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The Key Is Consistency over Time

successblocksIt’s been about two weeks since I last posted, so I thought I’d give an update on my progress in the fitness area.  It’s mixed.  The good thing is that in the last week, which is when I really got serious (I spent the week before dilly dallying around mostly until about midweek), I lost a kilo, which is just over two pounds.  Last Monday, I took measurements and set goals and one goal is to try to  lose a kilo a week. But when you are over 50 and your lifestyle involves food and social events that are not conducive to furthering your fitness goals, it’s tough.  I blew it a lot.  But I did one thing well and that was to workout or be active every single day. And I tracked my progress.

Fitness is always an internal journey as well as a physical one.  We win or lose the battle in our heads long before we see the results on our bodies. It’s about being consistent over time, more than it is about being really good at anything we do.  I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I’m in the worst shape I’ve been in, in recent years.  Walking is tough for me and I’m not fast. I can ride my bike, but the bike I’m riding these days is much heavier as am I, so I’m pushing hard when I have to climb even the slightest of inclines. It’s easy to look at how much fitness I’ve lost over the last two years and become discouraged.  It’s a mental battle before it becomes a physical one.  On October 21st, I just decided to get started.  I set a goal to get out and walk every day for at least two miles. On some days I was just under that goal, on others I was well over it.  By the following week, I logged a couple of days where my walking distance was six or seven miles. Last week I exceeded my weekly walking goal of ten miles after only three days in.  Since the weather was nice, I added bike riding into my activities and I headed back to the gym for some strength training. I took two days of rest after ten straight days of activity.  Now, I won’t keep that up, but I needed to force a daily exercise time into my schedule.  I had to be okay with the fact that it wasn’t at the gym every day but that I was getting out and doing something for one hour a day. I hoped I’d lose weight.  I wasn’t holding my breath about it though, because like I said, I really didn’t modify the eating too much. My big goal was the exercise, and I’ve got that underway.  Now I can continue that progress and add in another small goal. Mental determination translates into physical fitness success. Read the rest of this entry

Motivation, Determination and Mental Momentum

And then there was the evening when I finished off the last of the whiskey, drained the vodka, emptied the tonic and ran out of ice.  The gin had been ingested and digested a week ago. I was determined to stop with the evening cocktail or glass of wine and get up the next morning and complete a full workout. I was going to do it.  I wasn’t in the mode of telling myself “I should do this for me.”  I was in the frame of mind (which is difficult to muster artificially) that “I was going to do this thing.”  That “I could do this thing and I could start whatever I needed to start, change whatever I needed to change and I would not quit until I had achieved it.”  So, after finishing off a very small whiskey on the rocks, I went to bed determined to get up and get started on my new life.

This, after completely gorging on dinner that evening.

This, after saying a thousand times I was going to start only to start and fall off the wagon or skip the exercise or eat the pasta again and again and again.

But this time it was different.  There was no mental waffling or fear of failure.  It was a solid way of thinking.  It was going to happen, and I was going to do it.  Read the rest of this entry

Unmotivated and Okay With It

In my younger years, I was one of those driven Type A people.  I would over-commit, over-do, over-achieve and I really somehow felt like I had to prove myself to the world.  Fast foward 30+ years and things have changed.  I no longer feel the need to work so hard to prove anything to anyone…not even to myself. I can sleep in on the weekends.  I can go home after work and not take work home, much.  (I used to spend a full eight to ten hours on a weekend working.) I love a clean house, but I’m not about to slave over cleaning the grout in the shower every three days. I can let stuff go.  I am the furthest thing from driven imaginable. What happened?  When did it happen and why the change from then to now?

The first thing that happened was my first marriage.  I am, by nature, not exactly the most efficient person in the world.  I am a creative sort, and when I work I like to have all my tools at my work space.  Crafty things can take up a lot of space.  I’m very particular about cleaning things up, however.  In the early days, I was also a bit of a hoarder.  I couldn’t have one set of brilliant markers or stamps or scrap-booking papers.  I had to have the newest, latest, bestest ones. This kind of crap can really clutter a home and fill a garage. To make matters worse, I was married to a man who was the epitome of slob.  He’d walk in the door and drop stuff right there.  He would do this all over the house.  To make matters even more difficult to manage, we started having children, one, then two then three.  Each child had their own junk.  Before I knew it, my desire for a tidy home was at war with the clutter and crap all over the place.

I learned that clutter creates stress. I didn’t need any more stress in life than I already had with three young children and a very unhappy marriage. I sought to remove the stress and the clutter from my life.

The next thing that happened occurred on the professional front.  I learned the very important lesson early on: don’t place all your eggs in the career basket.  No matter how great you are, how irreplaceable you are, how amazing your work, the day’s going to come when you are ultimately disposable and unnecessary…for whatever reason. What then?  All your time and energy has gone for what?

The final thing that happened, which took most of the last 30 years, some really good marriage counseling, and a slew of self-help books, was the realization that I really didn’t have anything to prove and I didn’t really care to spend the energy any more trying to prove whatever it was I was trying to prove in the first place.  I didn’t need to be rich, or at the top of the company ladder, or the first, best and fastest at anything.  I was not my achievement.  Sure, the achievement gave me some bragging rights…for a little while.  Who cares?

What really, really mattered, I discovered, was how I felt about myself and my life.  It really didn’t matter what others thought of me.  In the end, I’m the one that wakes up with myself every day forever. Once I learned to be okay with me, everything else in life fell in line.  I was able to figure out my own interests instead of spinning my wheels doing whatever everyone and anyone else thought was important for me to be and do.  Of course, this knowledge all came with the price of two failed marriages.  I wish I would have figured it all out much, much earlier.

These days, instead of being driven to perform and achieve, instead of worrying about what everyone thinks of me and how I look, and so on, I am able to relax and experience life.  I wasted a lot of years worrying too much about whether or not I was successful.  I spent way too much energy concerning myself with how I looked or what others thought of me.  I simply no longer care…at least…not like I used to.

These days, while the money is very tight and things are not perfect by any means, I am much happier.  I would still appreciate having a lot more money, but the problem is that I am no longer motivated to work myself to death to get more money.  I’m not willing to endure undue amounts of stress, tension, time away from my family and home to get more money. Because, when I’m gone, my money might help, but it won’t provide the comfort my presence does. So…we make do.

I’m okay with that.

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