Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I read that somewhere, recently, in some unlikely place and it has stuck with me. I constantly catch myself having expectations, and, of course, often they are not met, either by me or by someone else. This often leads to resentments, which are expensive emotional cargo. I have let go of some old resentments recently, which is very liberating. I don't need to add new ones in their place. I was working out this morning and it occurred to me that I need to shed my expectations about exercising and eating properly, as well. I have long said I exercise for strength because, if I exercised for appearance, I would have given up long ago. Goals are a form of expectation, which is why I focus more on commitment than goals. For example, I am committed to exercising nearly every day of my life which means I feel good about honoring that commitment to myself each time I go for a walk or run or hike or to they gym. If my goal was "exercise 5 days per week to shed x amount of pounds and x amount of inches", I would be disappointed. The results are, in a way, none of my business. The action is very much my business and my responsibility. Bodies are designed to move, generally speaking. As long as I can move, I will move. I read another bit of advice, from an unlikely source. An actor who had gotten in shape for a movie, talked about the process of getting fitter and stronger. He said "you basically just have to kick your own @$$ every day, for an hour". I like the simplicity of that advice. Of course, that will look different to different people. For one person, that might mean getting up off the couch and walking around the block and getting chores done. For another person, that might mean running hills. For me, it is doing more than I feel like, pushing harder than I initially want to, doing more than I think I can - working up a sweat and getting my heart pumping - in the gym, on the trail, wherever. Nobody ever got stronger by being comfortable, whether that be spiritually, mentally, or physically. So, my job is to keep expectations in check. Don't get me wrong, I still have standards and I expect myself, and others, to honor commitments but I don't do myself or anyone else any favors by piling up expectations left and right. It is hard to step back and let life unfold when one's instinct is to try and control and direct. It is a lesson I learn over and over and over again.