How many of us are pushing, pushing, pushing to get things done? Driving our children to activities, rushing to a meeting (and sometimes we’re not even sure why we’re in attendance), up late getting last-minute projects completed, and feeling like we need to stay on the phone with a person who never gives us the opportunity to express how we feel? In the past, however, I’ve been guilty too, but I’ve managed to step off the merry-go-round. It’s been a gradual, but rewarding process of reclaiming my time and space so I can be truly present for myself, and most importantly for my children.
As many of you know already, earlier this year, I started running. For the first time in my life, I’m genuinely taking time to re-energize and nourish my soul—all without guilt that I “should be” doing something else, for someone else. I know with all my heart that I truly can’t be good to anyone else if I’m not healthy and strong. Running has become a way for me to strengthen my body and mind. One of the biggest surprises is how much stronger my mind actually is and how little my body has to do with running. When I started running, the thought of running a mile without stopping felt like a lot, forget about running a 5K or 10K. But I kept pushing myself and took the process one day at a time: I showed up and put the time in…and little by little, I can now run three miles without stopping and sometimes five!
From my experience with running, I’ve come to learn that much of what we do is a mind game. It’s all about perspective, thought and purpose. Problem is, most people have become too busy to even have the time to contemplate actions and decisions, which sadly puts us in a state of reaction. This incredibly dis-empowering. Moving from reaction to action can be accomplished. It means gaining a little self control and discipline, learning to say “no” to the negative and “yes” to the positive.
Life happens, but if you want to live purposefully, it’s necessary to be conscious of decisions and choices—all the time. Funny thing is, even when you’re not making a decision or choice (for example, procrastinating on not having your car serviced) you are actually making a choice—a choice to not do anything, which is fine, as long as you’re conscious of that. Understanding this can help a lot and free you from the guilt of procrastinating.
Happiness is another choice. It’s amazing how when I got this, it really didn’t matter what anyone else did any longer–I can still be happy and experience joy. Of course, there are unpleasant issues in life, but I don’t have to allow them to take center stage and suck the life out of me. One of my favorite questions when a problem, issue or challenge arises is: What’s the worst thing that could happen? Figure that out, then accept it and move on. If you’re truly grounded in the present, only what’s transpiring at this very moment is happening; everything else in our minds is imagined. Breathe and move through the day, being grateful for what you have!
I’ve learned too that what we focus on becomes bigger and more present in our lives. Therefore, I’ve made the effort to be more grateful, find joy, and focus on the positive. It doesn’t mean that the negative just magically disappeared, but somehow it no longer has the presence it once did.
We all have the ability to be exceptional! It’s a choice basically. Choosing happiness is a choice; allowing ourselves to be happy is a gift.
What do you have to be joyful and happy about today?Read More
I’ve been waiting for many years to have the desire to run, wanting to be one of those women who effortlessly and beautifully ran with ease in their adorable outfits and cool shoes. At least once a year, I’d make an attempt, but failed to keep at it because it didn’t come easily. Then, this year, I was on the verge of a panic attack…again…and almost hyperventilating on the phone with a good friend (who also happens to be a psychologist). Our call was breaking up, I couldn’t hear her, I said “pardon,” and all I heard her say, loudly, was “EXERCISE!”
I left for the gym (yes, had a membership that I hadn’t been using) about ten minutes later. I got on the treadmill, I walked quickly, I ran, I was out of breath, I walked quickly, I jogged, I walked at a rapid pace, I jogged, I ran, I walked…all for about 30 minutes. I didn’t get very far, but I made an attempt and actually felt better. The panic attack didn’t happen, I was able to get through the rest of the day, and a new habit, hobby, and love was born.
For the past 3 months, I’ve been running an average of 4 miles, at least 4 days a week. Yesterday I ran 6 miles in preparation for the upcoming Cooper River Bridge Run which is a 10k. I’ve lost a little weight and even thought that wasn’t my main goal, I’m starting to feel like my old self: Standing taller, holding my tummy in and moving more gracefully throughout my day. Mentally, I’m a force to be reckoned with. Well, sort of. I’m more positive, more confident and enjoying the relationship I’m having with running.
Step 1: Rewrite Your Story. I stopped telling myself I couldn’t and I just went and ran.
Step 2: Confront Your Problems. I had been making excuses and had to come to terms with the fact that the gym wasn’t coming to me and, as Nike states, “just do it!”
Step 3: Discover Your Inner Strength. I’ve found the strength to show up and by showing up and doing the work, I have the confidence that I can do this in other areas of my life too!
Step 4: Redefine What’s Possible. I slowly but surely pushed myself a little farther each time.
Step 5: Exceed Your Expectations. By pushing myself, I began to exceed and embrace how that felt.
Step 6: Change Your Belief System. This step naturally came out of Step 5 because I exceeded my expectations. How could my beliefs stay the same?!
Step 7: Own Your Breakthrough. I feel confident and have a new outlook on what I’m capable of because I can run!
Please share any breakthroughs that you’ve had. If you’re still working on having a breakthrough, I encourage you to go out and do something you’ve talked about doing for a long time. Just do it! The rewards are amazing!
UPDATE: I got over it! Finished the Cooper River Bridge Run in 1.06.41. The two toughest parts: Getting up the bridge and the last .2 miles. Goal for next year: Finish in under and hour!
Looking forward to the Moms’ Run on Saturday, May 12, 2012, supporting Postpartum Depression. It’s a 5K. Goal: Under 30 minutes (UPDATE: Finished in 28:33). The 2012 Moms’ Run is at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island. Stay after the race or come by for the new Family Fun Day with plenty of great activities for kids and fun for the whole family.
For a list of the races I’ve finished and upcoming races, click here.