It’s the last day of 2015! Anyone feeling a little anxious and uncomfortable? Why, you ask? Well I don’t know about you, but everywhere I turn there is another reminder that a new year should mean a major rehaul of my life….NEVER eat this again, Take your fitness to a NEW LEVEL, LET GO of old baggage, Take a LEAP into a new career or business. These are all things that can improve your life but can also be overwhelming and “too big to bite off.”
In my lifetime, New year’s resolutions have been a consideration for probably 20+ years. The funny thing is that I really can’t recall one that I made, followed through on and achieved any success. I’m not saying that I haven’t made life changes and been successful, but they have never been ones that I set as a resolution. Here’s the interesting part, that I only recently admitted to myself. Although I am a goal oriented person, I have used an “all or nothing” attitude to keep me from reaching higher levels of success. If I didn’t feel that I could be “all in” I would shy away and come up with reasons in my head of why it was unreasonable or flawed. Fear of failure, yes. Perfectionism, yes. Worried what others would think if I didn’t succeed, OMG YES!!!!
So how did I come to figure this out and what did I do with this, new found enlightenment?
I have a friend that has been a part of my life for almost 30 years, gulp! She is the kind of friend that is more opposite of you than alike, but that is what attracts you and what you admire most about her. In a word, she is a BADASS! I am positive that everyone has a person like this in their lives and if you don’t, Go out and find one. We recently spent a weekend together at a women’s business building conference that she invited me to attend. It was an intruiging offer, but required spending money, taking time off work and making arrangements for kids while I was gone. Something just kept telling me to go for it, this could be the opportunity I had been looking for and this was the friend that would help make it happen.
Over the weekend we acted as if we had just graduated college, but now we had so many life experiences to talk about. Relationships, careers, dreams and failures! We found plenty to laugh about, make fun of and learn from each others journeys. I have taken what many would call the “traditional” approach in life. A master’s degree, a sales career with an international company, wife, mother, homeowner and part time fitness professional. She took a more “passion driven” approach. PhD, college professor turned business entrepreneur, in a relationship but not married, no children, world traveler and the most important, true to herself in any situation. She is one of the best examples of how hard work and believing in yourself can get you through anything and not only survive, but thrive!
In all of our conversations about stepping into a new online business model, she provided reason when given objections, creative planning in the face of logistical challenges and ultimate cheerleading when faced with my self doubt. It was then that I realized that my “all or nothing approach” was actually holding me back from trying new things, finding my passions and experiencing failure. Nothing in life is a guarantee. Aren’t failures just another opportunity to learn? I know I read that somewhere in a parenting book and I have used this on my kids, so why not on myself? I have finally reached an age that I would rather try and fail then not be able to say I even tried.
After re-entering suburban family life the following week, I made some major decisions about where I was going to spend my energy and adopted a “just try it” attitude, specifically to my eating plan. You see, I get on a stage 3-4 times a week and motivate others to work hard, lift more and get fit. People stop me at the grocery store or my kid’s games and ask for advice on eating and exercise. I love this and will passionately go on and on as long as someone will listen. But honestly, I had some personal shame going on inside. As committed as I am to eating good food and exercising smart, I knew I could be doing alot better by feeding my workouts with cleaner food. I am not a dieter and never will be, but I felt there was something missing in my approach. So, with my new found outlook, I just started.
I decided to use a program that gave me the scientific and lifestyle tools to really figure out what worked best for me. Was I letter to the law? Absolutely not. I did not give up coffee,cream and sugar. I still drink red wine a couple times a week, I sometimes don’t have time for stress reducing activities and I have eaten a couple ham,egg and cheeses on a BAGEL,(gasp) on a Saturday morning with my kids.
So what happened? I lost weight & inches, expanded my cooking skills and menu options and was successful in spite of being perfect. I finally experienced that getting fit is 80% what you eat and 20% is how you exercise. The most important outcome is that I feel my body now represents the overall effort that I put into being fit and healthy and I am can now offer more to the people who seek my advice.
I started just before Halloween and knew I was going to have to struggle through 3 holidays(i love halloween and chocolate is a huge weakness) and my birthday. In the past, that would have been my excuse for not taking action. I would have considered it to be a guaranteed failure and restricting me from enjoying my life. But because I changed my way of thinking, in terms of any step towards improvement is better than doing nothing, I gained control and success.
So, as we all sit around today, talking to family and friends about what the new year will bring, stop and think about what is important to you and “what if”. “WHAT IF”…I just started doing the things I already know how to do, to make my life better, less stressful or more satisfying? If I take perfection off the table and focus more on action, what’s the worse that can happen? Failure and that is ok. Some of the most successful people have failed more times than they have succeeded. I saw this quote the other day and it’s so simple…
Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year!