The stringing of lights and constant posts about deals, events, and countdowns has me feeling a little … anxious. I’m not gonna lie. My days are filled with being a wife and mom to 4 kiddos, running our gym, and trying to keep my priorities straight (for me, that’s faith, family-friends, business/fitness – health is attached to all of those :)). I’m happy just to get some socks matched in a day, let alone trying to make sure I’m not forgetting any other activities or add-ons – alas, we’re not spending our evenings in the warm glow of Christmas (where ARE the Christmas lights anyway?!). So don’t judge me if the lights stay up through January – after all, when you hang them right before Christmas, you have to make all the work worth it somehow!
So when I sense anxiety creeping in, and I reflect upon this sense of urgency, I have to ask myself, “Is the holiday season really the ‘culprit’?” To be honest, I often find myself in this whirlwind way of thinking, and it has nothing to do with a time of year. The most powerful thing I’ve learned to do, whether it’s in the realm of parenting, fitness, business, nutrition, whatever it is, is to take advantage of the power of now. Not tomorrow – certainly not two years ago, just now.
The power of now … sounds a wee bit trite, and a little cheesy, right? Let’s break it down a little. We only have what’s right in our hands, right now, correct? Do I actually “have” tomorrow? I’m not sure. I’d like to think I do. But there’s not much I can actually do tomorrow – until tomorrow is now. I can make a plan, make an appointment – but let’s be real, that appointment or plan start date may come, and then I may decide, “Nah, maybe I’ll do it tomorrow.” So really, now would appear to be a powerful little 3-letter word, correct?
Here are a few things I’d like to identify that will rob you of your now (and this is coming from someone who has lived very much a victim of my own feelings and habits). Quick fact about me: I am a huge Brené Brown fan and will tell anyone I know to read/listen to her. I will quote her and quote her frequently.
- Shame. So you’re 48, never lost the ‘baby weight’, and have never really gotten a handle on how to eat well. Okay. I can understand that. In fact, most people around you probably can. You have my empathy. Now, it’s good to understand why you got to that place – we all know it doesn’t happen overnight, right? Rather, it’s a series of now choices – I’m going to eat this now or cancel my training session now or try to work off that chocolate cake now – and the failure to take different action. But we don’t have to make temporary choice wallowing and contemplating our permanent address. Talk about it. Shame loves to hide in the dark! But talk about it with the intent to move forward. Brown says of shame, “[It] needs three things to grow exponentially in our lives: secrecy, silence, and judgment.” Make a standing coffee date with a good friend (I love coffee, *hint-hint) – the kind who’ll call you on your BS and love you through it – get counseling if you need to, but take care of this one self you have! Take that power away from shame – tell someone about it, name it, and surround yourself with people who don’t name you by your flaws – and get your now back — NOW!
- Perfectionism. Another Brené topic (I like to call her by her first name because, in my imaginary world, we’re totes besties). “When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun and fear is that annoying backseat driver!” Can anyone relate??! I know I can. But I know that I want to call the shots in my life. I smoked, for a long time, and do you know why I finally quit? Because I was tired of feeling under the control of something else. I weighed 250# at one point in my life – do you know why I chose to make different daily decisions? I was tired of my weight and bad decisions controlling my life. But the funny thing is, if I try to identify why I even began smoking and why I got to be that heavy, perfectionism is a large part of what drove me. This may leave you scratching your head. “Um … she obviously wasn’t eating perfectly if she was that overweight.” Exactly. Perfectionism is a terrible boss. It leads to doing everything in the dark, in shame. Eating in shame. Smoking because it made me feel temporarily calm and able to hide from those shame gremlins. And perfectionism not only feeds shame, it also leads to what our business and life mentors like to call “paralysis by analysis” – that feeling of not being able to even move until you have the perfect method of movement, the perfect final destination in mind, the perfect path planned. Shame is a liar, and perfectionism is a thief. Call them by what they are.When we coach our athletes in the gym, we are striving for their best movement possible. This isn’t perfect movement, though many Instagram “coaches” would like to tell you that’s irresponsible. Some movement patterns may never be part of certain athletes’ lives (overhead squats, pull-ups), but we’re all gonna “box squat” to sit down and get out of a chair, do some form of hip hinge (I hope) to pick up heavy objects, and so on. So we strive for better, safer, and more powerful each day – not perfect. Perfect isn’t a real destination; it’s a distraction from what we can do with excellence, today.
- Inaction. The first two obviously feed into this one, but it deserves its own number. (It actually deserves a punch in the face, but we’ll stick with a number for now.) The aforementioned “paralysis by analysis” is a copout. I’m just calling it what it is; I have to do this in my own life daily. It’s a way of avoiding greatness. Why? Are you afraid to fail? Are you afraid of someone asking that question I’ve hidden from most of my life: “Who do you think you are?” Worse, what if they THINK that question and don’t ask it?!
This is a good time to quote Teddy Roosevelt; but read this popular quote this time through the lens of someone who’s going to commit to being in control of their now, unwilling to live a life held at gunpoint by shame, perfectionism, and the inevitable lack of action:“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I know you because I know and love people. I know we are created for greatness. YOU are created for greatness. Whether that’s in our gym or somewhere else, I just want to know that you’re making a commitment – not based off of the false seasonal urgency of getting things done, just right, just in time – but based off of the seconds, minutes, and hours of exceptional life that you deserve and may be missing out on. Don’t let my “Big 3” above rob you of another day. Choose one small action step, someone to keep you accountable, and do something. See my thoughts on action in Making a Plan to Make a Habit.
You will fail, and that’s okay. It’s actually kind of great. I, or any of our coaches, would love to hear your story and see you live Your Best Life. Regardless, share it with someone. They need to know your “before” testimony so they can be inspired by your new NOW – and you can be the catalyst for greatness all around you!