So often I hear people speaking of regrets.
How if only they had done x, y or z, life might be a little different, a little better, etc.
How they’ve waited too long to make a decision, and now it might be too late.
How they’re too old, or too out of shape, or too <enter excuse here> to reach a goal, try something new or fix a problem they’re experiencing.
And when they do consider moving past those regrets, they’re often stricken with a bad case of the “what if’s.”
What if I can’t do it? What if it won’t work? What if I give up? What if it turns out badly?
We’ve all been there. I’ve been there. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in those mind games and even harder to pull yourself out once you’re in that mode. But it’s important to live in and appreciate the awesomeness of right now. Because living in a past of regrets and fearing a future of “what if’s” messes up your present state of mind. And in the end, what is happening right now is what will directly impact your happiness and what you can (and will) achieve.
So how do you live in the right now?
First, allow yourself the grace to start from where you are.
So 5 years ago you lost 50lbs and now you’ve gained it all back (and then some). So what? Now what?! Don’t fixate on the person that you used to be. Focus on who you are now and start from there. Don’t beat yourself up over choices, events or actions of the past that brought you to where you are at this moment. You’re a different person today than you were yesterday, or 10 years ago. Your physical body doesn’t live in the past, so why do you allow your mind to live there? Grant yourself a fresh start without feeling guilty thinking “but I’ve given myself X number of starts in the past” and focus on where you are right now.
Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down a goal you’d like to achieve at the top of the sheet. Now, make a list of the tools you have and the actions you can take right now to accomplish that goal. Don’t worry about how you tackled the goal in the past, don’t worry about why you are in the place you are in at this moment, and especially don’t play the “what if/excuses” game. Just focus on the present and go from there.
Let’s say your goal is that you want to cross the finish line of a 5k race (whether it be your first time or you’ve taken a hiatus and want to get back into it.)
Don’t fixate on the fact that in high school you couldn’t finish the 1 mile test so there’s no way you’re going to be able to do this (what if’s) and don’t think about how 10 years ago you were running marathons, but you haven’t run in years and how you wish you didn’t have to start from scratch (regrets).
Instead, throw on whatever sneakers you have in your closet and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Time yourself and start with 15 minutes of walking, fast-walking or even jogging if you feel so inclined. Don’t worry about mileage, just focus on duration. If after 15 minutes you’re feeling like you could do 5 more, then go for it. Start from where you are at- not the end result. If you want to complete a 5k and you start by walking 3 miles and aren’t able to complete it, you will likely call it quits because you had a taste of failure… and failure is easy.
Little by little your goal will unravel. Be patient, persistent, and positive with yourself. Once you get up to 30 minutes, start measuring your distance (there are lots of free apps like MapMyRun, etc). You’ll be surprised to see how far 30 minutes will get you, and you’ll be that much closer to crossing the finish line of that 5k you’ve set your sights on.
I’m writing this post because, like many of you, I feel as though I need to allow myself a start. I have so much to look forward to this year, with a new job and an upcoming wedding. And in order to feel my best on my wedding day and beyond, I need to bring my goals back into focus and grant myself a start without feeling guilty or defeated from past efforts. Running has been placed on the back burner due to a struggle with Plantar’s fasciitis, and my nutritional choices haven’t been what I know helps me reach my weight loss goals. So this is my start. I have a followup appointment with my doctor next Tuesday to check on my foot issue, a pantry and fridge full of clean, healthy options, and scheduled workouts at Orangetheory booked and ready. I am also bringing out my PIYO dvd’s so that I can get back to working on flexibility, as that too has lost its priority. I’m meeting myself where I’m at, and moving forward from here.
We are so unnecessarily hard on ourselves. If you need a start, gift yourself with one. You don’t need to explain yourself, nor do you need to justify your start. Set your sights on what you want to accomplish, change or grow into, and go for it!