The sweet spot

I had an interesting thought in the shower yesterday. This actually happens a fair bit. It seems that hot water and nice smelling soaps stimulate ideas in my brain.

I was thinking about my weight ( I had just been on the scale prior to climbing into the shower) and how I have been maintaining it AND getting to eat a lot of things I enjoy – foods I enjoy in quantities I enjoy at a frequency I enjoy.

I have found my “sweet spot” (pun intended), I thought. The intersection of having what I want (results) for an amount of effort I am willing to give.

If I changed one of these things – my desired result or my level of effort – I would miss the sweet spot.

For example, if I lowered my goal weight I would have to either adjust my exercise or my eating (what I eat, how much I eat, or how frequently I eat), or more likely both.  I have considered and even attempted this previously, but to be honest, I don’t find the results worth the increased level of effort which for me is often in the form of giving up foods I enjoy. (What? No donuts?)

Similarly, if I stopped putting in my current level of effort, I wouldn’t enjoy my current results.

The “sweet spot” is entirely subjective and can apply to any goal.
What do you want and how hard are you willing to work for it? What are you willing to give or pay?

Big goals that inspire effort are great. But if you truly aren’t willing to do what needs to be done to reach a goal – and yet you cling to that specific goal – you will be in a constant state of disappointment.

It’s about managing expectations. Be honest with yourself. If the cost to reach the goal makes you miserable, is it worth it? Conversely, would a little more effort push you into the sweet spot?

Maybe you should go have a nice hot shower and think about it. 😉

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I can change me

One day, a man was walking down the street and saw a woman standing in front a brick building. She had her hands pressed against the bricks and was pushing with all of her might. She had beads of sweat dripping down her face.

“Excuse me, are you OK? May I ask what you are doing?” the man inquired.

“I don’t want this building here. I want it over there. It’s blocking the view from my apartment.”

The man wasn’t sure how to respond, so he wished her luck and continued on his way.

This woman sound a bit crazy right?

But consider this: she’s not crazy for wanting something different or for feeling disappointed about her crappy view. But she’s wasting her time and energy with her attempted “solution”.

Whenever I focus my energy on trying to change something that is NOT in my control, I am acting like that woman. (Ugh…that’s a hard pill to swallow.)

And, in fact, whenever I focus my energy on obsessively wishing something will change when that something is NOT in my control, I am acting like that woman.

The next day, the man is walking down the same street and sees the same woman in front of the same brick building. Only this time, she’s not standing and pushing against it, she is sitting cross-legged on the ground just staring at it.

“Ma’am, is everything OK? What are you doing?”, he asks again.

“I am just wishing this building wasn’t here. I don’t like it here. I want it over there. It’s blocking the view from my apartment.”

She wants something different – that’s fair. She feels disappointed – also fair. BUT, the longer she focuses her emotional energy on something that she can’t change, the more frustrated she will feel.

No amount of wanting or moping or complaining about the building is going to make it move. (But those things can sure be fun!)

I can’t change other people. I can’t change many situations and circumstances.

But I can change me.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

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Failure can feel good

I had an interesting thought on the drive home from the gym the other day.I realized that I had experienced both success and failure in the same workout.

It was testing week at the gym and we were measuring our progress in both strength and cardio conditioning. This particular day we tested our 1 rep max for bench press and for back squats.

We did bench press first and I happily lifted 5 lbs more than the last time we tested (a few months ago). Hitting a  new personal best is a great feeling.  And, normally, I would stop there. I would take my success and “quit while I’m ahead or end on a high note”. This would increase my odds of setting a new PR the next time around (or so I have told myself).

 But this time, with some encouragement from my workout partner, and a recent decision to  try to “fail more often” I decided to keep going.
I couldn’t make the next lift. Half way up my arms stopping moving. I failed.

But oddly enough, I felt really good about it. Glad I had broken out of my normal pattern.

Instead of quitting when I hit a personal best, I went for it.

Who knew that failure could actually feel good?

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Back on track

You started a new exercise program or diet plan.
Within the week, you missed a workout OR you caved and ate some of those Cadbury Mini Eggs leftover from Easter. (Who can blame you? Those things are like crack.)
Your internal monologue went something like this, “Crap, I blew it. What’s wrong with me? I guess I will start again tomorrow.”

Sound familiar?

And then maybe, just maybe, you did start again the next day.
Or maybe, just maybe, you felt so discouraged by the failed attempt that you scarfed down a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

We are, for the most part, completely oblivious to the subconscious beliefs or thoughts that run our lives: beliefs like, “If you eat something ‘bad’ when you are on a diet, that day is now ruined. It can no longer be a perfect eating day.” So, your options are to start-over tomorrow, or the following Monday (no wonder we hate Mondays), or to accept the lie that you just can’t do it.

Where did this belief come from? I don’t know. But I do know that it’s not a helpful one!

Several years ago I read a book about about balanced nutrition and the author made a statement that stuck with me. He said, “If you make a poor choice, you are only your next meal or snack away from being back on track.”

WHAT?? That’s genius! You mean I don’t have to fall into the trap of eating more crap because I feel guilty for blowing it in the first place? I can hit the restart button with my next meal or snack choice?

This principle, which I am cleverly calling the “You-are-only-your-next-choice-away-from-being-back-on-track” principle, can be applied to EVERY goal we set.

We all make mistakes. BUT…we can minimize the impact by how we choose to respond (phew).

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7 things I am guilty of

Procrastinating.
Hesitating.
Second-guessing.
Overthinking.
Comparing.
Justifying.
Avoiding.

7 bad habits.
7 deadly sins against great work.
7 things I am guilty of.

“My name is Wendy and I regularly commit one or more of the 7 deadly sins against great work.” (Step one: acknowledge and admit the problem.)

Ah, but don’t fret. It’s not all doom and gloom. I have already begun to tackle the monster. Every post on this blog is me NOT procrastinating, hesitating, second-guessing, overthinking (well, maybe a bit of that)…you get the idea.

I made a decision a few months ago to embrace the “done is better than perfect” perspective and I am happy to announce that I am “sinning” a lot less. [insert smirking emoji here]. Doing requires less energy than avoiding and overthinking. Doing gives you something — something to learn from, something to improve on.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it…

“Just do it.” Nike
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” Wayne Gretzky
“The future depends on what you do today.” Ghandi
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” Pablo Picasso
“The path to success is to take massive determined actions.” Tony Robbins

And finally, simple but profound advice from Amelia Earhart,
“The most effective way to do it is to do it.”

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