Being a parent is probably the most challenging job ever invented. We want nothing but the best for our children, and we’re willing to sacrifice ourselves if it means our children benefit.
At some point, however, we have to work at balancing out the scales. Kids, I’m talking to you now. I’m here to tell you, we love you, but something’s got to give!
We’ve sacrificed our sanity, our “me” time, and even our bodies for you. What was once cute, soft, and dare I say perky, is now hideous, wrinkled, and sags like a sack of mail.
We want our stuff back.
We’re tired of feeling tired and overwhelmed and underqualified for a position that requires too many working hours and not enough perks and praise. You’re going to have to step back and give us a little breathing room kid because we’re done putting ourselves, and our health, on the back burner. The time has come.
If only it were that easy!
I joke about our children, they’re a joy to raise with their adorable, smiling faces (at all hours of the night). And it’s endearing to watch them grow into their charming personalities (after enduring countless temper tantrums — it’s their way of figuring it all out, I guess).
Children wield an almighty power that can fill our hearts with overwhelming love, and they can also bring us to our knees with their whines and irrational demands, causing us to instinctively reach for the wine, cookie, or treat that will make it all better.
Yet we know better, and that’s why we continuously fluctuate from dieting to binge eating, from working out to varying levels of inactivity that occur more times in a year than we’re willing to admit. We’re all over the place, and who can blame us? It’s easy to get caught up in the latest diet fad as new ones are popping up every other week. And if Claire from down the street lost 30 pounds by eating twigs and berries, you can bet Samantha is going to try that diet next! We’re a bit of a fickle crew.
When traveling down the bumpy road of parenthood, it’s easy to lose sight of our own needs. Bad habits sneak in, and we’re at a loss when we step on the scale and see that number boldly staring back. And then we naturally freak out!
I’ve freaked out so many times because of that scale.
Deep breath in, and exhale. There’s a better way. Instead of freaking out, let’s instead think of that number as a little nudge from the Universe, reminding us that perhaps we’ve lost our way a bit, and we need to get back to neutral.
Let’s take advantage of the opportunity before us to re-prioritize our lives and look at it as a chance to place ourselves before everyone else. (Shock and awe may ensue, but I say we go for it anyway!).
It’s really quite easy as long as you’re ok with taking back what’s rightfully yours. In the name of improved health, heightened self-confidence, and graceful aging, it’s a no-brainer.
So next time you’re ready to get serious about improving your health, here are three steps to help you set your sails in the right direction. After that, it’s up to you to figure out how far you want to go.
1. Bridge the gap between where you are vs. where you want to be.
Are you unhappy with your body and want to lose 20 pounds? Are you tired of feeling like you have no control around food? Do you struggle to find a fitness routine that you can stick with for more than a month?
Grab a notebook and begin writing down everything you’re struggling with. Dump it all out on paper and see, truly see, what you’re dealing with. Where are you now?
Once you’ve gained a little clarity around where you are, write out where you want to be. What does life look like six months from now? Or a year from now? Where have you made the most improvements, and what does that look like?
Once you understand where you are and you know where you want to be, it’s a matter of bridging the two. How do you get from point A to point B? Once you have clarity around this, taking the first step should become evident.
I suggest paying attention to the things that bring you the most discomfort. (The more uncomfortable you’re willing to get, the more progress you’ll make — nobody wants to hear that, but it’s true!).
If you want to change your body, you start by pushing yourself harder during your workouts, getting a little sweatier, or lifting heavier weights. If you struggle with controlling yourself around food, begin by giving up your nightly treat or after dinner snack. If you lack time to meditate, but you really want to get into the habit, try going to bed 20 minutes later or getting up 20 minutes earlier.
“If you want something you never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
2. Commit to showing up every day.
When embarking on creating change, it must be continually reinforced. That means you need to show up every single day and get ‘er done. And, this is extremely important, you must let go of your excuses. You know the ones:
“I have no time.”
“I’m so stressed out, I deserve this treat.”
“I worked out today, I can eat this muffin.”
“I’m too busy to cook.”
Don’t even utter any of these excuses ever again. They’re not real. They’re fabrications, and their only purpose is to keep you exactly where you are, safe and cozy, and as far away as possible from the edges of your comfort zone.
A mantra I live by, and one that has strengthened my “show-up” muscle is this: “Today I commit to doing 1% more.” That little extra effort each day makes a difference. It’s the little things you do every day that makes all the difference. Think about it. How many times do you pick at your kid’s leftovers, eat a quick snack in the car while carpooling, skip a workout because you have no time?
It all adds up!
Do the work today that will get you to where you want to be a year from now. Otherwise, you’re going to find yourself in the same position, with the same desires and zero results, because you didn’t commit to showing up every day.
And by no means will it be easy, and you may want to give up a month into it, but I challenge you to stick it out because not many do.
3. Ask yourself better questions.
We tend to let ourselves off the hook way too easily. When the struggle bus comes to town, we hop aboard and start singing our sad song…all over town.
Listen, there is no way to achieve results without going head to head with adversity. It’s never going to be easy. That’s why there are so many options out there when it comes to your health. You can pop a pill. You can undergo surgery. You can try new diets every other day. There are a million ways to get to the same results. Some are better and safer options, while others are quicker and easier.
What you need to ask yourself is, what is better for you in the long-run? What can you maintain? How hard are you actually pushing yourself, and are you capable of more?
My favorite question is: Who do I have to become to make my goals a reality? Chew on that one for a bit, it’s interesting to see what you can come up with when you give it some thought.
Instead of giving in when the going gets tough, ask yourself some hard questions. Get to the root cause of why you think you’re struggling instead of simply giving in and going for the quick fix.
Asking better questions is how you grow, learn, and create new opportunities for yourself.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the opportunities you can create for success, but they’re a starting point. Know where you want to be six months from now and commit to devoting time and energy every day to get you there. You can do this!