By John T. Jurkiewicz (JOHNTJ1)
I found SparkPeople quite by accident. I noticed a small ad tucked on the side of the web page I was viewing. The word "free" was what initially caught my attention. Being lazy by nature, I was glad to see there was a way for me to track my food and exercise without using a notebook, a ruler, a pencil and a calculator. Little did I know I was getting so much more than a simple tracking device.
This lifestyle change you and I are involved is not easy. Anything of real value never is. Success requires hard work, dedication and sacrifice. It's a lot more than counting calories, fat and carbs. It requires more than a gym membership. It means you're changing you, changing the way you look at food, at your relationship with food and most importantly changing the relationship you have with yourself. It means there are days you look in the mirror and you tell yourself that unless you alter some of your behavior, you are not going to be the success you hope to be. I know, I been there. I am learning, I am moving forward, even on the days that I feel like giving up. There are four things that sustain me.
1. I am who I hang around with
In order to be a success in anything I choose to do I have to choose the right people to associate with. Less than a year ago, I knew little or nothing about running. In May, A Spark Friend's blog, on her journey as a runner, really motivated me. I began the C25K program, ran my first 5K in September of 2010 and will compete in my fourth 5K overall on March 19.
It was all "in my head," as they say. It was a mindset and when I began to associate with people who wanted to be active and healthy, the bar was set. The support was there. Oh yes, there were people who laughed and told me I was crazy to start running at age fifty-six. I ignored them. There were more people in my corner than not and in the end I reached a pretty satisfying goal.
You may not be a runner but I'm quite sure there is something in your life that positively motivates you. Find people who share your enthusiasm. It's like the cell phone commercial that was on television a few years back: You find you will have a whole network of people behind you and supporting you.
2. I am worth the effort.
We live in a world that suggests "magic" and "easy" at every twist and turn. We have come to believe that if we simply buy a potion or pill, subscribe to a web cast and buy a video, health and happiness occurs instantly. It's really hard work and its hard work I don't always enjoy.
An apple gets me to my goal quicker than a slab of cheesecake, but I don't always want the apple. Willpower can help for a bit but unless I really believe I am worth the struggle to walk away from the cheesecake and embrace the apple then there is no value. Trust me I know!!! I've done it a million times. No one but me knows when I inhale a bag of donuts, but in the end what does that say about how I look at myself? I am supposed to be honoring and loving myself and I can't do those things until I believe I am worth the effort and hard work. I have to talk myself out of poor choices at least one hundred times daily. Every decision is an indictment about how I feel about myself. When I make the right choice I am acknowledging I have loads of value.
3. I deserve to be successful.
I remember the first time I overheard someone referring to me as fat. It really hurt and it sent me reeling. I KNEW I was overweight but now the world KNEW!!! Now I was different than everyone else. There was a lot of shame. I'll be honest; it's still my weak spot. I am not the most agile person. I don't run very fast. I constantly compare myself to other people. I usually come up lacking. I know, you don't want to hear that. I don't either most days but when I admit those feelings to myself then I can finally do something about them. I can confront them. I have some Spark friends who don't let me off the hook either. In a very no nonsense way they tell me to get back on track. It's why I hang around with them.
I deserve success just as much as anyone else does. I have to work for it, sacrifice for it and if I hang around with people who believe the same things I do I will reach my goals. We are not called to be perfect; we are called to put forth our best effort every day. It's not always glamorous. Most days it's putting one foot in front of the other and walking the walk. It's good to remind myself that after all the effort and hard work I deserve success.
4. What I believe I am, I indeed am.
A few years ago I ran across an exercise in building self-esteem. It's called Special Me. It challenged me to write one thing about me each day, for thirty days that was special and unique, something that set me apart. The first few days were easy but it got harder for me. I had to dig deep and it was uncomfortable.
Every morning, before I do anything else, I read that list. Not a quick glance but a lasting, sincere view and lo and behold I am becoming that special person who works hard, deserves success and hangs around with most excellent people – Like You.
What sustains you?
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