Finding [My] Balance
I’ve been struggling with motivation lately – lacking enthusiasm for my workouts and attention to my nutrition. I lost my balance – and here’s my story.
At the end of September, I was rear-ended by a guy going over 50 mph, but I felt lucky to come away from the incident feeling “fine”. In fact, the next day, I came one second away from my summer-long goal of running a 6-minute mile [I ran a 6:01]. Later that week though, perhaps once the shock of the accident started to wear off, I began experiencing pretty severe low back pain and began physical therapy 2x/week. Then a week later, I sprained my right ankle…BAD; like can’t walk at all, bad [nope, not while exercising, but while walking out to my car — I’ll save the explanation for another time. I am still trying to think of a better story of how it “really happened” 🙂 ].
So, because of these two incidents, I essentially didn’t workout for 5 weeks. I went from being in the best shape of my life [no joke], to being extremely limited in what I could do. For someone who moves for a living and thrives on being fit, this was hard to swallow. I lost my sense of well-being and found myself swimming in self-pity. When I finally felt that my body was well enough to begin working out again, I then lacked motivation. I was frustrated that all the progress I’d made over the summer was essentially gone.
And as could be expected, this wallowing led to a lack of attentiveness to what I was putting into my body on a daily basis. In the beginning, it wasn’t a big deal, but as I continued implementing this lazier and mindless approach to my nutrition, eating poorer quality foods than I usually do, I started to notice that my energy was also zapped. I was tired. This, in turn, increased my lack of motivation to do anything. And I found that I was spiraling in a direction of depression that had me constantly questioning my self-value. Suddenly, I wanted to eat out more [because I didn’t feel like cooking]; I felt myself craving junk food and feeling like I always needed a cocktail. I was eating maybe 60-70% clean [not absolutely horrible], but my attitude shift was BIG. I couldn’t seem to get myself out of the funk and even more so, could find no motivation to do so.
The truth is — motivation sucks. It waxes and wanes as frequently as the high school love interest. And often times, I think it can almost serve as a barrier to our success. Why? Because of its flightiness! When I am motivated, decision-making towards my goals is easy. It’s easy to say no to things that will obstruct the path to my goals; and in the same token, it’s also easy to motivate for the challenges I must overcome to reach my goal. But what happens when motivation is lacking? What happens when everything around us is actually zapping our motivation and pushing us in the opposite direction? It’s pretty easy to “fall off the wagon”, right? We don’t need motivation; my friends, we need discipline. I needed discipline. I needed to reconnect with who I was and what was important to me.
Its discipline that helps us walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Motivation may get us started, but we must implement discipline to follow through. Goals vary, and so do the steps required to get us there, but we all know excuses get us nowhere in life and the same holds true with pursuing goals. Be it a goal of obtaining lifelong health or running a marathon, motivation will only ever take you so far. Discipline, on the other hand, leaves no room for excuses. It doesn’t come & go, doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Instead, it’s a habit pattern that streamlines our goals because you don’t do things “when you feel like it”, you do it because you made a commitment, made a pact – and a promise with yourself to keep it. We might not feel like working out, or feel like preparing nutritious food; we might lack enthusiasm, but discipline makes us do it anyways. Discipline follows through where your mind cannot; it pushes through barriers and breaks down walls of excuses. We don’t break promises or commitments that we make to other people – friends, family or clients, so why do we so easily break commitments to ourselves? That’s the most sacred earthly relationship we hold. We cannot fully love or take care of others unless we truly love and care for ourselves.
We all struggle with this same thing – finding our balance. Finding balance between our social lives and time constraints; between taking time out for ourselves, while doing our jobs and being a “good” partner, parent or friend; and balance between what we define as “being healthy” and “having fun”. But the problem with balancing is that we’re not always “on”. And all the things we juggle in life and the stuff that happens is constantly challenging our equilibrium and taking us out of balance more than helping us find it.
It’s my one true passion in life to help people find their path to living healthfully for a lifetime. Not for the times we’re “motivated”, but forever. To develop a relationship with ourselves where we respect our body and our needs [both physical & psychological]; while caring enough about our well-being to see it as a lifelong pursuit versus obtaining immediate results. It’s something that takes work. We don’t always get it right and often times we lose our balance along the way.
But sometimes, we have to lose our balance to find it.
And there’s no shame in that. It’s the permanence of discipline, the flexibility in pursuing health as a lifestyle and the commitment to our own overall well-being that helps us find our balance again. And when we do, gosh, does it feel good. So, maybe today is the day that you leave motivation at the door and make the commitment to yourself to be patient. To live every day to the fullest, to fill your body with nutritious ingredients because it really does make a difference, to move your body now so that you can keep moving for the lifetime that’s ahead of you. To accept this as a journey, where we stumble, where we maybe even eat s**t pretty hard sometimes– but we get back up, because we made a promise to ourselves and we’ve got the discipline to back it up. And that’s where I found balance again.