When to push through_ And when not to

When to suck it up and push through? And when not to?

This, by far, is a huge struggle in many areas of life for me and a lot of other people I know. There are two schools of thought on this:

Suck it up and do it anyways

Whatever task you need to do in order to obtain your goal you must continue to do it regardless of how much you don’t want to do it.
Tasks including:
Waking up at 5am for a 5 mile run even though you slept like crap. Or sitting down to write your book and you are feeling completely uninspired or making a salad when you really want some mac ‘n peas…. :-p

The “suck it up and do it anyways” is a method I’m familiar with. My parents weren’t super strict but they didn’t let me do whatever the hell I wanted all the time either. Expectations included getting your homework done before watching TV or using the computer or my room needs to be clean and chores need to be done before hanging out with friends. These are pretty standard expectations. Even though I didn’t WANT to do my homework or clean my room or do my chores I sucked it up and did it anyways and was later awarded for fun. Delaying gratification has never really been a struggle of mine, as I’ve obviously had a lot of practice with it and almost always ended in a positive way.

When I was training for my ultra marathon I also had to do this… run even though I was tired, run even though it wasn’t convenient, keep going even if I’m walking…. Just suck it up and get it done.

The suck it up and do it anyways method has proven to be successful in obtaining goals that I really want to obtain.

BUT I’ve also had some issues with this method. Sometimes it has caused me to run while injured – that didn’t end well (I still struggle with this but have improved) or sometimes it means that I write something and read it later and it was a piece of shit and felt like a waste of time. Sometimes it takes me so long to do something that I might make more of a mess, make more mistakes, and somehow piss other people off because I’m in a mode and a mood…. Does.not.end.well.

This leads me to the other school of thought:

Honor yourself

Over the past few years I’ve been working on this new way of knowing and being. After getting injured too many times, after getting into too arguments for no reason, after my anxiety and rigidity left me only feeling frustrated, depressed and not reaching my goals in the way I wanted to, I thought… there has to be another way.

Maybe when I truly, honestly, am so exhausted that sleeping in could be a good thing?

Or when my knee is really hurting, yoga could be better?
Or maybe when I’m feeling low on energy, making some food instead of writing would be helpful?

Or maybe, wearing what I feel like wearing, instead of what I think I should be wearing would feel good?

Or maybe it’s stepping away for a few hours or even a few days from something, because my heart isn’t in the right place?

Before I keep going, you might be saying, “But Stacey NO!! I can’t do that. I’ll end up depressed on the couch for weeks getting nothing done if I honor myself. I will eat myself into oblivion and never go to the gym again. I will become a useless piece of shit because I know at the core that is what I will become……”

I hear you

I feel stuck… I want to honor myself, but I don’t trust this way of being… so I think I’ll just go back to the tried and true method of sucking it up… It works… It’s not the best strategy… but I’m all about what works…..

How can I make the “honor yourself” method work for me? It sounds pretty awesome. Doing what I want, when I want… It’s like this perfect lifestyle that I just don’t think is possible……

Here are some things to work on to experiment with this new method.

Fucking trust yourself

That’s right. The reason you aren’t honoring yourself is because you don’t trust yourself. At your core you fear you will become the person that you despise. Which could be a parent, a sibling, a boss, a toxic friend… whoever…. Know YOU ARE NOT THAT PERSON. And you never will be because you have intention not to be…

1. Trust that your feelings flow and they end. Feelings are like waves and can be super intense but they subside. Sometimes storms last longer than we want but eventually the waves will calm, the sun with rise, and a sense of peace will be restored, but you gotta ride out the waves.
So instead of “suck it up buttercup” and do it anyways… what about riding the waves of the storm?
Fuck, that’s even scarier… you damn right it’s scarier!

2. Know you have support to help you through the storm… Use it. You might be reading this and tell me you literally have no support – I believe you so first step might be working on gaining that support and there are specific things to do for that but I’m not going to get into that now. But for the majority – you have the support. Know they are there and call upon it when needed if the storm is pretty stormy… When you feel held, it’s a bit easier to have confidence in and trust yourself.

