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I have to be honest. Focusing on wellness this Autumn has been so incredibly difficult. I’m honestly at a loss. How in the season that inspires me so much, do I also get so far off track?
My eating, sleeping, exercising regularly, personal development focus, staying in the moment and staying in prayer have all been off over the course of the last few weeks. I mean I haven’t been awful I suppose but I’m certainly not where I want to be in all of those areas, among many others.
Although several reasons as to “why” come to mind, if I’m being really clear with myself then I’d have to say this is the season for me where I am finding it easiest to “slip”. And by “slip” I mean come up with an excuse to avoid making a disciplined decision.
As an example last week I wasn’t feeling great, which usually happens for me when the weather starts to change from hot to cold each year. Over the week it was so easy for me to pass on going to the gym, order no-so-healthy takeout (because I was too tired/sick to cook) and let my house clutter quickly to build up (because I was too exhausted to manage it). Instead of pushing through the current state I was in, I gave myself a little too much grace, that ultimately negatively impacted my health and wellness even further. And this is just one example of how off track I have been this season.
Now as much as I want to beat myself up over this, I realize it will only waste more time. So my action plan is simple. Go back to the basics and focus on the little decisions each day. Because each little decision adds up and makes a big difference. I will get reacquainted with my vision board, daily goals and my gratitude daily recaps.
I am refocused and ready to take back my Autumn.
~ C ~
Not too long ago I lacked discipline in almost every aspect of my life. Prior to my life crumbling to pieces this past winter, if I’m being brutally honest, I was just a hot mess. I was eating terribly. I was working out basically never. I was late to everything. I woke up every morning exhausted due to a lack of quality sleep. Stressed out was a constant state of being. Somehow over the course of my mid twenties, I just allowed small poor decision after small poor decision to snowball and affect every aspect of my life. Then one day the rug was pulled out from under me and I was fatherless, motherless, childless and a shell of the woman I always hoped I would be.
I’ve always heard that when you are at life’s lowest point you find out who you are and what you are made of. I can now attest to this.
After hanging out in that dark place for a while, I knew I had to put a plan together to pull myself out of it. I knew for the first time in years I would have to be incredibly intentional about every choice I made because I was just too emotionally fragile to handle further failure and loss. Even though I had an incredible support system of my husband, countless family members and friends, I knew I needed to rely on myself to climb this mountain. And I knew I had to become disciplined again.
It started off slow. Eating bone broth and spinach for lunch. Reading a personal development book for an hour a day. Walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes twice a week. Recognizing when I became stuck in a cycle of negative self talk and taking steps to move out of it. I painstakingly analyzed every decision I made each day and if it didn’t support my physical, mental or spiritual healing, I didn’t do it. Although it was not easy at first, slowly but surely I was practicing self control, daily positive decision making and discipline. Here I stand 8 months out from that devastating period in my life and I honestly can say in every way I am completely a different person for the better.
But this brings me to last week. After weeks and weeks of healing and growth, I suffered my first relatively significant set back. I tweaked my back during one of my workouts at the gym. It wasn’t a terrible injury by no means but I was in some serious pain at the time and knew working out for several days was out of the question. Now no big deal right? Well to me, who had for the first time in years incorporated discipline in my life, I was terrified. Would this break in working out throw me completely off my positive track? Would I revert back to the weak person I once was and lose all those hard earned gains? Would this begin to negatively affect other decisions in my life? I know it may sound silly but this was so much bigger than a missed workout or two for me. I knew the extremely dark place I had crawled out of months ago and I just couldn’t afford to go back there.
But I decided to give myself grace and although waiting impatiently, give my back some time to heal up. After several days down and out, my pain subsided and I finally started feeling almost back to full speed. I decided it was time that I could try a light workout to get myself back in motion. And to my delight the workout went well and I felt amazing after it.
As I was walking out of the gym I realized something important. Discipline can’t be lost in a day or a few days. A lack of discipline is the conscious decision to make poor choice after poor choice (or poor excuse after poor excuse). Discipline is all about choices and when we have power over our choices, we have discipline. It was in that moment I knew I would never be in that dark place of a complete lack of discipline again. Life is too short and I want to live my best life for as long as possible. Although I will undoubtedly have setbacks in the future, I can always choose to reset and forge ahead.
~ C ~
Bonus: Below is a picture from my early twenties at my very peak of discipline. Although I don’t aspire to get back quite to the same place (that season has passed and I am okay with that), I use this as motivation that I can do anything I put my mind to, including winning my first figure show.
I have spent the last 8 months on a journey of healing. Every minute has been hard, yet in the midst of it I have found joy. It has been pitch dark at times, yet at the same time I have been showered with immense light. It has been the worst period of my life, yet I know without it I would still be lost.
When I made the choice to move forward in my life after loss, I began by making a series of pivotal life shifts. I started a life long voyage of making healthier choices. I made focusing on my mental health and building effective coping mechanisms my number one priority. I embarked on a journey to relearn how to learn so I could grow in every facet of my life. I surrounded myself with only those people who lift and fill me up. I made a promise to find ways to serve others as often as possible along the way. I made a conscious decision that I will no longer be just a taker from this earth and find ways to give back and reduce my footprint. I reduced clutter from my physical and mental spaces to make room for possibility. I ran towards change because remaining in the same spot was no longer an option.
Day by day, I have made small decision after small decision, each with those life shifts top of mind. Quite frankly focusing on these decisions and shifts saved me from thinking about the people I had lost, the life I would no longer know and the person who I would never be again. At first I was fueled by blind faith alone. But slowly I saw the tiny changes I was making each day compound and make an actual difference in my life.
Today I am so proud of the person I have become through these decisions and shifts in my life. It doesn’t mean I have “made it”, I never will. It doesn’t mean I won’t have any more bad days or setbacks, I am positive I will have plenty. It doesn’t mean my grief is over, it is tattooed on every aspect of my being. But what it does mean is my joy and pain can coexist. It means my darkness and light can stand next to each other. It means the decisions I make today will positively affect my future. I am proud I have arrived at a place that seemed impossible to get to only 8 months ago. And moving forward I will continue to take this healing journey the same way I have over the past 8 months, step by step.
~ C ~