Saturday, July 6, 2013

Perspective . . Permission . . Praise . . Observations from Week One of Getting Myself Back on Track

A little over a week ago I set three goals for myself to help myself stop eating everything in sight and get back to exercising on a regular basis:
1 - Drink more water.
2 - Eat two pieces of fresh fruit a day.
3 - Run 2-miles three times during the week.

Did I meet all of my goals?  Not exactly.  How do I feel?  GREAT!  Have I learned anything?  YES!

I met two of my goals perfectly.  I drank a TON of water and ate A LOT of fruit.  Did I run this week?  No, BUT I did exercise four out of the seven days, which to me is success.  The bottom line is that for me exercise is exercise whether I'm running, hiking, swimming or going to my Zumba class.

As is always the case in life, there are lessons to be learned along the journey.

1) PERSPECTIVE.  Two weeks ago we had a tree fall in our back yard.  Jamison and I had been watching this tree and knew that at some point in the next couple of years we were going to have to have this tree removed.  What a gift - God took care of it for us!  It was as if He took a hold of that tree and gently laid it down across our back yard.  If it would have fallen in any other direction it would have taken out sheds, pools or decks!  Instead it only broke four panels of our fence and one of our neighbors.  Phew!!
Our Fallen Tree
Last weekend I spent Saturday and Sunday working on removing the tree.  I had A LOT of help from my amazing family, friends and neighbors.  But in my mind I had set a goal for myself and this stupid tree was interfering.  I had to remind myself to check my perspective.  So I didn't get to run my two miles, but I did about 500 squats, got a great arm workout and burned who knows how many calories.  That tree put me through several good workouts!
2) PERMISSION.  When this past Monday morning arrived, I felt rested, energized and ready to go.  After so much physical work over the weekend I expected to be exhausted.  I think the key was that my weekend was filled with a strong balance of work, family fun and personal relaxation.  The tree was taken care of and my household chores to get ready for the upcoming week were done.  I went to dinner with a friend, attended my nephew's birthday party and took my kids to a pool party.  I also spent time laying on the couch napping and watching the baseball game with my husband.  For me, that last part was key.  Normally I have a hard time laying around and relaxing because I always feel as if there is something else I should be doing. 
In talking this over with a friend, she said that it worked because I gave myself permission to relax.  She's right!  I remember literally saying to myself, "Lisa - You have worked hard.  You deserve this time for yourself."  It is OK for me to have some down time.  Actually, it is MORE than OK for me to have some down time - it is VITAL that I have some down time!  It doesn't matter if I am physically working hard chopping and carrying wood or doing regular household chores - I deserve a break and need to give myself permission to take it.  Giving myself that permission helps me achieve that balance in life that I am always chasing.  (We'll see if I can apply this lesson to this weekend!)
3) PRAISE.  I was so happy this week that I got to go to TWO Zumba classes.  YAY!!  My Zumba class attendance has definitely been pushed to the back burner these past few months.  Setting that goal for myself to run three times this week pushed me to make exercise a priority.  One class I attended was my instructor's Zumba/Toning/Bokwa Fourth of July Smash-Up.  90 minutes of pure FUN!  I had a blast and felt great!
My BFF Amy (right) and I after the Zumba/Toning/Bokwa Smash-Up

After class I had several people come up to me and tell me that they've missed me in class, that I was looking good or that they had been watching/following me during class.  That absolutely made my day!  I felt good about myself and was just really pumped up!  That reminded me to more aware of doing the same for other people - paying compliments, praising people for doing well and being aware of the positive things around me.  So yesterday I purposefully paid attention and passed out compliments throughout the day.  It was SO much fun!  I enjoyed the reactions I got from people.  Their reactions made ME feel just as good, if not better, than when people give me praise. 

After one week I'm feeling really good.  I am confident that I can keep myself going.  I'm going to set similar goals for this upcoming week:
1) I will fill my cup up with water first thing in the morning and re-fill it throughout the day.
2) I will eat two piece of fresh fruit everyday.
4) I will exercise four times this week (two of which will be running since my next 5K is rapidly approaching!).

Why am I not making big changes to my goals?  I believe that by setting smaller goals I am setting myself up to succeed.  Celebrating success more often keeps me motivated which leads to achieving the larger goal I set for myself.  Remember the Old Chinese Proverb
It is better to take many small steps in the right direction
than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.

I'm going to lace up my tennis shoes and take my first small step this week . . . this Mom is heading out for a RUN!  What small step are you going to take today?