focus friday: try arm’s length for balance

Life gets blurry. I’ve learned that it’s just inevitable. As much as we try, we can’t avoid it. That’s why I’m constantly reminding myself to ‘get focused’.

Recently though, I’ve been thinking about things that make life blurry and evaluating things in my life that maybe are taking too much of my time. I’ve been recognizing things that require more of my attention than they’re worth…that is, things where I’m putting in way more than I’m getting back in return. These things are making my life blurry.

Our priorities in life should be on things that are adding to us…encouraging, strengthening, building up. They should at the very least leave us as we started and definitely shouldn’t have you feeling exhausted. For example, a job shouldn’t require so much of you mentally that when you get home, you either keep working or you are so distracted by it that you can’t focus on anything else. I totally get it, everyone is going to have those crappy days where all you can do is come home and sit in front of the TV for a while to decompress. But how often does it happen? Are you getting enough in return that it’s worth it or is it really just adding stress? Only you can really define ‘the line’ and answer that for yourself. Even if it’s a great job, you’ll never be able to focus on YOU and reach the goals you have for yourself if your mind is always preoccupied.

Work, church, friendships, social outings, volunteer activities…the list goes on. We can do and be involved with a lot of really great people and things, but at the end of the day, how do they leave you? Are you putting in more than you’re getting back?

I’ve come to realize that there are some friendships that I need to back off on. I’ve put way more into them than I get in return and it’s become exhausting. I’ve realized that I have friendships where I’m not nearly as much of a priority to them as they are to me. I’m evaluating…and maybe I start to move some of these to arm’s length. That will free me up some mentally to be more focused on myself or to make room to invest in other friendships or new friendships where #1, I feel like as much a priority to them as they are to me and #2, they actually leave me feeling encouraged and loved.

Life gets blurry. It’s going to happen, I understand that, but how many things or people are we involved with that are contributing to that? To have balance in life priority #1 must be yourself.

Get focused. Stay motivated.

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Update: Priorities

My father passed away a month ago and these past 4 weeks have been a blur. So much has happened and it’s gone by so fast. We’ve been working to get ourselves back to a ‘new normal’, but what does that even mean. We’ve been straightening the house, getting back into social outings, trying to be fit, and I’m figuring out what kind of work I need to do.

The 5 months he lived with us were special, but difficult. We tried to look at that time as time we’d never get back. We’d regularly remind ourselves of this when things were especially hard and it helped us to stay focused on what the priorities were.

As I’m writing this I’m wondering if we should take the same approach to our health and fitness. It has dawned on me that this day is time I’ll never get back. This week, this month…as they say in RENT, ‘no day but today’.

So today I’m motivated, in a different & bittersweet kind of way, to keep my priorities straight. We won’t get this time back.

Get focused.

Stay motivated.

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The Vulnerable New Normal…X2

My ‘new normal’ got in my way again…and this time it doubled down!

I’ve been trying to develop eating habits and exercise habits that last, habits that become so much a part of my lifestyle that it’s second nature. (If it’s second nature for you, I hate you ha ha…but I envy you too.) In the past I’ve had some luck losing weight with various eating plans…Atkins, Lean Cuisine, Whole 30, I’ve done them all…and I’ve had luck with various exercise plans, multiple gym memberships, and even hired trainers. All of these worked for a while, but for me they didn’t instill daily habits that became a permanent part of my lifestyle, no matter what was going on in life.

I’ve gotten off track many times because of some kind of life event…we moved, I got a different job within my company or changed companies, we took a major vacation, etc. One of the things I’ve learned over these past 30 years of dieting & exercise is that I need constant focus and motivation to stay on track and if there’s a blip in life that distracts my focus, so goes the diet and exercise.

This year has been all about developing those lasting habits with practices that will keep me focused and motivated. I was doing pretty well this year…eating right, exercising, losing some weight, working on this blog. Then life struck again and I had a ‘new normal’ to deal with. I was handling it pretty well when two weeks later life happened again and the ‘new normal’ became new yet again.

But first, a little about the photo. Throughout 2017 the message of authenticity kept showing itself to me. It seemed like no matter where I was or what I was doing, I would see a message of someone being their authentic self…’living their truth’…and it was stirring a passion in me to examine myself and start taking steps to make changes. I was meditating a lot on life, career, what my priorities should be, and what I was really passionate about. Then 2018 came around and the message morphed. I began to see the message of ‘vulnerability’ repeatedly. From reading, friends, movies, music, church…you name it, it was there. One of the things I learned is that if you are going to be authentic you’ve got to be vulnerable. Wow. This hit me big time. And the universe keeps dropping this message in my path, sometimes literally haha, where I took the photo yesterday while I was out on my walk.

So all this year I’m trying to be my authentic self, live my truth, be vulnerable, and get fit…and life hits me with new normals. At the end of March I was laid off from my corporate job. While I was rolling with that punch pretty well two weeks later it became necessary for us to move my father in with us because Hospice decided he should no longer live alone. Now, I firmly believe some things happen for a reason and are meant to be. After going through the process of packing my father out of his home and getting him unpacked & settled into one bedroom in our house, I can say there is no way I could have done that with a full-time job. I actually had not been happy in my corporate job for a long time so I was at peace about moving on, but man the timing was perfect. However, everything else I was doing personally…exercise, blog, etc…fell off track.

So here I am, getting back on track, getting back to work on this blog, and trying to be a little more vulnerable each day. I’ve not lost any weight in the last 2 months, but I didn’t gain any either, so that’s good. I’ve been trying to get focused and start moving the needle again. Of course at some point I have to start thinking about making money again, but funny as it may sound, I’m not making that a priority at the moment.

As of this writing the blog is still not public. This is a big vulnerability hump that I’m working on and looking for the right timing. Also, I’ve started studying for a personal trainer certification. I figured the knowledge would help to keep me focused and can only help me be a healthier me. Afterwards, we’ll see where it leads. I’ve not really talked about this either because it’a also a big vulnerability hump.

I’m working on the humps, I’m spending time with my father, I’m studying and learning about training, but most of all I’m trying to get focused and stay motivated. I sincerely appreciate your help 🙂

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I believe in me

The last few weeks have been difficult for me. Challenges that I’ve had at work and with friends have resulted in challenges with my fitness plan. These compounded at the same time and at times I’ve been angry with people and myself, hurt by people, disappointed in people, my employer, and myself, and depressed. It’s been a tough few weeks. I’ve felt like I’ve been dog-paddling to keep my head above water while various people in a boat are dumping buckets of water on me.

Through all of this I’ve been reminded of one of the first big lessons I ever learned…people will let you down. The part I never really moved on to, until now, is perhaps what the rest of that is. If you can’t depend on people, who (or what) are you gonna depend on? It’s like they say on the airplanes when they’re talking about that hypothetical ‘falling out of the sky’ scenario, put your own air mask on before helping anyone else. You have to help yourself before you can help anyone else…or another way of saying it is, you better believe in yourself before you believe in anyone else. And you know what, the other passengers might let you down if you wait around for them to help you.

So today I’m reciting this over and over and over again…’I believe in me’. It’s simple, but so powerful that sometimes I can’t get it out, especially for someone with a lifetime of self-conscience issues and self-doubt. But my friends have proven to me that they won’t always be there. And my employer has proven to me that they may not even want me anymore.

I have to be grounded in me.

I have to be focused on me.

I have to be motivated for me.

Even though others may have the best intentions, I have to believe in me…if I don’t, who will?

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