In the old days of my original blog and fitness journal, the post title “Goals” would have most likely been linked to a big event — a marathon, half ironman, bicycle trek across California. After I found fitness (and lost some weight) in my mid-twenties, I became fitness-obsessed. And as I got stronger and stronger, I was constantly on the hunt for that next big accomplishment. All of which, I would focus on, train and slay to the best of my ability.
Now, a decade and a half later, I’ve got 6 marathons, countless triathlons and a few epic bike rides under my belt, all of which I’m super proud of. But I’m not longer searching for the next epic fitness feat. In fact, my search in the past few years, has turned more to balance.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I still love my workouts and I’m pretty sure I haven’t run my last marathon. But when I think about goals these days, they are more about getting to bed early and trying to maintain a meditation practice. Because, the truth is, I just haven’t prioritized holistic health the way I should have the past 5-7 years. I’ve developed some bad habits (ah, hello, stress drinking!). I’m not as consistent an AM morning workout lady as I used to be. I rarely cook and can’t believe I used to enjoy it. I don’t drink enough water and I watch a lot more TV that I did the past.
That’s not to say I’ve gone to hell. Things are just different. I actually think I do eat better now after having spent some time with trainers and various detox programs. I also regularly weight train now — something I started a few years ago as an investment in my bone mass and muscle composition and knowing how important strength work is as you get older.
I’ve also dabbled in meditation. Especially after going through a particularly traumatic experience a year or so ago, mental health has become a priority. Therapy is a priority. I go to the chiropractor not just for adjustments but for adrenal health. And James and I took a meditation workshop in early 2015 to help start cultivate a practice.
So, something’s shifted lately. I’m think I’m maybe finally done with “just surviving”. I’ve been doing “just enough” to feel okay — when it came to working out, eating, sleeping. I haven’t been meditating nearly as much as I’d like to be. And I can’t tell you how many evenings I’ve gotten into the cycle where I have a few glasses of wine to relax after work, then stay up too late and then hit snooze (or not even set the alarm) the next morning and not make it to my workout. I also have a bad habit of taking my phone to bed and staring at social media to infinity which then affects my sleep.
I think it all came to head when I started meeting with my new trainer earlier last month. I’ve had a different trainer for the past 2 years who was great — and she got me through a horrific personal time where I just needed to keep the lights on. But then she left the club to pursue a different career and I started up with someone new. And as part of that process, I think I’ve had some clarity that I need accountability. That I would like to shift some of my not-so-healthy patterns into more healthy ones. I would like to lose a few of the pounds that came on. I want to meditate more often knowing the benefits. I want to spend less time scrolling through social feeds. I want to set my alarm AND wake up early. I want to feel less tired and more whole.
I think it’s also part of this healing process I’ve been going through and ready to move to the next stage.
So, to kick this off, I’ve been setting myself some mini-goals the past few weeks. Last week it was simply: healthy meals. I picked two healthy recipes: a casserole and a soup that I knew would make a lot of servings, wouldn’t take TOO much work to prepare and give me healthy stuff to heat up on nights I didn’t want to cook. The week before that, my mini goal was stick to my workout schedule: 3 weight training workouts and 2 runs — anything else + dog walks were gravy.
This week? the goal was “SET MY ALARM” – which also meant, ‘WAKE UP WHEN THE ALARM GOES OFF.” And on Monday and Tuesday, I already failed. I don’t want to to get into the excuses — but that thing about drinking some wine and not going to bed early enough? Yeah, partially the problem.
So, last night, I stuck to it. No wine before bed. I set my alarm. And I got up even 20 minutes earlier than normal (credit to my wake-up light for that). The extra 20 minutes was great because not only did I get my workout at the gym in, I got to add on a 20 minute guided meditation which really helped set the tone for the day (especially considering yesterday was particularly intense and not the most positive at work and I NEEDED an attitude adjustment that a clear head helps to achieve).
I feel a little silly being so excited about such simple things: a full night’s sleep, time to meditate, fitting in a run before work. But it’s those little bits that make the whole. And if I can hold on to the feeling and the positivity of these simple shifts, hopefully it makes it easier to continue the behavior.
Side note: originally recommended by my chiropractor, I really do love Tara Brach for meditation and mindfulness lectures. She’s my go-to and you can download her talks and meditations on any podcast app. So check her out.