Today I feel compelled to write about change. The type of intentional change that, (like most) is slooooooow and moves at a snail like pace. I'm feelin this topic today because I just did what (for me) would have seemed impossible two years ago. I have worked out 3 of the past 4 days. One of those workouts included going to a new type of fitness class ON MY OWN. I want to use my change, fitness habits, as an example to talk about any type of change that a person might want to make. In this moment, I'm feeling the inclination to scrap this entire post. How ridiculous. Plenty of people exercise daily. What kind of accomplishment is this? This is nothing special to be proud of. I'm already judging myself. My struggle is not anyone else's and what is extremely difficult for me may come naturally to others. That doesn't diminish the pride I should feel in working (long term) towards this goal, right??
Now, I've always hated being uncomfortable: sweating, panting etc. I've done yoga off and on for years, but rarely consistently, maybe once a month or less. Maybe much less. I had been longing for years to be more fit and healthy, envious of those who had discipline, which I always told myself I did not. Before I could even begin to change or work toward the goal, my judgmental, self-critical thoughts would kick in, and I'd give up before I even got started. Why try to go for a run when you know you'll only make it 5 blocks? Somehow I had it in my head that unless I was going for lengthy runs, or killing it at some spin class, any other form of getting out and moving was embarrassingly insignificant. About a year and a half ago I was chatting with a friend and had a moment of clarity where I realized how much my negative self-talk was impacting my ability to start changing. So I allowed myself to start slow. Very slow. I began taking long, 6-7 mile walks once a weekend with a friend. This was enjoyable for me, my speed. Not too intense, not uncomfortable. I watched for critical thoughts along the way, and did my best to replace them with gratitude and encouragement. Within 6 months I was regularly doing these walks, and one other long walk a week on my own. The positive impact that these twice weekly walks had on my mental health was profound, and I felt great. Then I began incorporating a regular, sustainable yoga routine. At first just twice monthly maybe, and then more. Since January of this year I have been doing yoga twice weekly, in addition to walking. A month ago I tried my first barre class and loved it.
So here I am. I went for a run Thursday evening, did a barre class yesterday morning and yoga this morning. And I still feel like scrapping this post. But I won't. Because what if your goal is to cut down on drinking? Or eat healthier? Have kinder interactions with people, or improve a relationship? It likely won't happen overnight. And that's perfectly okay. But it definitely won't happen if we discourage ourselves to the point where we don't even try. I still have days that I flake out on yoga, or don't feel like going on my walk. And when that happens I try to notice why I'm feeling resistant, but it no longer comes with the feeling that I'm a failure. Slowly, over the course of actual YEARS I have proved to myself that I can be disciplined, and active. It just needed to happen at a pace that was comfortable for me.