Until I adopted a lifestyle of wellness, I allowed stress to derail my health and fitness incentive. I would be chugging away towards extreme wellness and there would be a blip on the radar and I would slowly but surely go off the tracks and lose all the ground that I had fought for and won in the battle of the bulge. The key to the problem was that I was viewing the battle as temporary, something that I had to get done. My good behaviors that I adapted to struggle along towards my goals were forced, against the grain, and any additional stress would cause me to ditch these good behaviors. As long as I viewed these new habits as temporary actions to accomplish a specific thing, it was easy to let them go when the normal stresses of everyday living turned the heat up on my efforts. If a truly serious event occurred, I would not only lose the newly won ground, I would backtrack and add extra pounds as I stress ate my way into unconsciousness every night and shunned workouts because it was “just too much”.
The last three years have presented unique challenges as I have created my life anew. I escaped a psychologically abusive environment the night that my home was destroyed by tornadoes. After 24 years of raising my special needs son, including 14 years of home schooling and then getting him through college, I was pretty burnt out. I reinstated my nursing license and began working a 12 hour shift in a nursing home that was not exactly an ideal place to work. The residents care was good but the working conditions for the employees could have been better and I was working from 7PM until 7AM. During this time, I was getting acquainted with “The Iron”. I had plenty of reasons to skip workouts or stress eat but instead, I made the decision to press into hard things to create the life that I wanted. At 61, I could not afford to let this opportunity for a great life get away from me. My window of opportunity for learning new job skills and getting really good at a job was getting dangerously close to closing. I had to decide if I wanted to do what seemed easier and live in Hell or do the hard thing and reap the life that I knew that I could have. I chose to do the hard thing. Today, I have peace in my home and a good job. I finally know what it’s like to look forward to going home. The reason that I have been able to find this peace is that I chose to stay focused on my goals.
Time Will Pass Either Way
A key to my success has been to realize that time will pass regardless of whether I am building towards my goals or destroying them. By choosing to focus on a positive outcome, day in and day out, I am seeing an increase in strength, definition and overall confidence. When stressful events occur, I don’t have that feeling of instability that trying times can bring. I already know what I am going to do. I am going to lift weights, eat well, track my food and get as much rest as I can work into my tight schedule. A rogue virus doesn’t change that. I have put some weights into my car so if I get quarantined somewhere, I have some Iron to work with. I am carrying extra protein and regardless of where I find myself, I will be doing the same things that I do now. My goals and focus will not change.
There’s a method to my madness that anyone can learn. It’s not easy but it’s easier than being manipulated by circumstances and losing your health or living in a terrible situation. Unless you take care of yourself, you will suffer. Nobody else can do this for you. It’s a personal choice.
1-Decide what you want. Do you want to be healthy? Do you want to have a good fat to muscle ratio? Do you like your living situation now? Be truthful with yourself. Pretense and posturing are not your friend. Time is running out. Your health is at stake.
2-Analyze your habits and motives. Are they in line with your goals? If not, change them.
3-Decide what changes you need to make to achieve your goals. At my darkest hour, I realized that I had to make drastic, scary changes if I was to ever have the life that I wanted.
4-Make plans. You will need immediate plans that work into long range plans. Begin to live with purpose and don’t waste time complaining and feeling sorry for yourself.
5-Commit to HARD work. Great things are hard fought and won. If you want a mediocre life then you will exert mediocre effort. If you want a spectacular life, you will have to exert spectacular effort. You will have to make spectacular leaps of faith and sacrifices. Awesome does not come easy.
6-Work it…and keep working it. I had to get over wanting ANYTHING to ever be easy. It won’t be. A diamond is made under great pressure, otherwise it will remain a lump of coal. Coal is fine if that’s what you like, but I like shiny things.
7-Take care of yourself. Learn to say “No.” to other people’s ideas, demands, opinions and manipulation. If someone can upset you with a text, don’t read it. Plan your work and work your plan and let the rest of the world pass by. Focus on your health and well-being and anything that has a negative impact on that must fall away. If there is a stressful element that you cannot escape, learn to make it work for, not against, you.
8-Glory in your victories. Be proud of your success and finesse your lifestyle to create more of the same.
9-Enjoy your off days. Yes, you should have days off of everything except eating well. Good nutrition should just be a part of who you are.
10- Do it all again.