Attitude is everything. The power of positive thinking. Be all you can be.
A quick google search for these phrases bring up entire websites, books, quotes, memes – all sorts of things promoting the idea that positive thinking is a Very Good Thing that can and will change your life. Platitudes nearly always have a grain of truth to them, and when first said to someone they are probably powerful and profoundly impactful statements. After being repeated a few million times, printed on t-shirts, made into memes and spread like a contagion through social media, the impact is diluted to the point of being a joke. I would not go so far as to say it’s a crock of shit, but I feel it needs some modification.
Attitude is a lot seems far more accurate to me. The power of positive thinking works best when it manifests as positive actions. Be all you can be is somehow limited if you are constrained by thoughts that you cannot be anything beyond the lump of clay where you sit right now.
Houston, we have a negative girl fly-by going on.
This morning at the gym, I struggled mightily. Negative girl has me in her thrall, and my head was full of all the reasons why (1) the leg List is f**king hard, (2) I hate the leg List, and (3) I can’t do the leg List.
There is no mystery as to why I was struggling under the weight of my negative, anxiety-riddled mindset. I am mentally and emotionally out of sorts and trying to right my own ship. My break in routine this month is the primary culprit. I do the same things, follow the same routines day after day for good reason. Yes, this List is very challenging. No, I do not particularly hate or even dislike this List; many days I am energized by the challenges it presents. And most definitely I can do this List. But once I dive down this rabbit hole, it takes a lot of focus and discipline to drag myself back up and out of it.
Because abandoning better habits is so much simpler that trying harder and powering through.
The quality of my thoughts, the state of my self-esteem and confidence is still a work-in-progress to improve enough to stick on autopilot. It’s why routine and consistency is so important to me, and I am beginning to recognize the toll that falling away from my daily habits takes and how much resolve is required to recover. I have no regrets about going on vacation with M; part of my journey into adultier-adulting is learning how to roll with the punches and deal with setbacks and changes in routine. One of my friends jokingly referred to me as “rain woman” (ouch!) when I remarked on how difficult it was to be out of my element for a week and dealing with a lot of other stuff for most of a month and from there get back on a consistent schedule. I take consolation in at least being honest about the difficulties I am facing. I also understand that I might be a tad sensitive in this frame of mind.
In a few weeks I celebrate an anniversary of sorts with the exercise. Looking back, I have come a long way. I know that I am doing well and am so much more competent and confident. Trainer J and other friends who have walked this same path tell me stories from their own fitness journeys that include the setbacks and the disappointments, the successes as well as the failures. Common theme is that setbacks and injuries happen, there is no perfect straight-line to our individual versions of success. Intellectually I know this, but emotional me under the influence of negative girl refuses to accept that it applies to me. I must have some secret belief that I am a direct descendent of Wonder Woman for all the grief and pressure and bad feelings I bring upon myself.
My wake-up call for how bad, how indulgent I have been with myself? Thinking about cancelling training tomorrow, because further progress feels hopeless. I hate that thought crept in and took up residence and started renovating and expanding. It went from cancelling tomorrow to maybe taking a month off from training to just a random, quick thought of hiatus from the gym completely for October.
No, no, and HELL NO.
I mulled over the thoughts of why I would cancel training tomorrow and what I would say to J. I was dissatisfied with my fantasy version of the conversation, so I discarded the idea. Which led to the thought of a month off of training, and I was even more dissatisfied with the conversation we’d have, probably over text, for me to obsess over for the entire month. If I am going to be thinking about it and feeling poorly over my choice anyway, why not just drag myself into the gym and at least do something good for myself if I am going to be miserable anyway? Then it came to a 3 month hiatus (so our non-training paths would never, ever cross) and I realized how ridiculous I am being, allowing my thoughts to spiral out of control because I’m having issues with this challenging leg series. I’m embarrassed just typing it out here in black and white.
Yeah, me and my first world problems. I became quite disgusted with myself for being so self-indulgent in my pity party.
The week has gotten off to a rocky start, but there is still time today to make different choices, redirect my thoughts, fake it until I make it out from under this flailing feeling of drowning in my own sense of helpless hopelessness.
I know I’m neither helpless nor hopeless. This mood-swinging, mercurial version of me needs to cut off that negative thinking, cut myself some slack and get back to basis. Do my job, walk at lunch. That should be my new theme – work, exercise, blog. *smile* A bad day, a bad week, even a bad month will not be allowed to overwhelm almost a year of progress. Especially because it has not been a bad day, week, or month. My brainwaves are presently a little lost in the darkside of the spectrum, and I will have to be the one to pull on my positivity pants and get busy getting back to my true reality.
Because there is nothing to be so unhappy about. I struggled this morning, but I finished the List of the day (and have the sore lower body to show for it). I have restorative yoga tonight and I will be on time. Work is smoothing out and I am back to my normal role within the firm instead of valiantly trying to impersonate a paralegal. My new receptionist starts on Monday, so that will help. He’s here for training tomorrow and Friday, so that is good as well. I will be out and pounding the pavement soon.
I am very lucky – no broken pony tail holders for me today – and one of my clients gave me a thank you card today from Starbucks. While I do not drink coffee much anymore and cannot remember the last time I was in a Bucky’s (not my first choice when I do want that brand of caffeine fix), the thought was kind and the gift card generous because I was truly happy to help. I’ll find someone to hand it off to for their consumption and enjoyment.
Stress is insidious and makes me vulnerable to the marketing machine. I steer clear of health, fitness, and diet industry websites and marketing efforts unless it’s something I have discussed with J, RD, or even Dr. Spencer. Most of the time I need not even bring it up, because if I have a question, if I am curious about something, I can ask and they will typically be able to direct me without outside assistance.
Just lately here, a lot of my friends are talking about pounds lost (or not) and their initial successes with diets and with goals, etc. I don’t know why it’s hard – I want them to be successful and I want them to be happy. Perhaps I just wish to be more goal-oriented capable in this regard. Because we all know I’m not. Setting a pounds lost goal for me is like putting a shame badge around my neck to suffer with until I force myself across the finish line. And really, who needs that? I have gazillions reasons to beat myself up for without adding something so direct and a 24/7 reminder of my shortcoming, both real and imagined.
But since I cannot or will not stop talking to and supporting my friends in their endeavors, I have to get my nose back to the grindstone with my own training, practice, good eating habits. M suggested maybe I was trying too hard to add too much to my schedule before having my routines back on normal track, and he’s quite possibly right. However, exploring more stretching and yoga is something I really want to do. I know the social anxiety that comes from trying something new, going to a new studio and trying a new class. I recognize self-sabotage when I see it. I’ll keep trying to nudge myself forward and not allow any backsliding or giving up of hard-won real estate in the exercise realm. I worked really hard this last year to get this comfortable and confident in my home gym. I should not surrender that just because I’m trying to push through to somewhere new.
Ugh. Such a poor start to a good day.