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Go and Get the Life You Want

Thursday, July 04, 2013


FROM: Mark's Daily Apple
Why You Should Let Yourself Succeed and Go Get the Life You Want

How many of us get in our own way when it comes to leading the best life possible? The forms of self-obstruction are many and varied: We might only be dutiful about small changes, never taking the important big steps. Or we might hem and haw, cycling back and forth between rigor and passivity. We perhaps commit to improvements in certain health dimensions but forgo effort in others. We feel good about our positive choices but back away from scrutinizing the half measures. “I’m just too busy to do more than I’m already doing.” “I’ve made it further than I ever thought I could: I’ll quite while I’m ahead.” “I’m doing better than most people I know.” “This amount of change is manageable. I don’t want to push the envelope.” We tell ourselves a million things on the precipice looking out from good to great. There might be a hundred circumstances legitimately figuring into our decision to stay where we’re at in the “good enough,” but we need to be honest. Is there something in the view itself – the overlook to bigger success – that causes us to seize back consciously or unconsciously?

Maybe we fear ultimate success because we don’t like change, because we don’t think we deserve a truly great life, because we can’t imagine ourselves being “that” person – the person who has it together, the person who is really fit and optimally healthy. “Optimum” anything, we tell ourselves is too extravagant. It’s for the lucky few or maybe just better-adjusted many. We might even tell ourselves we don’t “need” optimum, that we’d be just as satisfied with good. No. Trust me – you won’t be just as satisfied.

Sit back and play a game for a minute. Imagine yourself in that “optimal” existence (e.g. of health, of vitality, of self-fulfillment). Imagine all the amazing things you could want but think are too lavish for you somehow. Imagine living that very life. Are you getting uncomfortable yet?

Sometimes we keep deeper success at arm’s length because we’re afraid of what we’ll be called on to challenge or give up about ourselves. More than weight or weakness, sometimes our self-concept is the hardest thing to shed.

In some dark, hidden corner of ourselves, we stop short of believing we can have it really good – that we should have it really good – that we deserve to have it really good. The corner stubbornly refuses to be filled or changed or otherwise improved, choosing to retain some portion of deprivation. Obscured, perhaps long-entrenched messages limit our thinking in this way. We’re conditioned to not ask for too much from our lives. We were taught to not aim too high or expect too much. Think of how this might play out for you and in what areas of your life – relationship, vocation, social life, creative life, body image, fitness, etc.

Maybe we survived parts of our lives by learning not to expect much. Our circumstances in those situations were the inputs in our personal adaptation. However helpful these patterns were in the past, at some point we need to understand that they do nothing but hinder us in the present. This is not the script we have to go through life with. If it doesn’t serve you any more, stop repeating it. Understand what you need to about what went into it (i.e. why the messages are what they are). Accept being uncomfortable and lean into the self-defeating parts until you’ve managed to diffuse their influence. Then let it all go.

More importantly, fill your life now with different messages that will come together in a new script. Sure, it will take a certain amount of retraining. However, with time you’ll be able to rewire your thoughts and shift default tracks. Next time you begin to make a choice that isn’t in your best interest, remember it doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply tell yourself, “I could do it differently. I may be doing this just because it’s comfortable/easy – or not doing that because it would require a personal change in identity (i.e. I’m now the person who says no to bread. I’m now the person who prioritizes my sleep and doesn’t stay out until all hours. I’m now the person who makes the effort to get to the gym instead of happy hour.) Other times, we find we don’t think big enough in envisioning our goals.

This isn’t about perfection, mind you, but it is about letting yourself succeed. It’s about giving yourself a shot at expanding your expectations. It’s about saying no to sub-consciously self-sabotaging and yes to what is possible but perhaps entirely obscured by your own assumptions about what is attainable and what you deserve. It’s about doing exactly what you probably don’t want to do – push the envelope.

Let me tell you this right now in no uncertain terms: you get to have optimal health when you’re ready to own it (and, yes, work for it). You get to have vitality when you feel you deserve it. You get to have deep and genuine well-being in as many areas of your life as you’re willing to let it take root. Sure, your journey and version of success will be unique. The fullness of life isn’t any more generic than life itself. The experience of it – the nuances and gratification – will undoubtedly surprise you.

How are you your own impediment?
What would you add to the idea of letting yourself succeed?

I share this today because Mark's piece (above) very tidily sums up what I've been up to the last five years.

My SparkPage proclaims, "My mindset for 2011/2012/2013 is best described as PURPOSEFULLY UNCOMFORTABLE (comfortable/safe is what resulted in excess weight) and CONSTRUCTIVELY CHALLENGED (I need to remain open to *purposeful* change)."

When I first articulated that thought three years ago, I was thinking more specifically in terms of my attitudes to exercise, diet, my weight and my physical health. What I've come to realize is that no longer are there any 'sacred cows' in my life.

Everything is 'questionable'... everything is suspect when things don't seem to be working... everything is subject to scrutiny.... which is quite funny when I think about it because I was the queen of holding onto things... hurts, fears, WEIGHT, insecurities, memories, ideals... and until I started to examine the perceptions I held about my own life, I didn't even remotely understand how I was getting in my own way. All of the important work on this journey has been done between my ears, and in my heart, and has blown through the very depths of my soul... like a holy wind.

