First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed a big ol’ dinner with the family.
I was texting with my bestie on her ride home from her family dinner and she commented on how she was going to start “eating clean and doing cardio 5/7 days a week” after a very filling turkey dinner. I texted back in agreement about needing to get on a healthier path as I just returned from a trip to Nashville and ate more BBQ then I definitely should have.
And normally I’d set out the best of intentions after our conversation. I’d say something like ‘tomorrow morning I’m going to get up and do a 30 min workout and make a smoothie.’ And I can commit to that for awhile, sometimes days, sometimes weeks but I always fall off about a month later. It’s a pattern with me. I get all fiery about something and go full throttle towards it, woohoo here I go! Then I inevitably get off schedule (which can sometimes only take one damn day) and then I feel like a failure which then leads to me stopping altogether….because why bother at that point, right?!
Then I get all down on myself, decide that Netflix is my new bestie, and decide the ‘sofa luge’ is my new sport. Then soon after that I notice how ‘bleh’ I feel and give myself a pep talk and decide I need to get moving again. And well, you know how the cycle goes.
This is what nature does too.
Look outside your window right now (well, if you live in Canada/northern USA). Trees are changing colour because it’s fall. It’s the cycle that nature goes through. Those same trees got all ‘fiery’ in the heat of summer and now they’re burning out. Soon those red, orange, and yellow leaves will fall to the ground and decompose. Then the cold and wet winter snow will come in and quiet everything down. But soon enough, signs of spring make their way in and everything begins to bloom and become lighter again which inevitably leads to the hot summer that this gal loves.
And we humans are subject to the same pattern….it’s in our nature. Take for example the ‘exercise and clean eating’ example above. If nature (and my personal history) has taught me anything it’s that we choose to do something, get all fiery about it, then crash, get quiet/depressed, but soon enough we slowly come out of hibernation and re-commit to something else. However, just because this is a natural cycle doesn’t mean we have to ride such high’s and low’s. We can feel more balanced instead a ride a sort of ‘eternal spring/early summer’. Yes, we’ll always be subjected to this pattern of ‘heat and cold’, but there IS a happy middle (yep, Goldilocks was definitely on to something with those bears).
And the best part is – it’s SUSTAINABLE.
However, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily be easy. In fact, it will likely be very awkward in the beginning. LIKE ANYTHING IS. But as you’ve proven to yourself before, if you stick with it, you can soon make it a habit (you weren’t born brushing your teeth every day!)
There’s a few ways you can do this and it’s all about dialing the intensity down. If you tend to be ‘fiery’ like me and go after challenges with gusto – instead I challenge you to commit to ONE thing.
And ONE thing only.
Whhhhatttt?!? You mean I shouldn’t workout 5/7 days and drink smoothies every day? Sure, you can make that a goal, but it isn’t where you should start.
Choose to commit to ONE healthier thing and START THERE.
And just like when you’re writing your Bhavana – make it positive, specific and concrete.
For example, my friend and I have now committed to achieving our one goal this week. Mine is to try a fun, new yoga class on Wednesday night at 6pm. Hers is to get on her shiny new elliptical machine at 9pm Tuesday night. Our normal commitments were too vague and thus, not likely to actually happen. What does ‘do cardio’ mean? How long are we doing it? What does ‘clean eating’ mean? See how that kinda sets you up to fail? Whereas if we have specific and concrete plans, we’re more likely to follow through. And if they’re positive goals then we’re more likely to get excited about actually doing them. Because if it ain’t fun, I ain’t doing it for any sustainable period of time. Period.
Does it sound simple. Sure. Are we currently doing it? No. But is it doable? YES.
And so, that’s where we’ll start. Both doing something new that gets us on a healthier path. And if it feels good, we’ll keep doing it. And we’ll keep doing it until it becomes a healthy habit. And then can we add on to it – maybe another class for me and another night of the week for her. Because again, our focus is on SUSTAINABILITY vs. a quick fix.
CHOOSE | FOCUS | SUSTAIN – this is my mantra (and one of the yoga sutras – the lessons from that 5000 year old text are still applicable today – go figure)
So think about those beautiful fall trees and think about ways that you may be too fiery and thus likely to burn out. Are you like my friend and I with exercise and diet? If so, what is the ONE THING you can commit to instead and see how it goes? Experiment with it. See how it feels. Choose, focus, sustain. And then tell me how it goes by commenting below or over on my Facebook page – would love to hear working with your ‘nature’ works for you!