The day was done, and after hours of waiting for some down time, I finally reached a point where I could just sit, and yet, I could not rest. I layed there flooded with emotions of regret. When I woke up that am, I had a goal to be a great wife, mother, family member, child care provider and to look after myself… like so many days before, I did great with all my goals except looking after myself, and like so many days, weeks, months, years before, the end of the day came and I felt defeated. Why could I not just start the process of looking after myself. How on earth did another day go by where I didn’t suck up all the reasons that made it hard and just do it …
I remember these feelings and emotions so well pre journey and I remember the very real struggle that came with ‘wishing ‘ I would look after myself. Over the years, I had days where I did give some real effort but these attempts were short lived and never resulted in me feeling different because I just never kept up long enough to feel change. In late 2010 when I decided I could no longer move forward on the path I was on, I decided I needed to take time for self reflection, to figure out what was really going on so this wouldn’t be just another time I started to change my life with gusto, only to fall flat on my face a few days in. A couple things I realized … everything I was doing in my life was connected. I would often tell myself that I would start by just making a few different foods choices, or adding just a little activity, or trying to drink some more water and I would add in the change without making small changes in all the needed areas and because of such, I never stayed on track. I became aware that I spent more time trying to find the loop hole over the solution. I realized that I would never keep up with exercise if I didn’t eat better because a few days in, I would tell myself that I was just eating crap and nothing activity wise I was doing even mattered ‘ I’d start again tomorrow ‘ and when I would start to exercise, I would never keep up because my eating was still garbage and I had little to no energy. I came to discover I was a food, sugar addict, and my dependency on food reached the addiction level. If you can relate to any of this, I bet you’re wondering what I did with all this information…
First, I decided to love myself where I was, just as I was, and to see the beautiful person I was. I realized that today is a gift and if something happened where I didn’t have a tomorrow, I wanted to still be remembered as someone who was grateful, who wanted to make a change in the world, who loved others, adored my family… I was enough and I didn’t want to be remembered as someone who never really did anything, always saying ” tomorrow. ” This action without any other change, changed my life. I decided to forgive myself and realize that having extra unwanted pounds didn’t makes me worthless like I was telling myself… ((( I wasn’t worthless ))) this was life changing… it was ok to be where I was and just start from ground zero and give my best each day. I still do this as there are seasons like after having my babies that I need to re group !
So what did I do ? Just like in the coaching I do with clients, I believe in creating a vision for the future, an image of what we want to reach and to set stepping stones on getting there. Most of my clients are like I was and have been off track for years and so the biggest thing for me was realizing I wasn’t going to be able to change everything over night and keep it up. After the decision to love myself and forgive myself, I worked on my vision for the future, what I wanted out of life, what I wanted to give to life and made small daily goals on how to reach that place. Instead of making a HUGE change in just exercise, I decided to make small needed changes in every area that needed adjustment so everything was working together in wonderful flow and balance. If I made small changes in eating and exercise, they were no longer working against each other and I realized that small manageable changes really were HUGE changes that were constantly adding up.
If you’re reading this and wondering but Sara, what do I do ? ! As a coach who helps others reach goals and as someone on my own life long journey, I would say to first, put an end to a timeline. I realize you may have a wedding coming up or some sort of event where you really want to look and feel different by a certain time, but making insane changes that don’t speak to you as a person, that don’t flow in your real life or create some spark of passion, will just cause you to fall flat at some point. Also, even when we do EVERYTHING right, sometimes we STILL fall flat, getting back up is what truly matters !
Here are 8 things you can start doing today to begin reaching your health and wellness goals:
1) Take the time to love & forgive yourself Like each snowflake is individual, you are unique and add something to this world that no one else can. At first this may feel awkward, you may have trouble coming up with anything you love or like about yourself and this is why it’s so important to not skip this step. If you must, ask people you trust to tell you what they value in you, take the time to absorb this and allow feelings of self like and love to come in. This doesn’t make you vain, it allows you to see the beautiful abilities and capabilities you have.
2) Come up with your vision of who you want to be, where you want to go and implement small, manageable changes right away that all flow together – Realize there are things you can do to help the process of change – you may never go to bed the night before feeling excited to exercise the next day, but if you get enough rest, nourish your body, drink water, you can at least build yourself up to be in the best place possible so you at least feel able to take this all on.
3) Don’t take your journey day by day – Say what ?! When we take things day by day, something that can happen is that once we do something we feel is off track, we feel we have ruined all progress that day and we tell ourselves ” why bother to continue today ” and vow to start again” tomorrow” Instead, take your journey choice by choice. One or two off choices in a day do not ruin your day, allowing those choices to dictate how you move forward does. If you make a choice that you feel was off, make a better choice next time. Our day is filled with choices and you’ll be amazed with how many opportunities you truly have to turn things around.
4) Don’t compare yourself or your journey to anyone else – Remember that in this current world of constant sharing on social media, tv, and magazines, people and companies ultimately share what they want. Often, we don’t see the entire picture and even when we do, each of us have our own path we must travel. Be careful of the measuring stick you use when evaluating your progress – when you base this on comparisons to others, you may be reaching for something that doesn’t even exist.
5) Make a plan to change your lifestyle, not start a ‘ diet ‘ – You want to change your life, for life, so create the life you want that includes fun and excitement. Like I mentioned above, don’t start running because your friend Judy did and lost 50 lbs fast…you don’t really know Judy’s whole story and this is your life and so the choices you make and changes you implement, need to speak to who you are. Find what you love and what you can stick to, things that make you smile and while you may not love physical activity, there is always something we can do where at least we feel we can handle it and enjoy the satisfaction of completion once done.
6) View the gift that today is and practice gratitude – It is so easy to succumb to the negative of what we feel we don’t have and to wish for better days ahead. The truth is, today is a precious gift MANY have not been granted … take a moment to really think about the gravity of this. With all the issues we face and challenges that await, there are many who would have given anything to just have the gift that is today even with all it’s ups and downs. We are blessed – There is a quote that says something along the lines of what if you woke tomorrow with only the things you took the time to be grateful for today. Even with all our struggles, remember there are those who pray each night to have a fraction of what we have like clean drinking water, a place to sleep, a friend to call … Gratitude may seem like a small, insignificant change but I must say that practicing real gratitude turns what we have into enough and can save our emotional lives. For me, this includes being thankful to God daily, for my many blessings along with the lessons I have learned along the way to bring me where I am today. As a complete side note, I want to add the importance of kindness, kindness makes everything better !
7) Realize in this very moment the ONLY thing that can truly stop you from reaching the goals and dreams you want in life is you – I know, this may make you feel regret again, putting all the work back in your court, but this is actually an encouraging truth. You may need to dig deep, find self love, start a plan built on dedication and determination, but you are the driver of your life and the beauty is, you have ALL the tools you need in this very moment to start. Let go of the regret, the embarrassment and all the reasons you have told yourself why you can’t and find ONE reason why you can. Let the light of hope in, and just start. You CAN do it and I know this because I continue to do this coming from a place where I never imagined it possible !
8) Make the choice – Realize that no matter what’s going on in life the only true thing that separates those who reach goals from those who do not, is the choice we all have to implement the needed steps for change over those who do not. We each have the ability to reach amazing things in our life, we may have to adjust our sails, find creative ways to succeed but there is always a way, if we are willing to work towards it. And remember to find a way that works for you, don’t try to push your round ideas into square holes. If you’re a fish, don’t waste time trying to climb a tree.