I suppose it is all so vivid in my mind right now because I've had several instances these past two weeks in which to recognize just how far I've come... how much better are the relationships I allow in my life (and how less than stellar relationships cease to wreak havoc), how quickly I now rise to challenges (and only to those I recognise as mine to own), how seamlessly I can incorporate PURPOSEFUL change... and how much less stressful are the dynamics in all instances.

I appear to finally be living the AUTHENTICITY I continually harped about my first two years at SparkPeople. At the time I wasn't even really sure what authenticity would look like in my life, but I knew I wanted it... like the Velveteen Rabbit, I longed to be real and ALIVE in my life. I was so TIRED of trying to meet expectations imposed upon me, of being who/what everyone else (seemingly) needed me to be, of living a life that had to an extent 'sucked me in' rather than living abundantly a life I chose for myself.

I began my journey toward authenticity by paying more attention to the little voice crying out within my heart (even our desires come from God... presumably based on who we are individually created to be... I somehow doubt a duck ever desires to roar, and if I long to roar, there must be a 'lion' lurking within me somewhere... because God never gives us the desire without also giving us the means to achieve it).

I spent significant time contemplating my dreams and desires... those thoughts and feelings which I previously never allowed the time of day because they were beyond my life as I knew it. I allowed my dreams and desires to teach me who I am created to be. Through them I discovered in myself qualities that I had never before recognised as strengths because I was too busy discounting them in favour of things I was 'supposed' to value.

I then considered that perhaps the things at which I wasn't succeeding weren't mine to do, or perhaps I was attempting to do them in ways which didn't respect the marvelous creation I am.

Have you ever thought of that?

Through this journey I have come to believe that my 'failures' are simply a wise and loving creator's way of channelling my 'busyness' in the direction of greater success... toward my birthright, my legacy, my inheritance. I've learned to value my limitations as important and empowering signposts. For a long, long time I was my own impediment by not recognising my limitations. Once I began to respect my limitations for the grace they brought to my life, I was able to recognise my true strengths. Once I stopped doing what wasn't mine to do, I found all sorts of energy and ability to do that to which I was called... the very things that now have me baby stepping into my dreams and desires.

Even though I have a long way to go, I now feel SUCCESSFUL.

I wake up every day with a sense of delight, and I go to sleep each night with a sense of accomplishment.

Rules such as these are well and good....

4 Rules High Achievers Never Break

1. Enjoy the journey as much or more than the destination.
2. Set goals that are reasonable and doable.
3. Have great coping mechanisms.
4. Know when to quit (first time I've ever seen this on a list for ACHIEVERS).

...but only if they respect your individual capacity to apply them AUTHENTICALLY to your own journey. What works for anyone else, just may not work for you. THAT'S NOT YOUR FAILING... it's your individuality crying out be recognised.

I've done A LOT of things that go against conventional wisdom, and which don't exactly fit neatly within the context of SparkPeople philosophies... but they work for me. I admire Chris Downey, and many of the experts here, beyond words. Yet, I feel this is where they fail a great number of people... the Spark party line is, if do xyz, you will successfully lose weight and get healthy... yet xyz are so narrowly defined that a high percentage of people are falling through the SparkCracks. I think SparkPeople needs to acknowledge that there are no 'sacred cows'... or if there are any, they are individually defined.

Please consider that:

You're not lazy... you march to a slower/different beat.
You're not disorganised... you have a unique way of ordering your world... how can you make it work for you?
You're not failing... you are learning your limitations, and recognising your strengths.
You're not out of step, or falling behind... you have not yet found your own authentic path.
You're not undisciplined (ALL behaviour is purposeful)... you are trying to meet your needs as best you can... ask yourself instead, "how can I more effectively meet my needs?"

Whatever harsh judgement you heap upon yourself, consider instead what STRENGTH your 'failure' might be hiding.

It all comes down to belief... in your goodness, in your worth, in your ability to impact upon your world.

Have you given any thought to what it would mean to be truly 'free'... what it means to be an 'heir' to all creation?

...Maybe it's time you did.

(larger image)

Dear SPARKlings, may today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May you find peace within and all around you. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith and desire... a desire which even itself issues from God. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May you answer your call and use those gifts that you have received to pass on the love that has been given to you. May the presence of God settle into your bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love beyond your wildest imagination. May you be overwhelmed by the grace of God as it simply "overtakes" you moment by moment... rather than being overwhelmed by the cares of life!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

...Because YOU deserve the life you DESIRE!



UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)! Next pictures SEPTEMBER 2013!

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror... and I update whenever I feel the need - likely early September, 2013... to either see for myself what feel like significant changes, or to encourage myself to keep the faith when I feel no change at all despite my efforts)

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED/rewritten: JUNE, 2012)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

DONE Girl Love...

(the footsteps into which I place my own feet)

Leaving NORMAL... In Pursuit of Happiness

Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga


Words CAN Be Enough... page 3

Paleo... Do you really know what you're talking about?

Comparison Chart: Primal/Paleo/Ancestral, etc.

Breakfast is Served! (RECIPES)

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