Come January…who among us is not telling ourselves “I’ll do better”. I’ll spend less, I’ll love more, I’ll make time, I’ll watch what I eat”…on and on. Seriously thats a lot of pressure all at once! We call these good intentions and ultimately when we fail it makes us feel like losers. The problem is with all those intentions something is bound to fail. Lets face it we work in stressful jobs, worry about our money, worry about our kids and worry about our health. How do we deal with all this worry? It happens to be the opposite of all those good intentions. Human nature…we relieve stress with activities that make us feel better. Shopping, eating, drinking…and of course the inertia that develops from being overwhelmed from all these self imposed demands.
Now let me speak for myself…as a “fitness” professional. I am no different from anyone else who struggles with all of the above. I eat the wrong things, sit on my ass when I should be moving, buy things I don’t need and even worse drink wayyyyy to much wine. There is this image that people who promote fitness/health seem to bypass these struggles. I mean really does any of us think Jillian Michael’s ever eats a french fry dipped in cheese sauce and then skips her workout? I can’t walk through a grocery isle without being bombarded with how tabloids telling me how so and so lost weight in 3 minutes and how so and so went from a fat size 6 all the way down to a skelator size zero. Its really just way to much for me. In the study of psychology ( of which I am a lifelong student) the concept of negative reinforcement has been shown to be a complete failure. Remember when you dad would say things like ” your brother/sister never made a D in math and can run a .03 second mile”. Did you feel encouraged to do better or did you feel like throwing your hands up and smoking a joint behind the school gym? See…thats how I feel about the media. In between all the ads for gyms, diets and skinny celebrities…do you feel inspired or defeated? The average size woman is a size 10-12 by the way and most men are likely to be around a 36-38. This is nowhere near a 30 or a 0 unless your 8 years old.
Lets talk reality. I consider myself a realist, I don’t promote goals that are only obtainable by celebrities with personal trainer and chefs and of course the money. There will be days when you act completely irresponsible and days you act like a saint. The goal is to find that happy middle ground where you feel moderately successful. With each moderate success you will develop a bit more confidence in your own ability to achieve your goals. The hardest part is to not compare yourself to others. I struggle with this all the time…I doubt it will ever change. I am aware and sometimes that is the best you can do. It’s okay. At the end of the day its mostly about what we tell ourselves, not what the media or our friends tell us. We create our own reality…its simple. Yes there are outside events and people that intermix with our reality but its still our choice on how we deal with this. Sometimes quite frankly I suck at this. However thats the point somedays you may just suck at life…ehhhh…move on…tomorrow really is another day Scarlet.
So while you are ruminating on how to perfect your life this year…give yourself some wiggle room. Take each goal one baby step at a time. It might be to switch out your Fruit Loops for Cherrios, or to walk for 30 minutes today. Success does not come quick or easy as we are lead to believe. It is a journey…it is called living our lives. Somedays you face-plant (happens to me running at least twice a year ) and somedays you sail like a schooner on calm waters.
One step…one small goal…be kind to yourself and others. Be happy for the successes of others and accept your own shortcomings for today. Tomorrow give it another shot and remember that perfection is not the outcome just the effort.