I came down with a cold on December 17th. It is now January 26th and I am not dealing with it so well. I come back to this lesson in my life over and over again and I definitely encounter it as a coach. Maybe this is why I love coaching; it helps me deal with my own self as well. I was doing great but then I got sick, or my in-laws were visiting for two weeks and I fell off the wagon. Meanwhile, 2 weeks go by and we are still in our self-induced pause. It’s easy for me to point this out to someone else and start talking about owning your actions and reactions.
The truth is that we all have a full life full of its own challenges. But another thing we all have is choice. There won’t be an easy time, or a perfect time; and if there is, it won’t last. I’m sorry, but it never does. Other people may look like they have it easier, but chances are things are not what they seem.
Right now in this moment, I need to remind myself of this and re-learn this lesson.
I am a planner, I have a high set of standards for myself and I love to pursue my goals full on. It feels good when things are dialled in, my diet is on point, my training is going well, my body feels good and my mind is sharp. All in, full speed ahead! In fact it can feel a little bit virtuous. And that can become addictive, and we can start thinking that the only way to succeed is by being perfect all the time.
I know you have heard me say this before, but it bears saying again and again. If you want to succeed you need to find a way to be consistent. Not perfect.
My life gets in the way too. I have to adjust my dial. I don’t always have my shit together. And when things don’t go my way I don’t always deal with it well either. Maybe you can’t go all-in right now, but you can turn the dial down, shift your expectations of perfection and focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t do.
I have been battling with this sickness on and off since mid-December now. It’s almost comical; I get better and then it comes back, I think it’s over and then I’m off to bed with the chills and a fever again. It is tempting to start feeling sorry for myself and trust me, I did and I still do. It has taken a toll on my body, my nutrition and fitness, and with the Open just four weeks away it definitively wasn’t part of my plan. But it is my reality right now, and feeling sorry for myself or resisting reality does not make it any less real. I feel betrayed by my body, which feels softer and more out of shape as they days go on. But this is just me being dramatic. This is me not adjusting my expectations and focusing on where I am today and what I can do.
You may not have a nagging cold, which I realize in the grand scheme of things is really nothing to whine about. Maybe your mother-in-law is not well and living with you for the winter, or maybe you are dealing with a ton of stress at work or are moving next month. Like I said, life happens to all of us. At times we have to turn down our dial and focus on what we can do right now. I may not have time right now to do my perfect meal prep and portion and label everything for the week ahead. Make my own salad dressing or my own organic hummus. But guess what, I still have to eat. Maybe I’ll just buy a rotisserie chicken, a bag of coleslaw and bottle dressing and divide the whole thing into my weekly lunch! Throw it in a wrap, put it on top of rice. It may not be glamorous, it may actually get boring to eat the same meal, but it will keep me on track and be good enough, and good enough is better than nothing at all.
We get so bogged down by the rules we set for ourselves and our need to be perfect that if it is not gluten free, grain free, raised on a happy farm and absolutely perfect we give up and hit the drive-thru A&W. Sound familiar? You know it does. I hear it all the time. Health does not happen through perfection but through consistency. Maybe I prefer to cook my own food and eat fresh; those are the standards I set for myself. But I also know that there is nothing wrong with picking up a rotisserie chicken or grabbing a spinach and egg white wrap from Starbucks while on the go. More sodium, not as fresh, but it does the trick and keeps me on track. Life goes on.
Same goes for my training. Ideally I get 5 full sessions a week, plus 2 gymnastics-focused sessions and active recovery. I sleep 8+ hours a day. I get a massage every month. I see my chiropractor. Get my steps in to keep my body loose and happy. And I feel great, virtuous and on top of the world. And sometimes that happens, but most often it doesn’t go perfect. Scott is out of town, I am stuck in traffic two days in row, I am behind on emails and coaching and need to skip a session. Life gets in the way and I have to remind myself that I still have a choice. I have a choice in my actions and reactions and while it cannot always be perfect, it is consistency, not perfection, that got me to where I am today.
We can’t truly run away from our goals, every action we take will move us somewhere, whether that’s forwards or backwards. Even doing nothing is a choice. We always have a choice, so why not make it a better one?
For me right now, accepting where I am and taking it one day at a time is all I can do. And I can’t go balls out in the gym on Monday and overexert myself trying to make up for lost time, because guess what, this will send me right back to bed. The Open will still happen and I will do what I can when the time comes. The timing is terrible, but if I don’t allow it to stress me out, it doesn’t have to.
What better choice can you make today?
“Life is a series of choices and all we can do is make them.”
Kamal Ravikant, Live your truth.