Maybe you’re in the process of acting out a New Years’ Resolution and are trying like hell to keep that steam built up, but slowing down a little.
And maybe the loss of energy has everything to do with not exactly seeing the results… and dammit you’ve been working hard for two and a half weeks and that kind of work deserves a little gratification, right?
(actually no, it’s not exactly me, I don’t do New Years’ Resolutions, but I do notice that I’ll go hard on a change and then lose interest after time when the outward changes I’m hoping for aren’t hurrying the heck up.)
And that kinda looks like this:
“Body, I have been working you hard for a long time now. The least you could do is get it together and lose some weight already. We’ve been on calorie restriction for almost a year and you’re still hanging onto that 15 pounds that no one loves. Right there on your belly. It’s gross. You’re never going to reach the goal of meeting your abs. I might as well just eat whatever I want because this is pointless.”
And, that ^^^ my friends, is exactly what I would refer to as Self Effacement.
Effacement: the process of eliminating or breaking down something.
Now, since you and I are probably a lot alike, you probably already know that talking to yourself like that really isn’t acceptable behavior. We wouldn’t allow a lover or friend talk to us like that, and we certainly wouldn’t let someone talk to our kids like that… But for some reason we still catch ourselves frowning in the mirror, pinching fat and saying, “still not lost.”
And our body is listening.
Much like other humans, we don’t actually respond that well to degradation or belittlement. I know that’s shocking. But just because the voice is coming from inside your head does not mean that you’re not internalizing that stuff and thinking, “Lost? What’s lost? I better find it!” and “I truly suck and there’s no point in continuing this journey.”
Except the thing about any goal is that the journey is sometimes a struggle! It’s sometimes a challenge. If it wasn’t, we’d all walk around as supermodels with PhD’s.
LP has been challenging me lately on the language I use with my body. That and the simple practice of doing the work – with the long term goals of being a spry old lady who runs circles around the younger generations – is starting to bring me back to a slightly kinder way of speaking to myself.
So, ONE: I’m not trying to lose anything. I am taking care of this body and exercise is actually as important as eating my vegetables. See how there’s a difference in “sweating it out, trying to burn it all off” and “my heart is getting stronger and I can sweat like a teenager again!”?
TWO: I’m going through the practice of blessing every one of my body parts before I get into the shower to soap the stink off. 😉
This looks like: “Look at my beautiful face, and my skin is getting younger! That neck that holds my head up high is perfect. My round strong shoulders carry so much of my world – and look at the gorgeous curve of my back. Those arms are long and slender and strong… and my hands! They help me create so much. And look at these breasts – they’re perfect! I bless my rib cage that protects my heart and lungs, and my belly, which stores my organs and does a wonderful job keeping everything protected. I love my butt and how strong it’s getting, my hips have just the right curve, and look at those fierce thighs – I could probably break someone’s neck with those ladies! And the knees and oh, look at those strong calves! And feet. They get me everywhere I could want to go. And last, I bless the ring of fat on my belly, because it regularly surprises me with how much it changes as I become healthier. I love to be surprised and awed!”
Then I get in the shower.
THREE: I’ve changed the why of doing the work. Although I was saying, “I’m doing this so I can meet my abs someday,” I’ve found that having a much longer-sighted goal is what keeps me to my practice. It’s not necessarily about changing the shape of my body, though that’s a fantastic side effect… it’s about having balance and blood flow, about strong bones and a clear mind, and frankly it’s about feeling good about myself because I can now say that I am the type of person who exercises every day, as well as someone who eats well, journals, takes her vitamins, drinks enough water, uses a planner, and loves her body every single day.
And, with all of those things, I’ve found confidence in my ability to do what I never thought I could.
Self Efficacy: the belief that I am capable of doing what it takes to meet the goals that I am aiming for.
There’s a simple magic that comes from doing what it is you say that you’re going to do. And I know that it’s sometimes a little daunting to commit to doing a thing because it feels bad when you miss a day. Since we’re getting to that stretch of the year where our commitments are thrown out the window because “I really can’t do this thing every day,” and “my body isn’t changing so why bother,” I figure it’s a good time to remind us that a habit can be anything you do for a stretch of time – and if you miss one day? No big deal. Just don’t miss more than two days in a row.
And if you’re already in that spot where you’ve missed two days, I challenge you to pick it up again. Whether it’s a fitness goal, a dietary goal, a practice of meditation or journaling or writing out a grocery list, I challenge you to pick it right back up again and keep moving.
And if you’re in the throes of saying mean things to yourself, I beg you to reframe those words into something that treats your inner child like she’s worthy.
Reframe your goals to make long term changes rather than trying for immediate effects. You already know that you want to do what’s best and what’s healthiest, and sometimes we knock ourselves off track when we think we should have seen results by now. Often the best challenges are ones that keep you showing up day after day until who you believe you are completely changes.
A lot of times we think, “oh, I can’t do that, that’s not who I am,” (example: I am not a runner. I don’t run. Yet somehow I ran for 10 minutes this morning?! What?) and as it turns out, who we are is what we do. Not necessarily what we think we can do. Self improvement is a practice that teaches us how much we are capable of. Doing the thing is what shows us that we really are capable of quite a lot more than we can really imagine.
Self Efficacy is the belief in your ability to figure it out – even if you have no idea how you’re going to make it happen. And doing the doing is what teaches you that you’re capable of doing a LOT more than you thought. Don’t give up now, you’re in the process of discovering what you’re actually capable of. And I’ve heard it on good authority that YOU are much more able than you ever imagined.
If you needed to hear that, please comment below – what are you working toward? Are you getting back on the bandwagon, or do you have a streak of days going? Also, consider liking my Facebook Page and subscribing to this blog so you receive updates when I publish the next blog post (top right corner of this blog).