Step 5: Try something new

After lots of self torment, reflection, and asking the opinions of others I finally signed up for the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.

I’m just a bit nervous

Actually, honestly, I’m terrified (don’t worry, it’s the good kind). ;)

How can I be ‘good terrified’?

Well, I think I’m experiencing Eustress (i.e. positive stress). It’s the feeling you get when you challenge yourself to something scary, when you take a few steps just past your comfort zone, you look around, and you start to sweat a bit.

I’m terrified because I know I’m going to do something really challenging, and I’ve started mentally preparing. I have tons of nervous energy building up but, despite the fear, this is actually a good thing. Eustress is what pushes people to achieve goals, to climb mountains, to enter marathons, to win races. It’s our body’s way of helping us through pressure.

So, because I’m all eustressed out right now, I thought I’d make the next step correspond to what I’m doing.

Are you scared? Don’t worry, it’s a good thing… ;)

5

The Step:

Challenge yourself to try something new (something that scares you just a little).

How:

Day 1: Write down a short list of things you’ve wanted to try, but haven’t yet.
Day 2: Think it over and weigh your options
Day 3: Pick one that:

  • You can realistically achieve (or one you can train for).
  • Seems a little too big and/or scares you just a little

Day 4: Make the commitment to yourself. Choose a time, place, and/or training schedule. If the thing you’ve picked costs money, buy (or start saving towards) it this week.
Day 5: Announce your new activity to your friends and family.
Day 6: Start – even if you can only spend 5 minutes – do it!

Lastly, if you choose to do this step, let me know what you pick. I’d love to hear all about it. :)

P.S. If you’re just joining us, you can read all about 52 weeks, 52 steps.

Why I believe in new years resolutions (and a little, tiny humblebrag)

It’s always the right time for health so, why wait  until new years to start thinking about the changes you want to make in your life? I’m certainly not waiting, but there is something to be said for new year’s resolutions. Yeah, sure, lots of people fail and break the promises they make to themselves, but I have to believe resolutions work for some people.

Here’s why I defend new year’s resolutions:

They work for me (mostly). Humblebrag time: I did almost everything I set out to do in 2012. My goals for last year were:

  1. Learn and accept that this is my life. I’m not on a diet, I’m not in it for weightloss and there is no end to my journey. (YES!)
  2. Continue trying new activities. Find and try one that scares or intimidates me (this won’t be hard I can think of several off the top of my head…. ). (Did lots of this!)
  3. Continuing challenging myself in terms of running – Complete a half marathon! (I decided that running is just not for me. It was painful, a little boring, and just not really my sport. I replaced it with Crossfit and Body Pump).
  4. Continue to eat healthy, whole foods and drink plenty of water. Continue to keep track of what I eat and hold myself accountable. (I kept up my food journal throughout the year but slacked off during the past month or so).
  5. Get a bike and start saving for a car. (Yep! Got my bike and have a modest savings).
  6. Start strength training. Get over my fear of weight rooms. (YEP)

If I’m honest with myself I did them all except #3 and I had a hard time being “perfect” with #4. Even though I didn’t do everything I set out to do, I achieved a LOT in 2012. I challenged myself to try things that terrified me, I bought a bike, I exercised throughout the year, and I took steps to make myself a happier person.

I also advocate for resolutions because:

Resolutions can cause introspection. Sometimes we avoid turning our thoughts inward because the idea is a bit painful. Avoiding problems is easier than meeting them head on, right? I like resolutions because it’s a chance to be honest with oneself, to write things down (this always helps me think), and to look to the future with an optimistic and hopeful eye.

People are capable of rising to challenges. I’ve been a gym member for more than 2 full years now and have gone through the Thanksgiving/Christmas lull followed by the New Year’s rush twice now. Both years I’ve listened to people bitch about the sudden influx of people, and have been a little disappointed in regular gym goers. How can you, in good conscious, whine when the gym gets popular and hope people fail so you have a little more room for stretching? Shouldn’t we be cheering these people on? Shouldn’t we be holding up encouraging signs and shouting positive affirmations? Yes. After all. EVERY regular gym goer was once a gym newbie who rose to the challenge of fitness and stuck with it.

