I realized lately that my health (and life) has gotten sort of out of hand again. I function normal, sleep well and eat mostly healthy but something is off. I feel as if I am mostly just letting life carry me along. I am living under the tyranny of the urgent.
My father passed away almost a year and a half ago, then I started school and I have just lost control (not that I ever had it, more like my idea of control). Unfortunately, as often happens, the detour from my path was so gradual it has taken me about a year to notice that what was once a legitimate decision to give myself much needed grace during the extreme hardships of life has now become excuses. I have had some auto immune flares (interstitial cystitis), which is NEVER fun, and I am making zero progress in the gym, pretty much everything wears me down now, in fact I have regressed 🙁 Irritating how quickly that happens! I am happy but I get no enjoyment from the things I am doing. I am just doing them. Because they need to be done.
"You are most remembered by what you most enjoyed."
GRACE AND MINDFULNESS
I have been mindful of the need for change for some months now. I set goals to change for the new year. Didn’t happen, set goals for spring, I do better in the warm. Didn’t happen. So, I set goals yet again for summer. Didn’t happen. But, instead of beating myself up I again chose to give myself some much needed grace. I lost a lot over the last couple years. I instead consciously used my time for rest and reflection and building my system up and here I am. Again. Yet, that’s OK. Because, this time I believe something has clicked for me.
It was brought to my attention, through numerous circumstances, that I need to get back to being serious about setting my intentions. So, beginning of August 1, by chance, I was set to begin the Restart program, a 5 week clean eating challenge that I am learning to instruct. Part of the week long prep for this program is… you guessed it, to set intentions. Surprise!
INTENTIONS VS. EXPECTATIONS
I LOVE the discussion we had regarding the difference between intentions and expectations. An intention is an awareness of where we are at and where we want to be. We choose to move in that forward direction but we are free from guilt and disappointment. It contains grace. Whereas an expectation, is a hope that something will happen. Our mental state is then tied to a specific outcome. Often our greatest disappointments in life stem from unmet expectations. Dissatisfied in life? Check in with your expectations.
So I set the intention to be intentional, purposeful; to tell myself that each thing I do in a day, especially the things I take for granted and just do, are important:
- Waking up early is important.
- Brushing my teeth is important.
- Starting the day with water is important.
- Breakfast is important.
- Exercise early in the day is important.
- Time being fully present with my family, and off my devices, is important.
- Lunch and snacks and dinner are important.
- My purchases are important.
- My not purchases are probably more important.
- Down time is important.
- Prayer and meditation and breathing is important.
- My time is important.
- All of it is important.
You get the idea. Food fuels my body to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Exercise gives me the endorphins I need to tackle the day. Prayer keeps me balanced spiritually. Time with my family is my priority right now, especially while my bits are young. All these things I am just doing, do actually matter! I set the goal to remind myself of this. I don’t want to just run around frantically anymore. The cortisol is killing me, literally inflaming me. I am deliberately letting go of the constant stress state all us Americans are so addicted to. Life doesn't have to BE slow. It just needs to FEEL slow. That happens in your mind, not your circumstances.
WHATEVER YOU DO. DO IT.
I have decided to be all in when I am doing what I am doing. When I sit down to eat, I eat, not read a book, watch TV, or catch up on e-mails. When I am on my phone, I am on my phone, not checking it throughout the day (side note: there is a great app for tracking your phone time called moment). Sorry, all you people who now get to wait on me! When I drive, I drive, not eat or check my phone at stop lights. The best part about this decision is that drive time is when my kids ask the hard questions, we have our heart to hearts there. So, already that intention gives its own rewards. All of this seems so simple and easy. But, it’s NOT ya’ll! It is HARD to be focused on what we are doing. My brain has literally become dependent upon distraction and the go, go, go of life. I crave to change that. I want to chase slow.
I was doing well with beginning to set this in motion. Then, I had PT time with my coach. I thought I was going to train my body, but instead we took a chunk of time to train my mind. I did not bring this up, go this direction. She did. Funny how that happens. As a result my session ended up being a back-to-basics session, yet again giving myself grace for where I am at, but deciding to move forward with consistency and intentionality, from the beginning. My focus will no longer be endurance or strength, but to instead be mindful and purposeful with every movement I do in the gym over the next 30 days. I am to strive to strip the weight down and to be last in class. Weird.
In addition to eating to nourish my body and mind with food for next 30 days I will also train my physical self as well. I will:
- Get myself in the gym at least 2x a week no matter what. Sounds easily achievable but at the pace I have been running my life you’d be surprised. And, that isn’t a badge to be proud of!
- Walk or mobility an additional 2x week. This will serve as a time to clear my brain and listen to my body.
- No devices after 9pm. This is important (there it is again) but it is going to be extremely difficult for me. I would like to think it is because I am so productive at night but I think more realistically it is because I am so addicted to screen time 😛
You really can break your life into 3 of anything. And little changes over time add up to big differences. They are important. First you form good habits. Then your habits from you.
ASSESS WHERE YOU'RE AT. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. INTEND TO CHANGE.
Wrapping up, I suppose the purpose of my post is to be accountable to myself, to others. But also to share that we all struggle. We all have setbacks from time to time. We just really need people who encourage us and motivate us to do what we KNOW we should do. It is funny, my health journey began almost a decade ago but at times, especially after times of deep and painful struggle, we all can use a readjustment. And accountability. This is good and normal. Fine tuning is how we grow. Transparency gets us there.
Life is 90% struggle. Life happens in the little things. Life is the between times. And, those times should be intentional, mindful, given the respect they deserve. They are important.
Do you struggle with staying on track? Do you feel guilt ridden because of unmet expectations? What intentions will you set for your life?