Are you like many – you want to take care of yourself but everyone else comes first leaving you depleted and worn out? You won’t reach your goals by putting yourself at the end of the line. In fact, you may not be helping all those you’ve been giving to in the most effective way either. Many of us assume we must give of ourselves to other in order to help them succeed. This is especially true of those we love most. We go about our days thinking about what they need, like, want, and how we can help them get it. This is great on one hand and not so great on another.
First, when you give to others first you deplete yourself before you can tap the best in you. This cycle eventually leaves you burnt out, resentful, and probably unhealthy in more ways than one. But many of us have been socialized to think that if we put ourselves first we are being selfish. Not so. In fact putting myself first allows me to give more to those around me. Not only can I give them more because I am more full, I can give them better.
When I have put myself first I am better able to focus on them with all my attention and gifts. I am better able to see what I have to give they may be needing, such as attention, play, listening, or space. When I can more accurately match what I have to give honestly and authentically my efforts are more powerful.
Take some time this week and notice. Notice how often you are doing things for others out of habit. Notice if it is truly what they want or need. Notice how you feel about these interactions. Notice how they respond to these attempts at giving of yourself. Notice if you feel more satisfied or less satisfied after the interaction. Many of us operate on habit or perceived expectations.*
If you are up to the challenge – take some time for yourself and then repeat the above exercise in noticing. See you if you notice a difference in how your giving changes when you are taken care of first.
*Expectations and habits are not easy to break especially when others are involved. Too much for this blog post, but we’ll discuss that another time.
Its Halloween Time. The time when we put on costumes to pretend to be something or someone we are not. If you are of another tradition it may be the time you connect with those from your past who have gone before. This halloween think about how you are hiding from yourself pretending to be somebody you aren’t or how you are holding onto the past trying to get back to where you’ve been (ie thinner, faster, fitter). Reflect on the images and feelings those sentences bring up and use that information to redirect you toward your fitness goals. Here’s how.
First, you can’t go back and trying to is futile. One of the hardest things in this world is to look upon today and know you have to accept it – and yourself – just as it is, today, in this moment. You may wish you hadn’t gained weight or that you didn’t eat what you did for breakfast this morning – but matter of fact is you did. So instead of fighting yourself in the past bring your battle to the present moment. Look around – notice and describe what is right in front of you and know that in this moment you have the opportunity to choose what you want to do. From your deepest self – how do you want to live right now, what do you want to eat (or not) right now, and what active thing can you do right now. Do not get tricked into looking toward the future because as much as we cannot change the past we cannot predict what will happen in the future. All we have power over is now.
Second, why are you hiding? What are you hiding? Who are you hiding from? Some of these questions can bring up lots of “junk” we carry around with us. Things we believe about the world and ourselves. If you feel overwhelmed by your answers its time to seek professional help. Find a good therapist who can help you unload and re-pack your bags with skills you need now to get the life you want. If the answers are just difficult or uncomfortable it may be time to look closer at them. For some the answer(s) may be myself or my friends, my culture, my society, my community, my parents, my spouse, etc. It might be an event or past issue that still haunts you – re-read the first step again. Write your answers and revelations down.
Finally, decide what to do with the answers and thoughts that came up. Do you really want to move forward along your fitness journey? If you are not ready to quit hiding and start facing the choices you have in each moment it may be best to just let go for now. On the other hand if stopping is not an option how will you safely bring your true self forward? How will you make small changes each day to continue to move forward along your fitness path? How will you let go of past hurts and ideals that are no longer helping you succeed today?
All of these are big things to ponder. Remember change is a process and not about perfection. We cannot move forward before we are ready. But if you are – good luck, you can do this.
How often do you think about being happy with your life and yourself and as a result you lose weight?
How often do you think about being happy with your life and yourself and as a result you lose weight? A recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research makes the point that being happy can help us see the big picture. Participants were better able to think abstractly therefore enhancing their ability to reach their goals and stay motivated.
Laymen terms – if you are happy you will see beyond crisis right in front of you. You’ll be better able to hold the vision of your desired weight, running time, speed and the efforts it will take to get you to your desired point.
If you are happy you will be able to focus more effectively on what to do in the short term to reach the larger goal. A direct result of being able to hold the big picture of what you ultimately want in your mind when taking smaller steps toward completion of the goal.
You’ll train harder and maybe longer and definitely more consistently if you are focused. When you examine the contents of the fridge you are more likely to choose healthy options if you are happy than if you are looking for emotional comfort in your foods.
So start today and take steps to make yourself happy. Surround yourself with activities, things and people that make you happy to reach your fitness goals.
Labroo, A. A., & Patrick, V. M.(2009). Psychological distancing: Why happiness helps you see the big picture [Abstract]. Journal of
Consumer Reserach, 35(5), 800-809.
Pawlik-Kienlen, L. (2009, March/April). Happy pictures on the fridge will help you lose weight. Spirituality & Health, 30.