A Trainer in Crisis!
A Trainer in Crisis!
A few weeks ago, I was lying in bed about to go to sleep, and a text message popped up on my phone. It was from an old college friend who is still one of my besties today, with the message, “This is gold,” and this picture:
I giggled. Aww, the ole’ college days. Elizabeth and I had the same ridiculous sense of humor, and we often found ourselves spinning off into some scenario we thought was hilarious (regardless of whether anyone else agreed), and then - clearly - documenting it with photos. That night, Elizabeth was looking for a different set of pictures, but she kept coming up with more and more photo evidence of how we spent our college years. May I share them with you? Make fun of me all you want, but we were having a blast...
Along with the hardcore Nerf player vibe we are giving off, take note of the other things that make this photo stunning, including Elizabeth's Winnie-the-Poo socks and my t-shirt from the only softball team I've ever played on, "The Many-Handed Octopi."
This serious group rented a house together our last semester of college. It was all diligence and study around there, all the time.
We obviously played a critical role in decorating this float (here I am wearing another one of my all-time favorite t-shirts, btw. Of a mountain lion, and it says, "Montana"...a state I have never visited. Classic).
Two gorillas peeking out from behind a bush. Because when your gorilla impersonations are that good, you just have to show off.
This game was called, "Grab whatever happens to be in the backseat and wear it into Wal-Mart."
She was wearing a Superman shirt, so......obviously...
That night in bed, I found myself laughing out loud for the next 30 minutes at past antics, the two of us sharing texts with each other like, “We really are the funniest people that ever did anything funny,” and “We are HYSTERICAL,” and “#comedygeniuses”.
As clever and well-staged as these photos are, what in the world do they have to do with fitness? Well…
Here we are, in February. Statistics show that 80% of new year’s resolutions fall short by the second week of this month. Isn’t that crazy? Wouldn’t you want to believe that the majority of us could at least make it halfway, or heck, even a fourth of the way into the year before throwing in the towel on the goals we made only a month before? As dismal as that percentage may be, there is a silver lining: the other 20%. And that’s where we all want to be, right? So what is it - what is the thing that separates that 20% of go-getters from the rest? While I believe there are a few important factors (that I will post about on my Facebook page throughout this month - stay tuned!), there is one I feel is the biggest...
Back to the comedic genius of those photos...as silly as Elizabeth and I each were individually, I doubt those moments would have been created solo (acting like a gorilla in public just doesn’t have the same feel to it when you are doing so alone...so I’m told). In the same way, moving mountains (a.k.a. embarking on any big project or life goal) alone can feel scary and overwhelming...but add another, and suddenly, you have a different sort of power - you are a FORCE to be reckoned with!
Ally. Co-conspirator. Partner. Buddy. Compadre. Duo. Team.
Roll through those words again...there is an excitement there, right? An electricity. Inside those words contain potential energy, just waiting to jump to action. These words imply:
Sometimes, for some goals, a person’s “co-conspirator” may be an actual life partner, family member, or friend...but that’s not always the case (and sometimes it works better when it is not!). Really, your compadre just needs to be a person who ‘gets’ what it is you are trying to do and can stand alongside you: in encouragement and support, offering help when needed. To that end, the person you find for yourself could be a running partner, a co-worker, an acquaintance who shares the same goals as you, a coach, trainer, therapist, or mentor.
So what is that mountain that you are hoping to move this year? And what sort of help do you need to make it happen? Let’s be honest, none of us are islands - we are created to need each other. So reaching out for support doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human. Once you’ve figured out what you need, take one small action today to put that in place. Start a friendly challenge with friends to stay on course with your health goals (I have some friends doing this now who have been an incredible support to each other). Ask your mom to check in with you to see if you are flossing (umm….yeah...that’s me). Convince your HR Manager at work to provide fun incentives for a healthier work environment (and tell her to call Folk Fitness! I would loooove to partner on a project that brings fun wellness opportunities to offices!). And if you feel stuck about how to even begin, start by asking someone just to brainstorm with you about how to get un-stuck. Once you are OK asking for help, support can be found and the possibilities are limitless.
Here’s to persevering, together, to move those mountains in 2018!
Well, Folks - we made it. For better or for worse (hopefully better!) Christmas has come and gone another year - the shopping, the dining, the parties, the families, the presents, the chaos, the magic, the awesome, the sacred, the wonder, and...WE. MADE. IT.
And here we are now, on the precipice of the next year...2018: filled 365 new opportunities. Countless potential energy, just waiting for us to arrive.
This week is such an interesting one, and one that I think doesn't get enough credit. The days (weeks? months?) leading up to Christmas are generally SO hectic, and this week is a welcome break from that. Many of us are still off work or on vacation, but even if we have returned to our jobs, it is likely that the load is not as full or frantic as usual. Here we are, still in "downtime" mode, without a massive event (i.e. Christmas day) to get ready for. Because of that, this week makes for an excellent time take stock of where we are, look ahead, and prepare for the coming New Year.
Now to many, that may sound like this has become a “Let’s all make resolutions!” post, and I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a resolution junkie (I’m on Team “LOVE them!”). But this is not quite that, so stick with me.
