So this is it, you have decided that 2018 is going to be YOUR year. You've got goals and ain't nobody gonna stop you. I'm with you, I'm a goals kind of gal, I'm always working toward something.
Last week I committed to 21 days of eating clean, exercising every day and making time for prayer and meditation. This isn't anything unusual, it's basically how I've been living my life for quite a few years. But I've been feeling rather discombobulated since the summer with some expected and unexpected stressors that have come my way and I wasn't enjoying how I was feeling in my body so enough was enough.
The first few days, I was a champion. Tracking my meals, prepping my food, moving my body and making time for prayer and then *insert scratching record here*, life happened. Work turned to crap, I ended up working a long day. I was PMSing, mentally exhausted and had the blues from this cold gloomy weather and so, I ate. The good news is that I didn't eat nearly as much as the old Tara would have, but still, I blew my perfect streak. And instead of moving I vegged on the couch and watching sit coms.
As I've written before, perfectionism and wellness, they don't play nicely. Perfectionism has us constantly scrutinizing, ourselves, others...because we have unusually high expectations. This week, as I walked by my wellness chart on my refrigerator. I got more and more pissed. I kept staring at the ONE day when I blew it. I got good and angry about it. How could I screw up only a few days in? I started to have an unhealthy chat with myself.
"This is too hard quit now. If you can't stick to something for at least a week, I mean c'mon loser...I mean Tara. You ruined everything. You are weak. And of course the F word- failure. You failed."
One of the best sermons I heard about forgiveness and unrealistic expectations went something like this. Some people, they are just teacup people, it's all of the love they have to give. They're doing the best with what they have and who they are, but we expect buckets from them. We expect buckets and they're giving their best teacup. And when we don't get buckets in return, we feel let down.
The same goes with our wellness. We have to remember that we didn't create all of these rotten habits in a week, we won't break them in a week. Heck, I've carried some of my unhealthy habits since childhood. Our effort will some days pour out and we will overflow the danged bucket. But there will be days when life happens [stress at work, at home, a sick child or spouse, traffic, no groceries in the house, loss, financial stress, a crying baby, illness] and all we have left to give is a teacup, if that. We need to be OK with it.
I went to a counselor a few years back and we talked about dealing with setbacks and disappointments. She told me to sit with how I'm feeling for just a bit, don't dwell. To accept that what I'm feeling is real and then to re-calibrate and move on.
So day four into my wellness journey of what seems like a million do-overs, that's what I did. I got good and angry and then, I stopped the negative self talk. This is such an important step. We have to learn to be aware of how we're talking to ourselves and when that talk becomes counterproductive to our goals, to know it's time to stop.
If you're a parent reading this, there's a good likelihood that one of your children tried to play an instrument, or at least that
stupid plastic recorder that both of my kids came home with over the years. My husband and I still remember our daughter's elementary school band and chorus concert. All of the kids came out, beaming with excitement and waving to their families. A hush went over the crowd as the band started playing. It was purely awful. They were beats behind and out of tune. Oh the torture to our ears. It seemed to last forever...But when it was over we all hooted and hollered like it was the most beautiful medley of melodies that we had ever heard. Nothing can compete with a proud parents heart.
To get to the good, we need to be able to play through the ugly.
We need to keep going, practicing, doing, trying. We also need to be able to focus on the positive. The healthy choices we've made and actions we've taken. These small changes are what will propel us closer to our goals.
Like those kids up on that stage at that concert, we need to believe that we are doing good work and that playing a few wrong notes doesn't our offset best efforts, it just teaches us what to do differently next time. We keep getting better.
Make the choice, commit to the choice, continue with courage.
Love and friendship,