Learning to listen

I realise it has been almost a month to the day since my last post.  I always intend to write more regularly, but it’s been a busy month, so I’ve not put the time aside to do it.  Last month I talked about taking small steps to move myself in the right direction in life, to help build a little consistency.

So how have I done?  Well, it’s all down to perspective.  I’ve been tracking a few habits on my new app, which you mark off each day as a green or a red.  A success or a failure.  Whether I’ve succeeded overall or not is a matter of opinion.  In the no sugar category, quite honestly the reds are dominating.  In the daily movement one, the greens dominate.  No spend category was mostly red last month, but already in October I’ve had more ‘no spend’ days overall, so that’s pretty good.

What I’ve realised is that in the past I would have focused on the negative, and then sacked off the lot as a failure and hit another rut.  Now, I can see the successes and use them to spur me on.  I’ve not smashed everything, but I’m getting better and that is what matters.

Almost exactly a year ago I was pretty stressed out.  I had a lot going on, and felt as though I was living in a state of heightened tension, a feeling which stayed with me for the next 6-8 months.  A busy life, a lot to manage, and a huge pressure of high expectations.  For that past few years, actually strike that, for the past 30 years I’ve always hated my weight and appearance and lack of general fitness.  Yet i’ve never sorted it out.  I always thought that if I could just find this one thing that I could do that would make the difference then it would all work out.  I got into running and eventually triathlon and made a fabulous group of friends through both, so it seemed perfect: sign up for an event and the training will make me fitter, help me sort my weight and voilá, life will be perfect.  Well, we all know how that worked out.

It’s taken me longer than it should have, but while i love supporting my friends in their triathlon endeavours, I have zero interest in doing one myself anymore.  That might change, but as of right now, I don’t want it.  Quite simply, whatever you seek to achieve in life, you need to want it.  It HAS to be a focus, something you cannot live without.  So as it stands at the moment, i have NO races booked up for the future. No triathlons, no running events, nothing…..and oh my god let me tell you how FUCKING AMAZING that feels!  Seriously, just thinking about it actually makes me laugh with utter glee.  I had the right intention in a way, but the wrong execution.  Yes, I do want to lose weight and be healthy, but giving myself an unrealistic goal to complete an event I just don’t care enough about is not the answer.

Realising this, learning to listen to what actually matters to me and embracing it fully has been SUCH a relief.  The irony is, if you’d asked me in the last few years to tell you how I envisioned my ideal self, i’d immediately tell you that I would be strong, resilient, supple, and unafraid of trying anything.  Being strong and powerful, physically, is what really excites me.  I would say that I’m lucky to be mentally strong and resilient, and I know that while I occasionally lose my shit, I can deal with what life throws at me, and I always find a way through.  I want the body to match.  This doesn’t mean I want to look like a female version of The Rock (who is AWESOME btw), it just means that I want my body to move the way it’s supposed to. I want to be able to climb a tree, get over a fence, pick stuff up without breaking and move my skeleton about as nature intended.

For once in my life, i’ve also realised that 42 years of not moving like I should cannot be undone in an instant, so I’m in it for the long game.  I’ve been following a lot of inspirational people on Instagram which has helped me build a daily movement routine that i’m really enjoying.  I do some controlled articular rotations everyday, which basically means moving my joints through their all ranges of motion.  Well, as ‘full’ as my creaking bones will allow.  I’ve been doing some HIIT bodyweight stuff at home, albeit not this last week since I pulled a muscle while doing an adductor stretch (my foot slipped on the floor.  I know, i’m a fuckwit).  I’ve been doing a little yoga too.  Basically i’m mixing it up and I LOVE IT.  I have a long way to go, and as much as I’d love the thought of smashing out some deadlifts in the gym, I need to, or should I say want to get my body moving correctly first.  It’s actually hellish just how stiff and uncoordinated and unsupple I am right now.  The best bit is though is that I’m learning to listen to my body, I mean actually listen, and it’s great.

I have a LOOOOONG way to go, but I feel good, I’m happy, and I’m doing what’s right for me, not for anyone else.  I’ve been spending less time on things like Facebook, which quite honestly is just becoming a giant moan-fest and I cannot be assed with it.  It makes me want to moan more too, which isn’t helpful, so i’m generally steering clear.  Ironically Insta is exactly the opposite, and i’m probably just swapping one addiction for another, but it’s much more positive and a useful tool, so i’m sticking with it.

In the words of the Zen Monk, Shunryu Suzuki:

“Each of you is perfect the way you are … and you can use a little improvement.”

It’s not about doing something to find happiness.  It’s about being happy where you are & with who you are already, but recognising there’s always room for improvement.  Being in that place feels good.

Happy weekend folks!

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