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If you write your goals you have evidence of progress as well as a reason to push yourself. This is what I like best about resolutions. I have a list of my successes and when I’m down and feeling like I’ve failed, I have a written pat on the back. It’s usually all I need to remind myself that I am capable of being awesome. I can also look at my list, grit my teeth and try my hardest to achieve something I know I want. In fact, last year I was writing a post about my goals and realized I hadn’t run a 5k. With two months left in the year, I knew it was something I could tackle. I felt I had to do it – and so I did.

Resolutions are an excellent way to conquer fear. I’m big on beating fear. I feel it’s the reason for lots of unhappiness. We avoid the things the scare us most and try to reason them away or pretend they’re not real. Resolutions give you the chance to acknowledge your fears, look them in the eye, and beat them.

So, despite the stigma surrounding New Years Resolutions, I say go for it.

  • Write resolutions.
  • Write what makes you most happy and determine how you can have more of that in your life.
  • Ask yourself what you want to be and how you can achieve that now (or continue to do it)?
  • Challenge yourself. Be one of those new gym members this season and stick to it — prove all the skeptics wrong!
  • Write your fears too. Ask yourself how you can overcome some of them (or even just one) this year.


What about you? Are you a fan of resolutions?

A life worth building

So much about dieting is negative:

“I can’t eat this”
“I avoid carbs at all cost”
“You shouldn’t do this”
“I only lost a pound”
“If I skip the gym, I’ll regret it”

This is why I (and most people) hate dieting. Who wants to constantly be thinking about what they can’t have, what they shouldn’t do, and where they’ve failed over and over? That isn’t fun at all.

Plus, living in the negative diet mindset just isn’t sustainable. Eventually, we’re going to get tired of feeling like a deprived failures.

That’s why I’m working on thinking about health not as a diet but as a positive change. For me, it’s not just about eating right and exercising, it’s about my whole life and what I’m looking forward to from one day to the next.

Push Yourself

Push Yourself

Seth Godin recently wrote a post called “Anxiety vs. Anticipation” which I feel really applies here. In it he says,

“When you work with anticipation, you will highlight the highs. You’ll double down on the things that will delight and push yourself even harder to be bold and to create your version of art. If this is going to work, might as well build something that’s going to be truly worth building.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. Why constantly live in fear of failure? Why bash yourself for all your missteps? When, instead, you can build a life that you’re truly excited to wake up to.

Push yourself. Not because you fear fat, but because you’re building a life that is truly worth building.

The big problem with self-improvement

Something is wrong with me.

Not something is wrong.

Something is wrong with me.

If we don’t watch ourselves this persistent fear can live at the heart of all of our self-improvement goals and actions. Instead of asking ourselves “how can I live a more healthy life?” or “how can I take the best care and show my body the most love,” we are we are constantly judging ourselves and asking, “How do I make a better self?” or “how do I become better?

We constantly affirm that we are not enough right now and the more we think this way the easier it gets to believe. Once we believe it, it is like nothing to become it. We fulfill negative beliefs by acting them out: becoming someone who isn’t good enough, someone who eats too much and makes poor decisions when they’re upset, someone who hates working out, someone who has to work so that they can be happy some day.

The big problem with self-improvement is that life isn’t a problem to be solved, it is an experience to be savored.

Today I encourage you to examine your intentions and the reasons you are on your journey. Remind yourself that you are good enough right now.

Desperately seeking weight loss inspiration

Rarely do I applaud advertising.

I think we can all agree we are bombarded with enough ads telling us to buy this, take that pill, use this special cream or condemn ourselves to being hideous and unliked forever and ever….. and you guys certainly know how I feel about unscrupulous, dishonest marketers who just want to profit off of those who need help.

I do, however, love Nike’s marketing campaigns. Especially their latest…. I can’t help but share it as it says so beautifully what I want to share with the world:

 

“Greatness.

It’s just something we made up.

Somehow we’ve come to believe that greatness is a gift reserved for a chosen few: for prodigies, for superstars, and the rest of us can only stand by watching.

You can forget that.

Greatness is not some rare DNA strand. It’s not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We’re all capable of it.

All of us.”

Well done Nike!

Have you ever run into any great fitness campaigns that masterfully mix marketing and inspiration? Share them in the comments!