It snowed about 8 inches yesterday (the picture above is about 4 inches in) and while I enjoyed sitting at home, feeling like I was trapped in a snow globe (insert mime hands here) watching it from the inside, taking a couple of walks (walking on fresh snow is like walking on sand, but with the slip factor thrown in – hello unintentional extra exercise!) to get some fresh air and take a break from work, I realized that snow makes me introspective.
Watch out world.
On top of the introspective snowstorm, I have a colleague who has been putting together some training about a work topic and is peppering in with that topic its relation to physical health and physical / mental wellness. Corporate America’s link to health and wellness is a topic that interests me a lot, but something that was said during the delivery of the training really spoke to me. The basic message was this… stop setting physical goals that are unattainable because they make you miserable. The individual went on to say, if you don’t like it, no amount of “willpower” will make you stick to it. The trainer gave the example of running — if you hate running, stop setting resolutions that say you want to run more. You might be able to run a marathon, but if you’re miserable the whole time, why would you do it? Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean YOU have to like it / do it too. Find what you enjoy and do THAT. In this example, replace it with something that is just as healthy but will work for YOU.
For a smart person I can be a little slow sometimes.
Replace the running example with yoga, reading Shakespeare, rock-climbing, sewing quilts, crazy exercise programs, reducing gluten intake, etc… Just because it’s a fad or working for someone else doesn’t mean that it will work FOR ME. And it definitely doesn’t mean that I’ll enjoy it. Even if I want to and even if I know that it would be good for me.
Please tell me that I’m not the only one who has fallen into this trap?
I don’t have this problem in my professional life (ok, I am a little competitive, but seriously, who isn’t?), but I REALLY struggle with it in my personal life. I even judge my hobbies against what everyone else is doing.
HOBBIES. As in, for me. Enjoyable.
This is a horrible habit and one that needs to stop. TODAY.
I have got to stop doing things because other people are raving about them even though they don’t resonate with me and may even be making me miserable. I have to find out what motivates me and push forward with that.
For the most part, I didn’t even realize that I was doing it.
There’s a difference between, “ugh, I have to work out” and “ugh, I hate yoga. I feel like a fat, uncoordinated slob when I do yoga, but I guess I’ll do yoga because I know it’s good for me.” Defeatist much?
I am not saying that I need to find the easy way out… I absolutely do not want the easy way out (ok, sometimes). I just have to find out what makes me tick. What motivates ME. What energizes me and what works for my body, at this moment in time, in this life.
Let’s be honest, I am probably never going to give up pizza. Who are you kidding? And running? I enjoyed it when I was doing it, but if it isn’t my thing, like really deep down isn’t my thing, I don’t need to compare myself to the girl who runs 6 miles at a time at the gym every morning. I’m a swimmer. Deep down, I was practically born wearing a Speedo and I love it. Heck, I even take pride in it.
The sad part is that I lost the love for swimming because no one else was swimming and it got a little hard to find an accessible pool at a reasonable price in the city.
Isn’t that silly?
I gave up something that is extremely healthy and makes me feel strong and happy because, essentially, it was hard and, if I’m a little honest, didn’t feel like something that I had to push myself on.
So let’s recap. I would rather push myself to learn to be a runner (something that I don’t totally enjoy) because I can call it an accomplishment, than continue swimming, a workout that is just as good for me, because I can already do it?
I’m not debating the need for challenge and setting up goals and all of that… that’s a different topic…what I know is, I’ve go to change my perspective.
Get me back into the pool, pronto!
…So I’ll walk around smelling like chlorine and I’ll have to get my steps in different ways and work out at different times of the day because of the pool schedule at my gym, but if it works, it works. The wet hair in winter thing kind of sucks, but I’ll deal with that. Especially if swimming actually makes me happy. Some days it might and some days it won’t and I’ll need to be ok with that. At least my knees won’t hurt.
What scares me the most about all of this, and this might be a stretch from talking about working out (hello tangent), is that if I am being influenced by others — and I am not saying that all of this is negative by any means… hell, everyone can use a little motivation — how will I teach a child, my niece, anyone who looks up to me for guidance, how to be independent and how to enjoy what they’re into, even if it’s not cool or all of their friends don’t “get it”. How to be themselves. How to have a voice that matters. How to be influenced in the right ways and ignore the other crap that comes along with being a kid, a teenager, an adult, a woman.
If you asked me if I was independent and self-motivated and brave and stood up for what I believe in I would say YES, absolutely YES without a second thought. I know that to be very true. But I do a lot of the being me from the sidelines. I rarely admit when I am struggling because I have been independent for a long time. I don’t ask for help with the big stuff unless I really need it and I wait until I have a coherent thought before I speak (unless I am an emotional messball and then, well, you get what you get).
What we’ve witnessed above is that I sometimes don’t even do the things that I fully enjoy because they don’t fit the mold of what everyone else is doing.
That. is. CRAZY.
Yes, I believe that all of this, even the part of the story that could use some tweaking, makes me ME and I am ok with that, for the most part. But standing on the personal-life sidelines waiting for things to sort themselves out? I’m no longer ok with that.
Get in shape physically. Get in shape emotionally. Do well at work. Feel happy. See where I am going here?
Re-focusing on my personal needs has been a priority for me this year more so than in other years. Call it growing up. Call it not traveling and therefore not forgetting about my problems from Mon-Thurs every week, call it thinking about creating a healthy home with my husband… happiness and getting in tune with what we need as a family are top priority. My being emotionally and physically healthy are a HUGE part of that equation. One individual in my house more so than the other tends to just go with the flow and be happy with what they have. One less so. Cough.
I guess some introspection is good for the soul. It might even be good for my thighs… I used to have wicked strong thighs when I was in the water 4 hours a day and that can’t be a bad thing (no, I will not be dedicating 4 hours a day to time in the pool – as nice as that would be, I am not into feeling like a prune and this isn’t the Biggest Loser).
Whew, that was long-winded. Good thing it has stopped snowing. Another day of feeling like a mime in a snow globe and who knows what I’d write about.
As a side note, does anyone know of a lap counter for swimming like there is a pedometer for steps? As far as I know, none of the new pedometers / wrist bands / calorie counter things are completely waterproof…water resistant, but not wearable in the pool.