On Sunday, I was feenin’ for some Rita’s frozen custard. I had only had Rita’s one other time this year. There was going to be a serious problem if I couldn’t get some Rita’s. I decided to make an afternoon of it and went to the location that’s about 30 minutes away. It was the perfect day for a drive and a cool snack, it wasn’t too hot and the sun was shining. Then I planned to go to Barnes & Noble afterward and do some reading on a project.
This is the best signage ever
This is the best signage ever
I kept imagining how cold and creamy that first taste was gonna be. I couldn’t decide what flavor ice I would get mixed in, and I thought about the other ice flavors I had already tried. I could barely sit still as I was driving, and did a little happy dance at lights because I was beside myself with happiness.
When I got there, there was a line. But I wasn’t upset at all. That just gave me more time to make up my mind. Then when I got to the window to order, I sampled some flavors for my next visit. The moment that I had that Gelati in my hand was pure bliss. It looked so beautiful that I almost didn’t want to eat it. Almost… (lol)
My order of happiness
My order of happiness
But of course I crushed it. And just like with many things, the anticipation was greater than the actual product. That’s life though, you know? You work to get this thing that you want, and then when you get it, you enjoy it for two seconds before you’re on to something else. Kinda like a kid with their Christmas toys. He or she spends all year being naughty or nice, helps their parents decorate the house, all to rip open presents in 20 minutes and forget about their gifts by the next week.
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Apparently, Holly has a reputation for being a fundraiser, and it seems that that reputation didn’t precede her onto the show. That conversation sparked thoughts in my own mind about how often we’re underestimated in life because people don’t know who we really are.
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I think truth is the type of word that is easy to misconstrue. To me, truth is not just honesty from a person; its also the state of existence that something is in. You can lie to yourself and avoid the state of something in your mind, but that doesn’t mean its not true. That just means that your acceptance is an avoidance; it changes nothing.
That sounds really easy to identify but that’s the type of sleepwalking that I referred to in my last post. I think alot of us walk around dazed because we are afraid to face the truth of our existence. We’d rather pretend its not there or that whatever we’re avoiding is at its current level. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean its not true.
Everyone needs truth
The hardest part of facing the truth is accepting what it is. Once you acecpt that something is the way it is, you can either work to improve what you don’t like or learn to live with the status quo. But its more painful, in my opinion, to mask the truth and deny it than to cope with your disappointment.
For example, I’ve noticed that alot of big women will say things like “I’m phat in all the right places”, “no one wants a bone” and Mo’nique even had that whole “skinny b*tches are evil” thing going on a few years back. Notice a few things though: a segment of the population attempted to find ways to validate themselves and the negative criticism they faced, but ended up criticizing another group of women in order to make themselves feel better.
So the truth of their situation was that they wanted to feel better – facing the truth that they either didn’t like where they were, or they didn’t like the negative judgement of others for where they were. Either way, their truth was dissatisfaction. If they had faced that truth then addressed the real reason for the dissatisfaction this group would probably experience the relief that they truly desire. Instead, by masking their truth, they caused conflict with another group, all while their weight problems or their self-esteem suffered from not disconnecting the negative criticism. (Also notice that Mo’nique went on a weight loss journey herself and discovered that she desires to live a healthy lifestyle; the adherents of “skinny b*tches are evil” had to find another cloak for the truth, since that one had been abruptly removed from them. After all it wasn’t their truth but one someone else gave to them).
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So who’s with me?
On Your Mark, Get Set…
If you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, then you may tend to overthink starting new goals. What should you do first? Where should you start? How should you start?
The most important thing is just to START. Not when the time is right (it’ll never be right – you’ll always have something else going on and a few things to juggle at one time), not when you have more time (seriously, when will that be??). Just put one foot in front of the other and start down your new path.
This is one of those things are ARE as easy as I’m making it sound. Here are 3 things you can to, TODAY, to get you started on whatever goal you’re striving for.
Make A PlanOne of the best ways to go somewhere new is to make a plan of how you’ll get there. Also, putting your goal on paper is wonderful for banishing some of your doubts and fears about *how* it will happen. Being concrete shows you that, hey, it might not take as much effort as you have in your mind. Or if it does, once its all down, you may decide that the effort is worth it and nothing to fret over.
Now if you sit down to plan your new goal, and there are gaps in your plan, thats ok. The important thing is to develop a big picture view of your goal. You’ll get a better idea of how long it will take, the resources and effort you need to contribute, and your plan will serve you well as a tool to help you visualize your goal and stay focused on the end result.
Learn Something NewWell you probably won’t be able to learn an entire new thing in one day, but you may be able to begin learning. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, why not start by doing an activity that you’ve never done before? Like taking a different class at the gym, learn how to hike, or take a swimming lesson? There’s nothing like adding a new and fun activity to your repertoire to build confidence and interest in a new goal.
There is so much possibility in this step. Want to find a new job? There could be a great new skill you can add to your resume, if only you’ll take the time to seek it out. How about learning a 2nd language? You could research language courses in your area or online options that work for you, like French In Action or Destinos. This way, you could accomplish two goals in once – especially if you have those goals that you’ve been meaning to get to yet have put off indefinitely.
