I had to.
A while back, I reached out to an old weight loss warrior friend with whom I hadn’t talked to in over two years. We exchanged “whatcha doin’s” and life went back to cat videos and dead lifts (me and him respectively).
It was an Instagram post that he wrote a while back that got me thinking of how to approach the continuation of my recently stalled journey and the steps needed to get back to me. For a further read click HERE.
This post, along with some words from my man friend last night, got me really digging deep in the emotions and caused some introspection, particularly where I may have fallen short when I took the first step towards a healthier life over five years ago.
I was trying to articulate to him the difference this time around; that I am not resigned to the fact I am fat, but that I am taking the invisible steps (at least to those around me) necessary in order for the physical steps to happen and to stick! The work inside my brain and heart and soul far exceed the changes I will make physically – it is essential to the process and, in my opinion, is the foundation to lasting change.
I failed to do this last time around. It is because of this my injury and breakup were an easy scapegoat for the relapse that has taken shape.
I do best under pressure and when I have multiple projects on the go – my success has always been in the multiple and whether at home or in my career, give me more, and my productivity will increase exponentially. A true multi-tasker.
At least I thought.
Back to Tim’s post:
The greatest predictor for personal and professional success comes from our ability to eliminate the non essential… new practices could not have happened without eliminating other practices like reducing television, eliminating video games, eliminating toxic and non value relationships and seeing my time as valuable.
I took this post to heart. The starting and stopping of my workouts and meal plans was driving me crazy and I didn’t know why consistency was lacking. While I hadn’t thought things through completely, which is true to character lately, I believed this was a great way to achieve success in small steps.
The decision to not multi-task for the first time in my life happened over the course of a few days. And then, I decided to start with the biggest of non-essential.
First item to give up was Facebook. We love it, we hate it, we scroll instead of listening to our partner or kids or our own thoughts. It’s the greatest distraction and the most time-sucking platform out there. I valued Facebook when my business was primarily online. But much like the Meh character’s reflection in the recently enjoyed Emoji Movie, “All they do is talk about themselves. I would rather have real friends.”
The app has been removed from my phone. The extra time has allowed me to do essential things in my life that I may have otherwise ignored: grooming and playing with Opie, playing cards with my kids, being present when I am with family and loved ones (this was a big one for me – I encourage you to be aware of how often those around you pick up their phone. It’s the dozens of nano seconds that add up to many missed hours with those around us), repotting a plant, organizing my closet, reading, writing… all these things hold so much value in my life, although small things, result in me doing things that are not only essential to keep my life moving forward, but things that bring me joy and contentment.
Once three weeks passed, I had to decide on my next non essential to give up.
Second item to give up was take-out at work… even if it was from Whole Foods. This was necessary for a number of reasons, all of which are fairly obvious. Money, time getting to and from places on a half hour lunch, the quality of food being consumed, etc., etc. What has this freed up for me? The biggest take away from this is getting in the habit (again) of preparing meals and planning ahead. I also committed to taking all the money I was spending on my take out lunches and making a weekly deposit into my newly opened Savings account. For the first time, I have a small pot of cash that is growing every day, my waist is a little slimmer and I certainly have my half hour to enjoy eating, listen to a podcast, go for a stroll or do a little reading. All essentials to a happier life!
Third item to give up has been sleep. WHAT??? Our time is finite. We all know that (currently listening to Ted Radio Hour’s “Shifting Time”). Sleep is something that I believe is both essential and vital for a healthy life. But, you need to find your sweet spot. For me, it’s 6 1/2 to 7 hours. By giving up one hour of sleep every day for three weeks, I will allow myself an extra hour in the morning for me. Now, I could go whole-hog here and say I’m going to work out every morning with that hour, but I don’t want to commit to one thing because experience has shown if and when I miss one or two workouts, I feel defeated and consistency is broken. For me, it’s committing to an hour of me time where I can do any of the following: read, work out, meditate, have breakfast with my man, write, do my nails, sit outside, go for a walk. It will not be used to prep lunches, dinner, house chores such as laundry or cleaning, paying bills, or essentially any adulting. By sacrificing an hour of my sleep, I need to be adding in something of mental or emotional value.
Giving up this summer has been a great way of laying the foundation of new habits. By sticking to each item for three weeks at a time, I am celebrating small successes. Will I ever go back to those things I have lost? Well, I guess the importance in this lesson is not to focus on what I have given up, but focussing on all the great things I have gained by eliminating the aspects of my life I once thought I valued.
“If you want to grow, start by shrinking.” ~TinierTim