Getting Over the Hump
After a rocky start to the week, let me begin by saying congratulations for making it this far. Wednesday is always a big moment in the week for me; it's my benchmark to evaluate what boxes I've checked off the to-do list and which ones still remain. Sometimes there is a shuffling of priorities, sometimes there is deep sigh of relief. This week it's neither of these. It's more of a shift into overdrive.
I had a conversation with my mortgage planner Sally yesterday that really lit a fire under my (sculpted) ass. She and I were talking about saving money. I was frustrated and said I should just give up on buying a house until I made more money. Sally said, "If you choose that path, you will probably never buy a home. If you don't want to do it, you don't have to. But if you do, you need to try harder. It seems that you have the tools, but you lack discipline and unfortunately sweetie, that's on you."
To say I was frustrated when we hung up the phone would be an understatement. The truth is that Sally was right-she had called me out.
It's easy to put effort into the things we enjoy. Ask anyone, I will gladly wake up at 5am for yoga class or plan a 2-3 hour run on a weekend morning. It wasn't always this way though. I remember, not so long ago, I couldn't be bothered to rise before noon on the weekends. The only cardio I got was dancing the night away after downing a truckload of cocktails. How on earth did I get where I am now? The answer: lots of hard work over the span of several years. I ran my first 5k in 2012; while I wouldn't run my first marathon until years later, I had to start somewhere. It made me a little proud to reflect on the lifestyle changes I've made so far, but it also led me to an epiphany of sorts.
Since roughly December I've been in a stalemate; weight is not budging, running times aren't improving. Nothing seems to be progressing despite what I perceive as boatloads of hard work. Perusing my training logs confirms that I am indeed putting forth tremendous effort. But it's all on the same activities, the same routines I've done for years now. I've been grinding away in my little run/dance/yoga comfort zone. While my workouts keep me happy, I can't ignore the lack of progress.
When I reflect on my diet I see another cycle. A few days of "clean eating" (there's that hard work again) followed by a couple of, what I like to call, bottomless pit days. It's like clockwork; the first part of the week I'm determined to get on the right path and inevitably it falls apart days later. I try to keep healthy foods on hand and I enjoy making meals from fresh local ingredients, so I've never logged calories. Why bother if I'm making good choices?
I'm left with one major question-why is my hard work not working? Are my goals unrealistic? Possibly. Am I just plain lazy? Surely not. I'm capable of hard work, I've proven it to myself before. As I reflected, I thought back to my conversation with Sally. "You can't just want something really bad, snap your fingers, and make it happen. If we could do that, we wouldn't appreciate anything at all.."
I realized the reason I'm stuck in my fitness rut is the same reason I was scared to death about saving money for a down payment. It was uncharted territory, and it was going to be hard-really hard. Was that a reason to give up? Hell no! I pride myself on doing things people think are impossible. It's fun to test oneself and even more fun to be surprised by what you can accomplish with great effort. Why on earth was I not looking at my homebuying and fitness goals with the same optimism? Fear-of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of disappointment. I've been justifying fear with excuses instead of tackling it head on.
Having that said, I'm going to try new things as I focus on saving money for my first home. I've started tracking my calories in an app as opposed to just journaling. My hope is that over the long term, I will gain insight into what's causing my yo-yo patterns and develop more balanced eating behaviors. I also want to take ownership of how I fuel my body. In the short term, this activity will give me accountability-if I don't log my intake, the app will send me a message to remind me to login.
I'm also going to focus on my running from a strength perspective instead of just logging miles and analyzing the average pace. I began running to enjoy the outdoors and try something new. I've stuck with it as much for enjoyment as for my sanity. Instead of getting so caught up in the races and finish times, I'm ready to dedicate time to the journey. Building a stronger foundation i.e. body will help keep me running for years to come. Again this is going to be uncomfortable; speed workouts, hill repeats, lifting heavy things...sweating it out in the gym is NOT what I do; but, if it will strengthen my ability to do something I really love, it's worth a shot, right?
I've realized now that I've been trying to make difficult things easy. Choosing the path of least resistance and resting on my accomplishments. In doing so, I'm robbing myself of personal growth. I'm nervous and excited to take this new approach and be a little more honest with myself. I may struggle and have to face some harsh realities but maybe that's what I need right now? It took a financial professional to point it out, but I'm ready to get over the hump and get growing :)
What's something that inspires, but also scares the beejeezus out of you? Does it seem impossible, implausible, or unrealistic? Whatever it is, take a moment; embrace all the optimism you can and try to visualize success in that venture. What would it look like? What would it mean to you? Would that feeling of success make all the hard work worth it? Sometimes it's all a matter of perspective. Building the city of Rome was extremely arduous, but after all it wasn't done in a day.
I will leave you with a quote from the great Henry Ford
Happy humpday dolls!