I’ve been working on a lot of shit the past 4 months. Like my brain is all ‘wheeeeee!’ and ‘whoa.’ and ‘what?’ and ‘nooooooo!’. I’ve been reading and writing and chatting things through. It’s a lot of work, working on your stuff. Like… a lot. So you need to be ready to do it. I’ve always been a reflective person. I’ve always tried to improve myself. For a long time I was trying to improve the wrong things. I was fighting against myself and trying to go for what I thought I should be doing or what I should look like. You know…those ‘should stories’. Blah.
It just dawned on me that it’s because I’m ready. I’m ready to face some tough stuff. I’m ready to embrace who I am and take away the stuff that is no longer serving me. I’m ready to be proud of who am I am now. I’m ready to be proud of the goals that I have. I’m ready to find the right people to inspire me and not follow folk just because others find them inspiring.
You have to be ready. I wasn’t ready for a long time. I mean I’m 40 goddamn years old and I’m only really ready now. What’s up with that? Beating yourself up for not being ready is like shouting at a 2 year old for not being able to read. There are building blocks to get there. There are experiences that need to happen first. There are some truths that need to be learned. You can’t just, ‘be ready’. Or I couldn’t at least.
This shit is hard. It’s beautiful, brutal work and it’ll only happen when you are able to do it. There is no amount of support or ‘support’ from others if you aren’t in a space to go there. I was encouraged, prodded, pushed, harassed, supported…all manner of outside pressure from well meaning family, friends and coaches. Most of it weight and fitness related (because looking a certain way is the be all and end all of life…right?). Sometimes I asked for help, looking for someone else to push me to do it. Sometimes it was unsolicited and gave me a very clear message that something was wrong with me and I needed to make it better. Neither was the right kind of way for me to make the changes I needed. Some of them were changes that I didn’t actually need to make. Some did not match with who I actually am. Half the problem is that we sometimes get lost from ourselves trying to be someone else. But as Erin Brown says,
‘You cannot fail at being you.’
Now my goals are much more holistic and realistic. Most are about repairing a relationship with myself, trusting my instincts, liking where I am just now and not only looking forward to where I should be all the time. Some are physical like getting stronger, losing some fat, being more functional in movement. Some are mental like developing resilience during my lower energy times or when the hormone train threatens to derail my emotional stability.
I think sometimes not being ready is just that we haven’t found the goals or changes that actually speak to our souls. We are trying so hard to make changes that we think we ‘should’ be changing that we are ignore the small changes that could make a huge difference towards reaching our goals. Sometimes we are looking for these big, huge, all consuming, sexy sounding life changes or resolutions but actually it’s the smaller day to day choices and habits that have the biggest impact. Like drinking enough water or getting enough sleep or going for a wee stroll or writing for just five minutes or taking a minute after dinner before grabbing dessert. Ain’t nothing sexy or life altering about those kind of habits. Except they work. Its just working them into your day, every day can seem…too simple.
I’m learning to love these simple changes. Little checklists of lovely, simple changes are like my thang now. Making a change doesn’t have to be a big hard thing all the time. Doing the thinking and processing around it are hard enough. Keep the changes simple to start with.
Spend some time really thinking about what you want to have a go at achieving. Are they goals that truly speak to you? Do they make you really excited or are they ones you feel you should do? Like weight loss. Is it really a goal that makes you all excited? Is it something you truly think will make you happier? If not. Find another goal. Your goals should excite you. They should also scare you a wee bit. But if you are just lukewarm about a goal…forget it. Not worth your energy. You could be missing out on a better bigger goal. This can be tricky because you and a goal may be longtime partners in crime. Breaking up could be messy. But better to cut out the shit that isn’t helping you so you have room for more of the good stuff, right?
Think about the easiest, most simple things you can do right now, today, to start moving towards that goal. Start there. Start with the simple. Keep. It. Simple. Start with a few small changes. Start with one. Just pick one and go for it. Do it every day. Notice if it helps. Track it if you need to. Be curious about what the changes are doing for you. Positive reinforcement like that will help make it a habit. Sometimes it’s not even about adding something. Maybe it’s letting go or dropping habits, activities, people or mindsets that no longer serve you. Maybe the simplest thing you can do is to let some stuff go (she says as if that’s easy to do).
Give it time. Give even the simplest changes time to take. This is one of the hardest areas for me. I’m an all or nothing, I want it all and I want it now, kind of gal. This has gotten in my way a few times (ahem…many times). I feel I have to do everything, all at once and right away. Then I’m overwhelmed, then I start to crumble, then I tell myself I can’t do it. Then I quit. The relief I now have that I can sit with a small change for a bit of time is…life changing. I don’t have to do it all at once. I can do just one thing, right now.
Follow the right people. I’m a new lover of social media only because I did a major overhaul of who I follow and interact with. Fill that space up with people who you can relate to or who inspire you or live a life that is inline with your goals and beliefs. Suddenly my online space is one of positivity, ideas, encouragement, inspiration and learning. In terms of making positive changes, I’m following three amazing ladies who started ‘Health Habits Happy Moms’ (though the work is good for everyone, not just moms). Their stuff is life changing. Definitely give them a search if you are into changing some habits for the better.
And remember, most of all, give yourself a break. This is the most important work you will do. It’s okay to take care and time with it. I love seeing it as a big adventure. I’m having a go at saying ‘Let’s just see what happens if…’. Maybe it’ll sit right with me, maybe not. But that’s ok. I do know that the goals I have are properly mine for the first time in a long time. I can relate to them. I can take ownership of them. I am proud of them.
I’m ready to do the work for me. I’m ready to know what I want in my life better than I ever have before. And I’m ready to know what I no longer want. I know this may change over time (because I don’t know everything there is to know about everything…imagine that) but I know that’s fine. It’s my life, I can change if I want to. I’m ready.