Clear Out ClutterClearing out old, unused items and creating new space is a wonderful way to get your new goal started on the right foot. Letting go of things that are no longer useful to you creates space in your mind for something new. Could it be that throwing away an old lover’s items will allow for that new man to come into your life? How about the plans you made for goals that you are no longer pursuing? What about throwing out all the fatty, sugary foods that you are no longer consuming as you work to improve your eating habits? Letting these things go is also a sign of acceptance and forgiveness, and a way to allow yourself to pursue them again without beating yourself up about it.
Clearing out clutter is the first step in getting organized to get more tasks done, so its almost a 2-for-1 step. Then when you’re done clearing out clutter and getting organized, you can hit the ground running with strength and focus on the end result.
Do you have a new goal that you need to start? How will these suggestions help you get closer to reaching your goal?
But that reluctance also means that I’m not falling in love with new things either. Playing it safe is definitely something I don’t advocate, and I’ve been telling you guys to choose your dreams over security. I don’t think good health should be a dream – it should be a natural state of existence for all of us. Yet we’re one of the fattest nations in the world, and since we’re a ‘developed’ country we should know better.
One Foot In Front Of The OtherI am in no way saying that I’ve fully transformed my habits of eating after just one week. What I am saying is that, after putting forth effort, I am pleasantly surprised that making healthy choices not only feels good, but tastes much better than I expected.
The catalyst for this blog post was today’s mini-epiphany. I’ve been following a meal plan I got from Oxygen Magazine, and honestly I wasn’t thrilled by some of the suggestions. I’m a mac & cheese, cheeseburgers and fast food kinda gal, so you can understand why couscous, frozen berry smoothies, pita bread and mixed greens didn’t appeal to me. This extra weight doesn’t appeal to me either, so I was willing to give their way a shot.
I told myself that I’d just try each new suggestion and if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t eat it again. Let me tell you how surprised I was that I’d like peanut butter, banana and honey on whole grain bread; melted cheese and tomato in a pita; key lime and strawberry cheesecake yogurt; and friggin’ couscous… yes I’m still surprised but I had a very yummy day today. When I had couscous with my dinner I just knew I had to blog about it. Yes its that serious (lol).
But that’s how change happens. You accept one change, then another, and once it sinks in that change is not always bad, then making big changes isn’t so daunting. It also helps to be open to new suggestions and to stick to your resolve when you know that old ways of doing things are no longer working for you.
Another important aspect of saying yes to change is recognizing that change takes time. You’re making a conscious effort to allow changes into your life, but your mind is not with the program. Your mind likes routine, craves familiarity even at the detriment of your body, career and even self-esteem. So also allow for the time it takes your changes to become habitual to your mind. Your mind will probably fight you at every turn, reminding you how comfortable your old routines are. Just stick with it and before you know it, your changes will be an integral part of your life.
Speaking for myself, my mind flashed on alot of my old habits – taking the elevator when the stairs are available, skipping workouts, and flashbacks of the cookies n’ cream ice cream in the freezer keep popping up. During those times, I just think about how good a new discovery tastes, or that my mind is out to get me and the ice cream (or whatever inappropriate suggestion) will not be as good to me as my memory is leading me to believe.
Have you implemented some new changes lately? What were some of the ways you said yes and accepted them into your life? What changes are you anticipating in the future?
It may be hard to see the finish line from where you are. You may have a stack of bills, a low (or negative) bank balance, you may be lonely, tired, fed up or discouraged. There may be so many obstacles in your way that you can’t clearly see the path you’ve set out on. During all of the turmoil, doubt, fear and resistance, you have to keep going. It may be very difficult but you have to keep pressing on.
One way to do that is to remember that your circumstances are not who you are, but where you are. If you have bad credit, living paycheck to paycheck and don’t know how you’ll get ahead – these are circumstances that you’re in but they’re not ‘you’. If its been so long since you’ve had a date that you can’t remember the last time, that doesn’t mean you’re not a dateable person. Not having dates right now is your current circumstance. Believing that the circumstances you’re in is equivalent to who you are, is like being on a deserted island and believing that you’re on that island.
Row your own boat
So how do you get off the island of negative circumstances? First, you have to believe that you can. I know it sounds trite, I know it sounds too easy.. but honestly, when was the last time you tried it? The biggest reason for our current circumstances is that, at some point, we repeated the same thoughts over and over again until our minds put us here. What conversation is your mind having without your participation? If you keep saying to yourself, “I’m broke, I can’t see a way out” then… you’re going to be broke and you won’t see a way out. Just believing that your circumstances are temporary, and repeatedly telling yourself that until it solidifies as a belief, will do wonders for not only your circumstances but your outlook on them.
We all know that the only constant is change… but sometimes it can feel that someone has hit the pause button and you’re stuck in the exact same spot. In order to break free, try to move forward. Even if that means a very small step, just move. After one attempt, keep going. You’ll pick up momentum and can make bigger and bigger steps. Its also important to remember that all journeys are not sprints, and you won’t be less happy when you get to where you’re going, if you had taken less time to get there.
Nothing changes until you decide to change it, stop beating yourself up for where you are, and focus on moving to where you want to be.