I’ve been paying attention to my mind a lot lately. I’m not referring to being in my head either. I’ve been wrestling that monster for years. What I mean is that I’ve been listening to the things that my brain says, and I’ve been asking questions and demanding answers.
For you to understand what the heck I’m talking about, I’ll give you an example from as recently as this morning.
So, I’ve been telling myself that this summer I’m going to work hard on my dreams and goals, harder than I’ve ever worked before. Yesterday was the last day of school for teachers, so today was go time. I had plans to go out with some friends last night, and I did. We had a great time, and though we planned to only stay out a short time, we met some cool people and had great conversations, lots of laughs. So, a short time turned into me at 3am drinking tequila.
This morning I woke up to a notification sound on my phone, which I realized I had left in the living room. I heard the birds chirping and it was bright outside, so I had a faint feeling of dread that I had slept in way past my intended 6:15am goal. Turns out I did sleep in, though not by a ridiculous amount. It was 7:30am.
So, I say to myself, Wow, Lyz, you set these goals and already on day one you’re slipping up? Shame on you.
But then my brain did a funny thing. It made me feel better. It said, Well, technically, your summer hasn’t started yet because this is a weekend. Monday will be the official start date. You haven’t failed.
So wait. My brain is telling me to relax and not care about my dreams and goals until Monday. It’s telling me that the things I want to accomplish don’t really matter today. They are only a side note today. Isn’t my brain supposed to be on my side? Maybe it’s trying to be on my side like a too lenient parent who’s trying to build a happy relationship with her child. If I make her feel good, she’ll like me more, and then I can have a more positive influence because she’ll want me around.
Brain: It sucks to fail at a goal on the very first day. Maybe if I tell her that she didn’t fail then she’ll feel good and we won’t have to deal with any negative hormones that might be preparing to course through our body. Let’s stop it in its tracks. Tell her that she didn’t fail.
The thing is, my brain is wrong. My brain is being a pushover. I needed to accept the failure and get back on track. I needed to take the punch that I had given myself and keep moving forward. And that’s exactly what I did.
I got dressed right away and went on my bike ride exactly as I had planned to do. It looked like it might rain, but I went anyway. Guess what? The rain never came. It still hasn’t come. And you know what else? A few days ago, I was riding my bike, listening to music and about 3 blocks from home rain came down and soaked me.
I had my phone in my fanny pack so it was safe from damage, which was the most important thing! But you want to know something? Riding my bike through the streets of my neighborhood while rain poured down on me was one of the best experiences of my life. I could not take the smile off of my face. I tilted my head up and let the droplets hit my tongue. I took my feet off of the pedals and stretched out my legs as I rode through the puddles that were forming. If you’ve been in south Florida this past week, you’ll know that the rains have been downpours. It felt amazing. I want it to happen again. I remember thinking, This is what happiness is. I am at the height of happiness right now.
My goals matter every day. And when I got up and pursued them, I got an even better result than I had pictured in my mind. The worse thing that could happen was rain, and I had already learned that rain was a blessing. Period.
So I went on the bike ride. I pushed myself until my legs were on fire and I was moving slowly because of it. When I got to the house, I stood outside for a minute and I asked myself, Can I do more? I really listened. Before my brain could give me the answer I wanted to hear, which was no, it slipped out a yes. Yes, I could do more. And because I told myself that I’m going to work harder, I went into action before my brain did that thing again. You know that thing. There isn’t much time in the day. You already got a late start. There are other important things that you can be doing. You’ve already gotten a pretty good workout. You don’t need more. I went straight into my lunges before my brain could fabricate more nonsense. I put on a motivational video from YouTube and I kept pushing until I asked myself if I was satisfied, and I heard a genuine yes.
My reward was a nice long shower with a body scrub and my favorite body wash.
Afterwards, I looked around the kitchen for what I might eat and there seemed, as is often the case, to be nothing. I started preparing to go out and buy something, but I stopped. My goal is to spend less. My goal is to use what I already have instead of letting dollars add up to hundreds of dollars. My goal is to stop wasting. So I made myself some coffee and a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread. It’s not scrambled eggs and sausage and a waffle, but it’s healthy and got the job done. Time and money saved.
And now, because I am using some of my extra time to post more and share more, I am sitting on my couch typing this. The day didn’t start off with the vision I had for it. But in some ways, it turned out better. Better because I faced my first challenge and I overcame it. I showed myself that I’m strong enough to not be defeated my mistakes or the unexpected. I don’t regret going out last night one bit. I hadn’t seen my friend in ages and my goal is to be better at watering my friendships. It won’t be every night, but last night we had a great time. This morning I regrouped.
Let’s not let our disappointments about ourselves keep us stuck in a place that we don’t want to be. Let’s let our disappointments be opportunities to prove to ourselves that we can overcome.
Do you have any goals that you’d like to share? What are you working towards, and have you had any setbacks yet? Are you the setback that you’re fighting? I often am. I’d love to talk about this, so please comment. Talk to you soon!