Let’s imagine reserving a trip with one of those white water rafting companies. We plan, research, purchase the floppy hat and water shoes, apply the sunblock and get to the departure point where we park our car.
We will ride the river for several miles and then a van will pick us up and bring us back to the original starting point, our car. Sounds fun, right? If you were asked about what the best part of the entire thing was you might likely say..”my time on the river for sure!”
But, suppose you paused and thought about it and realized, “Hey, I’m already at my destination point, my car. Why go to all this trouble going down the river, getting wet, maybe falling out, maybe getting a bruise or two? Why don’t I just skip that whole river ride part? After all, I’m already at the final destination!”
I know, I know…It’s a ridiculous thought. You would always choose the ride. After all, the ride IS the point. The destination is NOT the point. Getting DONE and getting the box checked is not the primary objective here. Yet, that is how many of us view change, projects, our life.
But there’s one thing they, we, all share in common and it is the nagging idea that “we should be further than we are on the journey map,” or “we should be nearer the destination or better yet AT the destination.” After all we work hard. What’s taking so long??
I’m going to turn on a bright floodlight here and shine it right on this tricky little maneuver our primitive brains use to keep us sitting in the parking lot and off of that fun raft going down the river. Our subtle crafty brains try all sorts of tricks like:
- This is taking too long.
- The progress is minimal. I might as well give up.
- This is boring and everyone else is having way more fun than me.
- I deserve to eat/drink______________.
- I deserve to sit on the couch all day.
- I deserve to sleep in after working so hard.
- It’s probably dangerous to go out in this weather/cold/heat/rain anyway.
- I deserve to overspend, overshop, over-instagram, over over over. It’s a treat and it doesn’t hurt anything.
And if discouragement like this doesn’t work the brain shifts to self-attack.
- OMG I am such a loser. I talk about doing all these changes and I never sustain it.
- I’m so mad at this body.
- I’m going to starve myself…this weight is coming off OR ELSE.
- That’s it! I’m running 10 miles and eating 2 carrots only. Period. Let’s just watch that scale defy me now!!!
Since thoughts like these are a common thing all of us have to address, I have a few ideas to share. I hope they’ll help you. 🙂
TIP #1 IT ALL BELONGS; NOTHING HAS GONE WRONG.
- If you set a goal to change, to clean up, to improve something…you have already won. Most people never start. Never place a big goal out there. Going after a goal is riding the river. Some days will be calm and smooth and sunny and chill. Other days will gritty and you’ll think you deserve to be off that river and resting in the car. Both are part of the ride. They BOTH belong. They BOTH are normal. If you can smile inwardly and high five yourself for being on the freaking river EVEN ON THOSE GRITTY (boring, repetitive, discouraging, weak, wimpy, whiny) days, everything shifts at that point. The loving and adoring of ALL the contrasting emotions coming out of you on this multi-faceted river IS where you no longer battle yourself. You are accepting of it all.
If, for example, you are discouraged one day, you recognize it, name it, encourage yourself with a pep talk, get a little extra sleep, allow yourself a special treat like a hot bath, a massage, a manicure, and the rehearsing of a list of your brave, bad-ass strong, intentional work. This final idea, the speaking out loud of ways you’re proud of yourself is extremely important and powerful.
TIP #2 MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF-HAVE A PLAN
I often encourage clients to plan or schedule days off, take-a-break days. Sometimes these are called cheat days or naughty days. Here’s the cool thing about this idea: When we know a day with more choices (or rebellion) is scheduled we don’t need to do it today in response to impulse.
INSIDER SECRET: If you schedule naughty time and then you TAKE naughty time you are a success not a failure. And THAT is very different to the brain. It is empowering instead of dis-empowering. When we view ourselves as failures we fail more in confirmation of that belief.
So, in other words, plan and schedule:
- special sleep in days
- a day off from workout
- a day to have a sugary treat
- a day to eat at whatever time you want (no time restrictions)
- a day to purchase yourself a gift
TIP #3 BEING DONE = BEING DEAD
Many people start this journey with me, and after a session or two they say, “What was I afraid of calling for???” They were afraid because it felt awkward to ask for help with something it seems everyone else can handle alone. (This is a lie, by the way.)
They were afraid of starting a journey that looked hard and maybe could result in failure.
Once they realized being on the river is it’s own exciting, thrilling thing, they were shocked that they had perceived it BETTER, AND SAFER to sit in the parking lot and complain about what they didn’t like.
Listen, it’s the same reason people enter races, grueling races, or any race at all. They want to push, grow, expand, see what they’re made of, make new friends, experience more life, be able to talk about it with fellow racers, buy the cool race swag, etc.
- Get on the river.
- Get wet, sunburned, laugh, cry, scream, maybe fall out, catch a bruise, make memories, smile, be amazed.
- Above all, celebrate your willingness every single day to be a participant in life. Don’t miss an opportunity to talk yourself UP to YOURSELF.
- You’re human. Plan days to allow for human-ness.
- Ride with gusto as long as you’re able. Don’t rush to complete the river…that’s for those who are no longer breathing.
I wish for you, ALL OF IT… Every high, every low. This is life and you are capable of experiencing it ALL without self-destruction. Ride, my friends!