3. Practice checking in with yourself and developing a greater sense of self-awareness. You might be surprised how many times you actually want to be productive. Sometimes you wanna go to the store and buy food and do some cooking. Sometimes you want to clean the house or a room in the house. Sometimes you wanna get outside and move. Sometimes you wanna sit down and write your heart out. The problem is when we CONSTANTLY push and push and push and hardly ever honor ourselves… we aren’t in practicing with hearing ourselves and we are so exhausted when we DO tune in you hear, “help me” And you’re like “fuck, I’m a lazy piece of shit. I just wanna binge on Netflix or eat bag of chips.” But really your body it so worn down that it can’t fathom anything else. The emotions have not been felt through and they’re hanging out in the background giving you signs to notice them. If we check in more, you might actually be surprised that your body does want to move, your mind does want to create and your heart does want to love.

RECOMMENDATION:

If you want to try something new and have a specific goal in mind I do recommend doing a bit of the push through method at first. If you haven’t done something before, then your body and your mind isn’t familiar with it. So I recommend testing yourself and your limits to create some better awareness. So if you’re writing a book for the first time then develop a practice and stay consistent within reason. Be aware of what you learn about yourself. When your practice is down pat, then start being flexible with yourself and tuning in more.. But the initial push in the beginning might provide you with valuable insight like knowing at what point it really IS healthy to step away and when if you push for 10 minutes you get into a flow… just get to know YOU.

If you have very specific goals and deadlines, then pushing through might be the way to go to reach that… but if so I might also recommend if you’re pushing harder in one area of life to work on more flexibility and intuition in another to balance it out.

There is no right or wrong, but I’m encouraging you to play with this if you’re feeling burned out.

It’s an experiment of knowing yourself and sometimes pushing is necessary, but the more aware you become the more you realize that pushing might not always be necessary and will learn to trust that the natural wave will come and go and you’ll be ready for inspiration again in a day or two and you’re still productive without the annoying side effects.

You might have to change some things in your life like letting go of responsibilities in order to allow this new flexible, tuning in nature… but it’s a journey and we can talk about these next steps another time.

I could go more about this topic, but I think this might be a nice place to stop for now. I’d be happy to know what you think in the comments below.

Gaining direction and organization in the new year

Gaining direction and organization in the New Year

The past few years I’ve been working on becoming the master of my own self.

When I was younger I learned how to draw and color by looking at other things and copying it. I learned how to paint in a class that told me every step. As a small child, paint by numbers was my jam.

No creativity. Just directions.

Directions are great. I’m awesome as following directions. My mother was very good at teaching me this and she is doing it with my 1.5 year old daughter who will pick up my empty bag of chips and spontaneously throw them in the garbage.

This skill allowed me to perform well in high in school, graduate with a lot of scholarships and good grades to have money to go to a private school and become “successful” by obtaining my masters degree and doing well on the job.

Directions Rock.

A few years ago I got into running (again). Training plan, printed it out, did what it said, ran a half marathon. Easy peasy. Overtime the plans stopped working and injuries started. WTF.

“I just want someone to fix this for me.  Just tell me what to do and fix it.”

As I’ve gotten older there have become less and less directions and more gray areas.  My clinical supervisor tells me “well that’s a clinical judgement” or “a clinical call” “based on your assessment” “whatever you think best.”  

Well shit, life started getting a lot harder because, lack of directions. No one was telling me what to do anymore. I was now to be the master on my job as a therapist, the master of my body with running. What else am I expected to do?!

Getting back to where I started, the past few years I’ve been working on becoming more intuitive again, and learning and knowing my body, my mind, my craft… playing, doing, knowing, exploring.  It’s been a wild ride!

In getting away from the “directional based” way of living and becoming more the master of myself, some important things went out the window.

Keeping track of stuff… writing things down, numbers, budgets, organization… in order to change I literally threw it ALL out the window.  

I have been throwing these skills out the window for years as I’ve become a more “in tune” runner and “in tune” clinician but an out of tune bank account, task list and more.

Fuck.

I want to thank Allison Puryear because I was bitching about how I used to be this organized and goal directed person and now I’m not anymore and she asked a question that I can’t remember what it is anymore but along the lines that sometimes when you try to change one behavior another one goes out the window too. Welp, that’s what happened!

In 2017 I’m going to work on finding my direction and getting organized. 

Why am I sharing this with you, you ask?

