So, it’s been more than 10 days since I was supposed to do my August check-in for month 2 of my life reboot. Which really follows the theme of this last month: late. I’ve been late on a lot of stuff. Work, working out, life. Still, I managed to make some progress this month on my life reboot, and I’ve learned some lessons. Below is an account of what I’ve learned and how my life reboot is going.
What have I learned so far…
Change is hard.
Saying change is hard is like saying water is wet. It’s obvious and completely unsatisfying to realize the obviousness of that statement.
When you’re in the middle of change it feels like you’re in the middle of an ocean. You know it’s too far to swim back to the shore you started from, and, honestly you don’t really want to. After all, you started this journey for a reason. But going forward and reaching that opposite shore is daunting.
Mostly because you have no idea where that shore is. It could be a few hours away or a few years. Once you’ve arrived you may not even know that you’re there, because now there’s a road and you can’t see the end of that either.
The journey never ends. It just is, and no journey is straightforward. Sometimes it loops back on itself until you are right back where you began. Only now you’re a little wiser and a lot more beaten up, and probably not a little bit jaded. You might be a lot more jaded, and even more reluctant to begin again.
It’s important to take that step, though. While change is hard, it’s not insurmountable. It just sucks, because slipping back into old patterns is easy.
Lately that’s been happening a lot again. I can feel myself slipping back into those old patterns, especially when I’m stressed out or emotional.
When this happens I try to remind myself of a couple of things.
- I can’t get everything done in one day, so I need to stop freaking out and trying to plan my day that way.
- The steps I’m taking to change my life are working.
I already feel healthier and happier. I just need to continue with what I’m doing and give it time.
For some reason I feel like this is a lesson that I have to learn over and over again. Maybe it’s a lesson that will always be hard for me.
Anyway, I just remind myself that I’ve done this before. When I first started lifting weights I could barely lift the bar to do a bench press. I could barely squat half my weight. It was a struggle just to get through my workouts without quitting. Eventually, though, I was able to squat more than my body weight, my bench press greatly improved, and workouts were still grueling, but I could do them without feeling like I was killing myself. In fact, the feeling of being tired and the sore muscles only made me feel good about what I was doing. I was satisfied and content.
The same thing can be said about other goals I’ve had. Learning to manage and consult on social media and digital marketing, web design and development, and learning to dance salsa.
What do all these things have in common? They were all areas that improved naturally through hard work over time. There were no shortcuts.
Still, I know I will write about this in the future as if I’m discovering it again for the first time, but maybe that’s a part of my story. And that’s okay, because we all have our own stories woven by who we are and what we do.
I used to hate calling the things I did a routine. Routines are boring, I would think. Let’s call them “rituals” instead… because that’s not weird. But I digress.
It took me a while before I understood that it didn’t matter what I called them. That it was more important to change the behavior than to change what I called it. That’s really what routines are. Just a set of behaviors that you everyday. Real change happens when you start changing those behaviors.
You have to change the what is in order to change the what is to become. It’s all connected. Everything you do today contributes to your future tomorrow. It may not feel like it, but eventually all those things you do compound and become your new reality.
Self care is probably the most important element.
When you try to change things, some things will go wrong. You will get tired, overwhelmed, sick, or depressed. This is natural and a part of the process. It doesn’t make it easier to know that necessarily, but hopefully it won’t be surprising.
So, the best thing to do, may be the only thing to do is learn how to take care of yourself. When these setbacks happen, give yourself time to recover. Take a day or a moment to take it easy. You’ll feel better afterwards. It’s okay to slow down for a moment and take a breath. It’s also a part of the natural process. Just try to get back to your regularly scheduled programming as soon as possible.
Because changing your life is also a form of self care. By trying to change your life for the better you’re saying that you care about that life and the direction it’s going. That is an awesome thing. Life is valuable and it is worth trying to get right.
So now for the actual check-in.
Exercise More Consistently. It’s hard to know how much I actually exercised this last month. I only partially tracked it in my daily journals and on Runkeeper. I’m pretty sure I did more, but since I didn’t track it, I’m giving myself a low grade. I will try to track this better next month to see if I am really improving.
Eat better. Again, the tracking this last month sucked. I do know I ate better. I specifically remember several instances where I made better food choices than I normally would have. However, I am still struggling with sugar cravings. I know the answer is to cut out almost all refined sugars. I’ve done it before, and I’m dreading doing it again. Mostly because cutting out sugar means I’ll have to deal with the extra fatigue, crankiness, and worse cravings (until my body resets anyway). Right now I can’t afford to do that all at once. So, I will settle for slowly replacing the refined sugars with natural ones. I’ll let you know how that goes.
Write more. I literally wrote 1 more day than I did in the same period last month. So, that’s progress… I guess.
According to my word count totals, I actually wrote less words, too. Correction: Apparently I was looking at the wrong dates in my writing tracking spreadsheet. I actually wrote double the amount of words this month! I’m still giving myself the same grade, though, as it’s more about consistency than the number of words. It’s clear I need to change something in order to write more consistently and really make this reboot a reality.
Read more nonfiction. I failed to track this as well, but I know I read more of one of the nonfiction books on my list and listened to a lot more nonfiction podcasts. I’ll track better next month. For now, I’ll give myself a middling grade.
Enjoy just being more. Lately, I’ve been sitting on my balcony in the evenings. Either, just sitting quietly to reflect on the day or get some writing done. I can’t do it during the day, because it’s been like Hades furnace outside recently. But what did I expect from living in the High Desert?
I feel like I’ve earned some serious mental space from these quiet moments, which was the goal. A nice benefit, though, is feeling calmer the day afterwards or more insightful. It’s also helped my writing. I can tell it’s improving.
Ship more. Shipping out more content and projects this month didn’t happen. I only managed to get a few of the projects done that I wanted to do and I didn’t finish any of the blog posts I wanted to write. I will have to figure out how to adjust my workflow so I’m actually finishing more things. This last month has been difficult, because I’ve had some extra day job stuff to do and I’ve been focusing on relaunching my online course. I’ve made progress towards this big project, but I need to make sure that the big projects don’t overrun the smaller ones. This section needs a lot more work than the others.
As I said before, I need to work on tracking things better. I know my tracking will get better as my routines become more established (since part of my new routine is the tracking). So, this next month, I will be focusing on how I can fit these goals within my normal routine or by changing my normal routine so that they do fit. I suspect I will be doing more of the latter since my normal routines don’t really support my goals.
Overall, this month was better than the first month, which is the idea. I know I can’t make big changes in my life all at once. They never stick when I do. I’m happy to see the progress that I have made, but I’m already into month three and I’m getting impatient. It’s a recurring theme that getting to this point and continuing on is very hard for me. Even though it’s only been two months, I feel like I should have made more progress. It’s crazy, I know, but that’s how I feel. So, one of my next hurdles will be to resist the urge to give up because I’m not “living up to my expectations”. Hopefully by the next check in, I will feel differently. Stay tuned to find out if that happens. If you’re doing your own reboot or struggling to change your life let me know in the comments below. Maybe we can help each other through the hard times. 🙂
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