This past Christmas, I decided to get myself a special gift – a treadmill. Since I was in the throws of graduate school, I have noticed I was putting on some extra weight. After losing Jaime, I found myself eating a lot more than I usually did, believing that if I enjoyed a bagel before bed I would somehow be comforted. Thankfully, some wonderful people in my life…including a doctor…reminded me that my plan with the bagels, and my ignoring my health was a recipe for a long-term disaster. I am beyond grateful for the person (who will, no doubt, read this blog!) who sat me down and reminded me of truth – “You need to take care of yourself. You are it for Felicity.” And so, for the past couple of years, with some guidance, and ongoing discipline, I have begun to do a better job of taking care of myself.
Anyway, back to the treadmill. Although I enjoy riding a bike for exercise, there are days in Pittsburgh when riding a bike is not possible. For the past couple weeks, I have been slogging away on the treadmill. To be honest, it’s been a rough start. Then, this weekend, it struck me. The same transformative truths I have been experiencing the past few months (years, really) in my professional/spiritual life can directly be applied to my quest on the treadmill. I am hopeful it will resonate with someone.
- Do not use “time” and “speed” as an indicator of success – Some days we move a little slower. Some days it is going to take us a little bit longer to reach the goal. You may not move as fast or as far as you want today, but just keep moving!
- Definitely take breaks. Definitely ignore distractions. – We all need to push ourselves a little harder. We all also need to take advantage of quiet moments for reflection and prayer. Learning to tell your self (and others!) “No” is a skill.
- You will work hard for what you really want – If you truly want to reach your goal, you are going to give it everything you’ve got even if it takes “forever.”
- Run YOUR race – Everybody is at a different place in his or her life. Do not begrudge the person who seems to have their act together today…you should have seen them last week!
- Share your goals with those you can trust. Use discernment with those who are unable to give you what you need. – Surround yourself with people who will check in with you, encourage you, listen, and speak truth (sometimes painful!) into your life. Be careful…guarded of those who are not able to really listen or support you. While it’s OK they don’t understand how to help you, it’s not OK for them to hurt your growth.
- Get back on! – Falling down hurts. Life hurts. Whoever told you life was going to be easy or that you were never going to fall down now lives on a sandy beach in Antarctica. Don’t expect the world to stop and indefinitely feel sorry for you. Dust yourself off and get back on!
- Stop making excuses! – You truly are responsible for what you do, say, and think. I got a treadmill because I ran out of excuses for not including this as a part of my exercise routine. If I had asked others about their thoughts or an internal “feelings” poll, I wouldn’t be talking about a treadmill. We know when we are making excuses because we are very good at it!
- Only look back when it helps you push forward – Who cares how you’ve tried and failed before! Who cares about the mental list of people who have not supported you or wronged you? They only get to write your story if you hand them the pen. Take a look back and reflect and redirect as needed and then push forward for the next minute or mile.
- Find a theme song – This week, mine is Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop”. Music is a great motivator. Theme music is particularly special because it not only introduces shows/movies…it is used to bridge one scene to the next and then often as a dramatic score to close the film. I am whistling, humming, thinking, singing, or listening to something most of the time because it is the score for my day.
- Celebrate! – We are really bad at this! Most of us have the “Yeah! But…” syndrome. “I am so glad I did this, but I didn’t get this done…” So what! Those who know me best know that I often use the expression, “Throwing confetti!” when I am particularly excited something has been accomplished. We need to throw more confetti when we are reaching each milestone along the way.
So, I am ready to continue this experience. As I attempt to keep up, catch my breath, and hallucinate I see the angels “coming forth to carry me home,” I look forward to pressing on to not only reaching my goals but also throwing some serious confetti along the way. All the best to you, Friend!