Wednesday, November 26, 2014

HABITUAL

I went for a walk this morning.  

Admittedly, I've slacked off on my walking in the last two weeks (or three, if I'm to be honest and transparent here).  

I was amazed, as I pounded the pavement, how easily I got my groove back.  

It struck me, while I pumped my arms back and forth, forcing the crisp air in and out of my lungs, life is a series of habits.  Some of them are good habits.  Some of them are bad.  Now one hopes the good habits outweigh the bad.  Yet, still ... habits.

When I made the decision to start walking 3 miles every day, it was with a desire to create a habit.  Everyone that is obsessed with exercise kept telling me that they felt so much better ... tackled all sorts of physical exertion better ... slept better ... managed stress better ... you name it.  It was better.

And when I was doing it consistently, I felt AWESOME! Good habit.

But life gets in the way, and then you just aren't feeling it one day .... and there's a meeting (or three) that is getting in the way of what you need to do ... and professional requirements for your time ... and your knees ache ... and your feet hurt ... and your jaw hurts ... and so you just don't walk.  And you don't walk the next day either ... or the day after that or the day after that.  Bad habit.

Listening to the birds flit above me in the canopy of trees, not a cloud in the sky ... crystal blue stretching out before me, I had an epiphany.  

Good habits are hard.  They require commitment and discipline and grit and the skin of your teeth kinda determination that grows character.  Good habits are time-consuming -- or so your psyche tells your brain.  Good habits have amazing results, but they are no-holds-barred, you-know-whats-to-the-wall exercises in putting your intestinal fortitude to the ultimate test.  

Bad habits are easy.  They slip in without notice.  They take up residence with out being asked, and before you ever realize it, you're slobby and slovenly and dumpy and without motivation or desire.  

My bad habits have taken over, once again.  I wasn't looking forward to this maiden voyage after another long hiatus.  I internally whined about it.  I berated myself for losing the will power.  I really dogged myself for not having the stick-with-it-ness for the good stuff.

I didn't count on today.  

I didn't count on the strength I felt.  I didn't count on the empowerment I felt as I pumped up each hill.  I didn't count on the fact that my body remembered the physical activity I'd made it work through the last few months.  It remembered, and it rewarded me by making me feel alive and vital and worth it. 

Life is a series of habits.  It's a series of wants and needs.  It's a series of choices.   It's habitual.  It's high time I reward myself with those positive habits.  The good ones.  The ones that require commitment but with great pay-offs. 

Megan got her groove back!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

GIVING MYSELF CREDIT

I've been reading a book.

Okay, I read more than just A book. Clearly.  What I meant to say is I've been STRUGGLING reading this one particular book.  Struggling because ...

A.)  I HATE reading non-fiction text ... unless it's GLAMOUR or BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS. And, let's be honest here, folks.  It's likely I will fall asleep reading one of those magazines.  I'm lame like that.

B.)  I know this book is going to nail me to the wall and make me deal with my undisciplined self, and man!  Who really likes being nailed to the wall.

It became obvious that I needed to pick it back up after months of allowing it to collect dust on my night stand.

Yesterday's chapter was all about CREDIT.  No.  Not the kind you use to buy stuff.   

The chapter revolved around giving myself credit. Period.  The author described an ALL-OR-NOTHING personality.  Someone who, when they are successful at the first swing at the bat, throws the proverbial bat down and gives up.

Yeeeeaaaaaaah.  That's sorta me.

Okay, it IS me.  

As long as I can remember, if something didn't work for me, if I didn't feel like I could succeed, I gave up.  There have been minor exceptions to this rule ... times when my pig-headedness kicked into high gear, and come hell or high water, I was going to show them!

Still, I bet if you were to sit down with my mother right now, she would confirm what I just said.  Since the moment I've entered this world, I've been an ALL-OR-NOTHING sort of girl.

Now, lest you think I'm dogging this particular personality, please, step back a few.  I'm not.  This mindset has served me well in some areas of my life.  Just not in ALL areas.

So, yeah.  Giving myself credit.  The author asserted that rather than immediately strip yourself of the power of your confidence, GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT.  "Okay, I didn't make my goal, but look at all the moments today that I worked toward the goal."

Such a simple concept, and yet I fail at it over and over and over and over again.  However, giving myself credit, I suppose there's a certain amount of victory in at least trying over and over and over again.

I found myself annoyed and upset with myself this morning over, what else? My weight!  I HATE that this is my constant struggle.  I HATE that is sucks up most of my thought process in that is snowballs into other things that, quite frankly, I don't give myself credit for.  

Today, I was standing in front of the mirror, wondering why, yet again, I am 42 and still single.  My brain immediately went to "Well, I can answer that.  You're fat!  What man wants some one fat!"  And the snowball grew.  

Exception to the norm?   I stopped that snowball midway through the vicious roll down the hill.  I kicked that son of a snowball like a boss and sent it sailing into pieces.  

Yep.  I'm fat. But I have the power to change it, and look at all the little ways I worked to break the cycle.  This isn't an all or nothing journey. It is a journey.  I could sit down on the side of the road, throw up my arms and scream, "TAKE ME OUT OF THE GAME, COACH!"  But I don't want to.    

Instead, I'm going to give myself credit ... credit for sticking to the fight ... credit for not giving up ...