FACTS

Dear Strong Woman,

Focus on the facts.

I had frustrating pool session this week. (Quick catch-up: I’ve been taking swimming lessons the past few weeks.  I signed up to do a triathlon with my Strong Man this September and I really don’t want to drown.  I also really want to keep dating him, which is why I’m having someone other than him teach me.)

Nothing was working.  I forgot everything I’d learned.  I was clunky in the water.  My breathing was out of wack.  I wanted to quit.  I considered cancelling my upcoming lesson due to my regress rather than progress.  The thought of actually completing the (open-water Atlantic Ocean) swim part of this race became more and more of a pipe dream in my head.

And then it hit me.

OF COURSE this swim was a shit show: I hadn’t been in the pool in five days.

I do this all the time…expect performance without putting in the practice. Last night we split a tray of Grand’s biscuits for dinner, and I still got pissed when I saw the scale moved in the opposite direction this morning.  What is that?!

I think as humans it’s natural for us to let our emotions drive the bus.  That’s why we often don’t do the work that’ll get us closer toward our goals – we don’t feel like it!  And when we don’t see any signs of progress, we let emotion make it a big friggin’ deal. 

It’s too hard.
I’ve just got a lot going on right now. 
Easy for YOU to say.
I’m just not wired that way. 
Those things don’t ever work for me. 

You don’t know me!

But if we focus only on the facts, on what IS rather than what we’re letting it all mean, it deflates that drama cloud.  We go from OH MY GOD LIFE IS SO HARD to Hmmm. How about that.

Shift the way you look at things and the things you look at change, right? Pinterest has a point, friends.

Our best decisions are often what we choose not to get involved with…like our own bullshit stories. 😉

Practice, practice, practice.

HEALTH IS WEALTH

Dear Strong Woman,

Health is wealth.

This has been THE preach-worthy concept I’ve heard from three different business mediums this past week. (Yes, business…not fitness!)

  1. In his book High Performance Habits, Brendan Burchard shares data showing that 97% of high performers commit to working out.  97%.
  2. If you look at the #fivetothriive that govern the #Last90Days Challenge Rachel Hollis is currently leading, 3 of the 5 relate to health.
  3. My Strong Man shared with me an a-ha from his current read (David Osborne – Wealth Can’t Wait) where CEO of Virgin Records, Richard Branson, shared the secret to the success of his company: getting a workout in.

And for the Grand Slam of clues from the Universe regarding this, the homework assigned to me in this week’s business training was to schedule things into my calendar in a specific order. Guess what comes BEFORE doing anything for your business?

A workout!

Are you hearing this?! If you have career goals, financial goals, spiritual goals, lifestyle goals, mental goals, ANY goals…chances of you reaching those goals increase if you commit to your health FIRST.

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This isn’t rocket science, and yet we (yes, me included) often need something as unsubtle as a rocket launch to clue us in!

Houston, we have a strategy…and hope isn’t part of it.

Striving for success?  It’s time to sweat for it.

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HARD THINGS

Dear Strong Woman,

About last night…

Not the first Saturday where I’ve woken up feeling the events of the night before.

Admittedly, I was experiencing a little anxiety due to some recent vet visits with my little boy. It’s all manageable, both medically and financially, but it’s still ONE MORE THING to add to the ever growing list. The overwhelm creeps in, and stress levels creep up.

At 9:00pm I was still spiraling in my head. Two years ago you would’ve found me at the bar, likely at an acceptable level of blurriness to suggest heading next door for some dancing. (Acceptable because there are some places you wouldn’t normally go to unless your standards were lowered a bit due to fuzzy senses.) Liquid courage helped me to dance the night away, and dancing the night away helped me to sweat out some of what got me there in the first place. Either way, I was happy because I had numbed the stress. I had pressed mute on my emotions. I surrounded myself in crowds of noise to drown out the thoughts in my head.

Last night was somewhat similar, I suppose. But rather than ignore how I was feeling, I let my feelings fuel me through a grueling workout made possible by real courage, not the liquid kind. When the worry crept back in I pushed harder. Lifted heavier. I let my emotions (and sweat) come over me, because I’ve learned that in order to free things you must feel them first. Life was hard then and it is hard now, but this time around I am grounded in a single truth:

WE CAN DO HARD THINGS.

I still woke up with some pain, but instead of cursing Jameson I was cursing tricep kickbacks in plank position. (Holy Baby Jesus, Batman.) I don’t know about you, but I’ll take a workout hangover over an alcohol hangover any day.

So if you’re laying in bed feeling like death and wondering why you keep doing this to yourself…I’ll tell you:

The answer is you.

Not your circumstances, not your finances, not your shitty job or your bad relationship.

YOU.

I’ll close with this mic-drop from Rachel Hollis: “You are in charge of your own life, sister…and there’s not one thing in it that you’re not allowing to be there.”

What you allow will continue.

Let this moment be your transition point.

SWEAT

Dear Strong Woman,
I have found a special substance that, if you cover yourself with it consistently, will drastically change your body and, more importantly, your mood.

It’s a bit of an artisan blend…uniquely made in conjunction with the individual it is meant to serve.

Thought, fair warning…it may smell a little, and burn your eyes if you’re not careful.
So…do you want to know what it is?

HINT

I’m in a major state of self-reflection.  It amazes me how one decision can completely alter the course of your life.
So much of the time, we let life happen TO us.  We complain about things out of our control, letting them shake us to the core, suck the joy, and blind us from the many, many blessings surrounding us.

But there comes a point where we have to change the story and recognize that life happens FOR us, not to us.  That we have the power to focus on what we CAN control, and let our energies flow in a direction that is purposeful rather than pointless.

For me, the girl that walked the mile run in middle school and ate cookie dough for dinner on the regular, that control came from taking on a more healthy lifestyle.

To keep this brief, let me say that I’ve had a roller coaster, love-hate relationship with my health that is worthy of whiplash, made up of everything from binge eating and baggy sweatpants to low-carb dieting and very low-self esteem.
Barely staying afloat in an endless sea of to-do lists, there came a point where feeling out-of-control on a regular basis took me to a fork in the road: wish for a lighter load, or do the work to build a stronger back.
I decided to do the latter, and I decided to do it in the literal sense – with a lot of sweat.

IT CHANGES YOU

Duh, right? Of course fitness changes you.  It slims you down, it tones you up, and sculpts here, and it chisels there. That’s all true.

But, the real transformation is internal.  The real transformation is the one you can’t see.

As I sit here and reflect on who I was a year ago (left) and who I am now (right) – significantly lighter in mind as well as body – I am more thrilled with what I’ve gained rather than what I’ve lost.

More energy.
More happiness.
More mindfulness.
More determination.
More appreciation.
More perspective.
More confidence.
More calm.

And the list keeps growing.


WHY

Perhaps the reason why it took me so long to commit to this – to train the quit out of me – has to do with my previous limiting beliefs about diet and exercise. But what I always considered to be a form of punishment, was actually an important lesson in loving myself.

Not a diet, a way of life.
Not for him, them, or anyone else but ME.
Not for a day, but for every day.
Not to feel good in a dress, but to feel good in my own skin.
Not for a beach-ready photo, but for my mind.

Not for a competition, but for THE competition I have created for myself, by myself, to become a better version of myself.
Every.
Damn.
Day.

In a time when the glorification of being busy is the latest trend, just the act of choosing to put yourself first is a bit of a rebellious act.

But every time you do, you become stronger, more resilient, and a better you.  It isn’t the external results that keep you showing up, but the on-top-of-this-world feeling you get from making yourself proud.

Your life will only get better if you do, babe.

Work on yourself.

The rest will follow.