We set out early this morning. It wasn’t so early that it was still completely dark, but early enough that the world had not woken from its sleep. My wife had to head back to the house shortly after we departed and I was left to trudge through the morning alone as the trash truck crept through the neighborhood as quickly and quietly as possible. The world somehow seems more familiar during these quiet hours while I’m out on my walk; like a brief, living snapshot of a simpler, more trustworthy, time. It isn’t until the neighborhood starts to wake up that the modern realities of human behavior steal away the simple joys that I am mentally revisiting during my walk.
The sound of the birds has become so regular that I’m taking it for granted now and the playfulness of morning critters has become an overlooked comedy that I only absent-mindedly watch. I think this is why we call it routine. My morning walk has become a chore. A daily activity that I must check off in order to feel accomplished… complete. Chores aren’t exactly enjoyable, are they? I found myself lost in my thoughts this morning and, based on the complexity of the last few days, my thoughts weren’t exactly positive.
Unfortunately, real life doesn’t cease to exist when we engage in a total life transformation. Work, schedules, bills, relational difficulties, assholes on the road, etc., are only the beginning of the routine that has come to make up modern, American life. It is SO easy to get discouraged and lost inside your thoughts as you embark each day only to find that most days you feel more like a bug than a windshield. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak… haven’t these become so typical in our lives that we don’t even treat them like major life issues anymore?
Given these circumstances, I find that I regularly battle discouragement with this entire life makeover. Honestly, I have shut off some of my coping skills and have yet to find enough replacement coping skills to help me regulate everyday life without feeling tempted to return to old patterns. Well, today was no different. As I walked, I became discouraged about the endeavors that I have been making. Somewhere along the past few months, I internally started to feel silly about my blogging efforts. These thoughts came to life as my internal dialogue took on a relatively negative tone.
Who do you think you are? Do you really believe you have anything important to say? Why would you expect to grow when you know the man in the mirror and you know he’s not a person worth a whole heck of a lot? I mean, you have immediate family that doesn’t know you are blogging and other family members that wouldn’t know your web address! If you can’t even get the support of those closest to you, why would any complete strangers care at all about the fact that some random loser in Missouri is losing a few pounds?
I caught on to the conversation and utilized a few skills I still have to interrupt it! Stop it! Get out of your head! This is for you… nobody else! These weren’t just positive statements to myself. These are truths about my mindset that I was using to try and keep myself on track! So, I tried my best to shut off my brain, focus on my breathing, and concentrate on my pace. Man, I wish I had a pacesetter so I knew I haven’t slowed down. Stop it! You don’t have to find a way to turn every single internal conversation into a negative criticism of yourself!
Anyone know what I’m talking about? Those times when we are beating ourselves silly and we don’t really know why and we can’t seem to make it stop? I have those times more than I care to admit. Honestly, I think all healthy adults do. We are our own worst enemies. With continued resolve, I worked through my morning walk and tried my best to keep the inner voices at bay with positive self-talk and placing my focus on the things in the moment that I could control.
It’s freezing out here! You have closed three miles, let’s have an easy day and go eat some breakfast! I rounded the corner for the last section of my walk… encouraged somewhat by the end of my morning journey. Let’s pick up the pace for the home stretch! Count your steps… “Good morning,” I hear. I look up to see an older gentleman waving at me as he retrieved his trash can. “Good morning,” I reply. He turns to head back into his opened garage but then stops, turns around and says, “As hard as it is, you’re really gonna make it. We’re rooting for you. You’re never gonna believe it, but we root for you every time you walk by!” Stunned, I think I said, “Thank you,” but I can’t be sure.
Instantaneously, I was transported from an internal boxing ring and back into the shoes of a man that has been working his hardest to accomplish his goals and take his life back from obesity. Despite the fact that he had no idea, the man’s willingness to turn around and say that which he had been tempted to leave unsaid thrust me out of my discouragement and into reality. I am doing it! I have every reason to be proud! I do have a message to share! I am not worthless!
Encouraged, I finished my walk and, thankfully, I was able to hold back the tears of joy as I realized there are good people left in the world and that what I am doing matters for more than just me. I need to write down WHY I am doing the weight loss and WHY I am blogging my journey. Then, I need to post these where I can see them every morning. Life has a terrible habit of clouding our feelings and thoughts which makes it easy to lose track of why we are pursuing difficult goals. Thankfully, today, I got a wonderful reminder from a kind soul that there are still good people in the world that CARE about others, but I won’t always have that and neither will you.
Having easy access to the THINGS YOU KNOW and YOUR WHY is imperative for surviving those moments when you are tempted to cave because it all seems so pointless. If you are doing this journey, I would encourage you to identify your WHY and WRITE IT DOWN. This has to be more than just to lose weight or you’ll quit the first time the scale betrays you. This has to be FOR YOU because you don’t get to decide if others will care or how much they will care throughout the entirety of your journey. PUT IT IN PLAIN SIGHT so that you regularly force yourself to read YOUR TRUTHS and keep on track with YOUR GOALS.
For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…
- To avoid an even more unhealthy relationship with the scale, I will only be doing weigh in information during my weekend blog post. Thanks for understanding 🙂
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