Ideally, this is how my days "should" look, in my own mind, shooting for my own best health and optimal comfort:
I would lift weights for an hour, 3x a week, including all my PT exercises for my knees.
I would bike for 30-45 minutes 6 days a week to build endurance and aerobic conditioning.
I would not eat any processed foods, only fresh, local, organic produce and free range meat and eggs with some olive oil and maybe some nuts and seeds.
I would only drink water and unsweetened teas. No diet sodas, artificial sweeteners, or sugar. I'd drink at least 3 cups of green tea per day for prevention of reproductive cancers that run in my family.
I'd get 8 hours of restful sleep each night.
I would get outside for a 2 mile walk with the pooch and some play time with the little one.
I would clean my house, organize things, and declutter.
I would get away for "me" time a few times a week.
Well, that is the ideal dream I have in my head. But reality is, I have been unable to keep ALL of that stuff up for very long. It stresses me out trying to be perfect and do everything. And part of the price I pay for the wonderful gift of having five children and two dogs is the sacrifice of MY time and will for theirs. I wouldn't trade that for the most perfect body in the world!
Real life is not ideal. I think many times we set ourselves up for disappointment by putting big goals before ourselves that, while perhaps not *impossible* to reach, require a level of sacrifice that is not conducive to our happiness. Sometimes, we need to accept our own limits and be happy with what we *can* do, thankful for the changes we *have* made, and proud of the progress we *are* making.
I DO lift weights, but only twice or three times a week for 20 minutes. I don't get the PT in.
I DO choose local, organic, fresh veggies and free range meats for my dinners, when I can. I also eat processed stuff as a means to an end.
I DO drink lots and lots of water. I also still drink diet sodas and artificial sweeteners, again, as a means to an end. I don't get that green tea in very often.
I DO try to get at least 6 hours of sleep, but 8 doesn't happen too often.
I DO often get at least one mile, sometimes 2, in with the dog. I always get outside to play with the little one.
I DO clean, but my house is still a wreck of sorts. Decluttering is not happening at the moment.
I DO go to dog sport events once or twice a week, and that will have to do for "me" time at the moment.
Now, I have a choice. I can be frustrated at all the ideals I am NOT reaching, or I can be pleased with what I AM successful at. I can feel good about myself or bad about myself. Why not feel good? Why not?
That is not to say we should settle for less. I am not saying you should think, "oh, I should be exercising but I am not, no big deal!" or, "I am obese and should lose weight but am not, oh well, I will just be happy where I am!" Instead, I am saying we should be happy on the journey, and KEEP TRYING to hit the goals WITHOUT feeling bad that we fall short. Does that make sense? I still know I want to be biking. It is still a goal. I still plan to incorporate it. But I refuse to label myself a failure because I am not reaching that part of my own idea of what I want/need to be doing RIGHT NOW.
The true measure of success is time. If I am closer to my goals NOW than I was 6 months ago, that is movement in the right direction. If I am closer still 6 months from now, I know I have momentum and am getting close to the life I imagine for myself. It does take work and effort and stepping outside your comfort zone. You can't sit by and just be satisfied with as-is. You have to work at it. But you also need to accept and love yourself for the small, positive changes you have made already and are still making over time. Over TIME. That is the key. Do not be impatient and want it all to happen right now.
Look at the big picture. Give yourself credit for what you HAVE done. And then, keep working towards your goals, bit by bit.
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