In this Insta-World we live in, we are often much better at starting something new rather than resolving what we’ve just done. So in that spirit, I want to offer up an thought exercise to do this weekend that gives us a chance to say a proper “goodbye” to 2017 before plunging ahead. Then once we’ve done so, we can take that same spirit and dream a bit about the future. So grab a pen & paper and take a moment to think through some of the ideas below:
FIRST, start with where you've come FROM: what happened to you this year, the awesome and the hard?...
This is not a time for berating yourself, but rather taking an honest look at the shape of your 2017 so you can use that knowledge to jump confidently into 2018. It is ALSO a time to give yourself honestly-earned props for your accomplishments - don't leave those "little" things out...they matter! You may be surprised to discover just how many books you read, or remember some small-but-significant milestones you passed. Laying out all the events of your year (many probably which were unexpected) may also make it easier for you to see why you may not have completed every ambitious goal you had set.
NEXT, look ahead to the new year. Try to imagine yourself at this point next December...what is it you hope your year would have been filled with? What great things do you want to make sure you keep with you from this past year? What is important for you to keep working at to reach your goals? What do you need to make those dreams a reality?
It may be helpful to think of this in terms of:
...instead of just outcomes like, for example, “lose 20 pounds,” or “fit into size 10 jeans.”
But why is that? And why bother with this exercise - how is this different from writing down resolutions? Here’s the thing:
No matter what we call it - resolutions, goal-setting, hopes, dreams - the reality is that these things do not just happen - ever. January may feel shiny and new, but eventually sick kids happen, unexpected happens, work and stress happens...LIFE happens. These things we want...we have to chase them - hunt them down, make a plan, alter the plan, keep at it, fall down and get back up, and (over time) these goals become ours, not (just) because we wrote them down, but because we persisted. But it starts with mindfully making a plan.
So this idea of using this week to “Say Goodbye, then Say Hello” is about:
...Not “How to arrive.” Likely, your plan may have to change a million times this year to get to your goals....but you don’t have to worry about that right now. The important thing is STARTING. Starting honestly, mindfully, and positively.
For better or for worse, 2017 is coming to a close - give yourself some well-deserved praise for making it through another year. Here’s to the journey of 2018!
Remember how fun making Christmas lists used to be as a kid? I’d grab a toy catalog and get to work circling every other picture with my red pen, then happily write it all out into one, long list.
Somewhere down the line, Christmas list-making became a lot less fun and a lot more stressful.
With so many presents to buy, decorations to put up, and events to attend, it’s hard to think about what I personally want for Christmas. Then when I do, it’s often something incredibly lame, like “replacement shoes for the ones that are worn out,” or “a handyman to fix our fireplace” (by the way, if anyone knows a good handyman, please let me know).
So much of “Adulting” means putting others’ needs before your own. This is not an entirely terrible idea in theory, as I am all about working to live a more selfless life. But there is a difference between selflessness and an abandonment of self-care; between being mindful of others’ needs and losing a sense of what YOU need. The reality is, we can only help others to the extent that we ourselves are healthy; so in that sense, investing in yourself is also investing in the ones you love.
Adults, UNITE! It’s time to reclaim our Christmas lists! Not with remote-controlled cars or toy trains (unless that’s your thing; no judgement), but with ADULT indulgences: splurges to make your life happier and healthier. Here’s the thing - most people find it hard to spend money on the items below; so why not ask for some of these things for Christmas instead of getting one more sweater that you only half-like? Below is a Christmas list I’ve actually ENJOYED coming up with. Some of the links below are Raleigh-specific, but the ideas can be applied anywhere:
Classes are a chance to explore something you love that you probably don’t give yourself enough time to do...they are also an excellent excuse to get out of the house, let someone else handle dinner, and have some me-time at least once a week for 6-8 weeks. Hobby classes are awesome (I have taken sewing & cooking classes that I looooved), and regular exercise classes are always a great idea. Below are a few other movement-type ideas you may not have considered:
We don’t always have the time or money to make it to a gym. The good news is, it doesn’t take much to turn your home into your own personal gym. Seriously: no giant treadmills or large-scale workout systems required (but totally cool if that’s what you’re into!). There are tons of great workout programs where the below equipment is all you need (Want some help getting started? Let’s have a quick convo…). At minimum, here’s what to ask for:
Sure, everyone loves to feel pampered, but remember, this is more than just pampering: the below may be a much-needed stress relief, muscle relaxation, or brain break for YOU…
I’ve jumped on the supplement train late in life because my general viewpoint on such things is that we should all just eat healthy foods and get our nutrients the old-fashioned way. The reality, however, is that we DON’T always eat the healthiest, and even when we do, there are important nutrients our diet benefits from getting a little extra help with. I will write a more extensive post about this later, but below are some ideas and info to help get you started on what to ask for:
If you find cooking at home extremely difficult, perhaps the reason is your environment is working against you. Some questions to ask yourself:
Look for another post on this later in the year, but for now, here are a few cooking items to consider putting on your Christmas list:
...So there you have it: your fun and healthy Adult Christmas List. Aunt Etna may be a little perplexed when you tell her what you really want (please, no more socks), but she loves you anyway.