Sure, why not!). To put it mildly, I was not wholeheartedly looking forward to getting out of bed.

I happened on a post by Katrin Davidsdottir, two-time Crossfit Games champion and Fittest Woman on Earth.

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The caption caught me. “Don’t understand the ‘ugggh’ feel that is generally put on Mondays .. I get such a ‘get after it’ feel”

How great would it be to wake up Monday morning and feel like “heck, yeah! Get after it!”

WHO DOES THIS?

Predictably, some of the comments reiterated my sentiment – “Easy for you to say, you get to work out all day instead of work a 9-5!” “Sure, tell me that when you have several small children to look after!” “Not all of us can be as lucky to travel around and live their dream.”

Wait, what?

First of all, let’s remember that social media is a highlight reel, not real life. Sure, Katrin gets to work out for a living, but she’s probably always sore and something is always hurting. She gets to travel a bunch, but that’s more time away from friends and family. Even the pressure of being the reigning “Fittest Woman on Earth” is probably tough some days, feeling like you have to always perform and live up to others’ expectations.

Despite a grueling training schedule, travel demands, and the stress of being a celebrity CrossFit athlete, she posts that she gets up Monday to “get after it.” This is drive. This is positive attitude. And anyone can do this.

Despite the pressures of my 9-5, feeling like I never have enough time for my family, and the stress of modern life, there is no reason I can’t find the joy in this life I have built for myself and wake up feeling ready to conquer the day. It’s just a mindset shift. And if something isn’t working for me and I’m unhappy, it’s my responsibility to figure out what I can do to make myself happier, whether it’s changing my outward circumstances or changing my inner dialogue on how I view the world around me.

Don’t fall down in the victim mind trap. However it seems like, when it comes down to it you control your life and you control your destiny. Wake up committed each morning to “get after it” even if you overslept and missed your 6am WOD and now you’re running late for your early meeting and your toddler just painted the wall with the contents of her diaper again and you ran out of bread to make your preschooler’s sandwich for lunch again so he’s getting rolled up turkey and a handful of tortilla chips because at least it’s food and dammit we are out of coffee again WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME SO NOT FAIR … but you know that this is just a moment in time and things are actually going pretty good and everyone will get where they’re trying to go eventually. Grab a Starbucks on the way to work, crank up the Kansas oh so very loud, and embrace the fact that you are indeed getting after it in your own special way!

Go make it a great day! xoxo