This last weekend, I went through my Memory Chest. I’ve had this piece of furniture for the 20 years, and its sole purpose is to hold my memorabilia, trinkets, and other items that invoke dear memories for me. Downsizing and organizing my Memory Chest is a pack-rat’s nightmare, and a semi-annual ritual for myself. Sometimes, it takes days to complete, but this fall – because I was so strict last time…and left half of as “needs to be finished” – it only took me an afternoon to finish what I had started this spring!
As I sifted through my memories, I came across an entire box of old journals. If you are an eternal “aspiring writer” like myself, then you likely have something similar in your house. The first few pages are PACKED with the day-to-day accounts of your life. You, too, had a fresh new journal, notebook, or beautiful book ready to be filled with your thoughts, dreams, and that award-winning novel idea. Then…something happened. I got busy, life was pulling me in another direction, I lost my journal under the bed, etc., etc. The last few entries might have referred to a re-commitment to writing. “Dear Diary, I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve forgotten to write everything down. I’m so sorry! I promise to write more often from now on.” Maybe there were even attempts to summarize the missing months: “I liked GER a lot the last time I wrote, but now I am mad crushing on TYH. It’s weird how I used to like GER so much. He was such a jerk…” (I came across a LOT of my writing from Junior High in my Memory Chest.) But, for whatever reason there is not a single notebook / journal / diary that is filled from one end to the other. Frankly, as an Environmentalist, I am ashamed with my younger self!
I’ve noticed the same thing with running. I love running! Sadly, my knees / my back / my ankles don’t like me running. I have “started running” at least once a year for the last seven years. I lay out my clothes the night before, set my alarm an hour early, and get my shoes out from the last drawer I shoved them into the last time. And, it feels great the first time. Maybe it feels great for the next three weeks, sometimes only the next week. Then, my knees hurt, so I take a break. The break turns into a month, then three, then I have to start all over again from the beginning.
I’m learning from all of this, though. I’m on week three of running right now, and pacing myself with every step. Pacing means my knees are getting stronger as I go, rather than taking all of the pounding until they can’t take any more. I’m running in the afternoons when it’s sunniest out, or inside on rainy days. My phone has a running schedule that reminds me – frequently – that today is the day for my next scheduled run. I’m telling the world when I get it done: bragging on social media always keeps me going! And, most importantly, I remind myself of my overall goal: #runforme #runformentalhealth
Last month, I had a great little visit with a fellow coach. As it turns out, she’s also a personal trainer and body builder and just such an amazing person that I was ecstatic to hear that she was life coaching, too! (Check her out at: We Are Timeless) In our conversation, I brought up my health goals, and my excitement that my new day job would allow for me to work on those, too. (More about her awesome insight into that later.) And, it dawned on me – so I shared my aha! with her: all I really want is to be in strong enough physical shape to run regularly without the knee pain or back pain. When I run, I told her, I clear my mind; and I really want a clear mind. #runforme #runformentalhealth
The funny thing is, the same thing applies to my writing. When I think back over my twenties, I realize that the winter that I had the most clarity and the least stress was when I was writing the most for me. I woke up a half hour early every morning to do my “Morning Pages.” I wrote a blog every day for my music blog: Edumusication. I worked on three other blogs, too, and I loved it! I met up with fellow writers and read some amazing authors, and my life was really good.
But, how do we return to “life was really good”?
It’s easier to keep going when we already have the momentum. How do we gain the momentum? By being consistent. How do ensure we are consistent? By remembering our reasons for doing it. By prioritizing the greater vision for our life over the little details that don’t matter that much. Why am I not getting up in the morning and writing? Because I have stayed up too late crocheting and watching Netflix. I know that – I’ll call myself out! Why am I staying up so late? Because it relaxes me. Aha! What does writing daily do for me? It relaxes me. It provides me with a place to set all of my thoughts, worries, and great ideas down so that I don’t fixate on them when my head hits the pillow. So, how can I write more consistently? Maybe writing at night rather than in the morning is a better idea for me…
Another thought I have on writing is that I need things to be perfect. I have this great attachment for every blog post to leave you, the reader, with hope and inspiration on how to improve your life. I would love to tell you that the above realization was a miracle and that I am doing it and life is really good. But, I can’t … yet. I am going to publish this without it being perfect, though…because life isn’t perfect, but maybe it can still be really good.
What do you think? How do you stay focused on your goals and increase your consistency when building new healthy habits? I’d love to hear from you!