I’m sharing this with you because the idea of losing something I thought I had when changing something else was relatively new to me and I like to share “new to me” information with anyone who wants to absorb it. It makes complete sense that one change could change something else, but I never thought I would lose something I thought I had.

I also realized that maybe I never really “had” it. I realized that I received direction externally most of my life and it wasn’t until the past year or so that I had less of the external motivation of direction and when I went internally for it, it wasn’t there, because I’ve never worked on it, because I’ve never had to.  So this really interested me as well that I wanted to share. What are things we THOUGHT we were good at or had, but it was really external and not internal?

The great thing about personal growth. You’re never done and there is ALWAYS something to work on. And sometimes it’s really crappy when it’s something you always had, and always identified yourself as having and then wake up to realize that you never really had it all along, it was someone else’s.

Well friends, now it’s time for me to own my direction, get organized and find myself someplace new.

New Year Resolutions toward Self Actualization

New Year Resolutions toward Self-Actualization

It’s that time of year again when many people start to brainstorm and set goals for the New Year. Resolutions can be a healthy practice to work on keeping yourself motivated and gaining accomplishments. There is plenty of advice out there on what goals people should and shouldn’t set and how to do it.

In this post, I’m going to offer you more of a strategy of how I set my goals for the year. I keep a working document of these goals and make changes and adjustments to it throughout the year. It can also serve as a “self-care” plan. This helps keep me focused and balanced as well as moving toward something that I find meaningful…. self-actualization.

Many people are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow is best known for his work on self-actualization and he developed a pyramid to show basic needs and growth needs that are necessary to lead to self-actualization.

What is self-actualization? Self-actualization is basically when someone is functioning at their highest potential. Read what Wiki has to say here.

Now, to be self-actualized would be a pretty big New Year Resolution. So my theory is to break down the needs, continue to grow in each area, and work closer and closer to self-actualization. Maybe I’ll get there before I die, maybe I won’t. I know I will learn a lot in my process and continue to become a better person each year. I’ve actually been doing this since 2010… and am not self-actualized.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

I use the pyramid to organize my goals into different important areas of life to get a well rounded wellness plan for myself.  Below you will find a visual aid of the pyramid followed by me breaking down each section and talking briefly about possible goals for that area.  Remember not to be confined to what I write and be creative.  The idea of this post is to show the structure and get the juices flowing!

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - New Year Resolutions

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – New Year Resolutions

Physiological Needs

Here you find the category that many people set for their New Year resolutions. Diet and Exercise!!!

Physiological needs are at the base of the pyramid because when your health suffers often everything else in your life suffers as well.  So it is important to take good care of your health! Goals here for some people could involve things like getting blood work done, or having a physical. Some people are so quick to sign up for a diet and exercise plan, but what about actually going to the doctor, getting the numbers and setting your goals from there? Remember goals are best if they are catered toward YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS.

Other people like to set up exercise goals like run a certain distance, lift a certain amount of weights or join a local sports team. Whatever works for you! Make sure the goal is “doable” and something you WANT to do!

Safety Needs

For most people reading this it is likely you have a home with locks on your windows and doors and live in a safe neighborhood. People that don’t have these accommodations need more attention to this category and might have goals that involve moving out of an abusive home or high crime neighborhood. For those that are not in immediate safety risks, other resolutions could be to focus on simple things like checking the battery in your smoke detector or vehicle maintenance to prevent car issues on the road. Some people might want to take a self-defense class or educate themselves on safe practices in the home, community or on the job.

Belongingness Needs

Some people might be on the search for friends or a significant other and will have a goal to join a local club or sign up for an online dating site in order to meet new people. If you have friends and/or a significant other, New Year resolutions to foster those relationships can be helpful.  People might work on date nights, acts of kindness, sending letters, or planning fun activities with friends. Other goals could be working on communicating better with others, building more intimacy in your relationship, mending emotional wounds in a relationship or even ending a relationship.

Esteem Needs

Often times people don’t naturally like themselves or feel good about themselves. Daily practice of positive affirmations would be a great New Year resolution for some people. Or standing in the mirror every day and pointing out one thing you like about yourself. Another idea is to say “THANK YOU” when someone compliments you rather than minimizing your accomplishment or desired feature. Sound difficult? It might be…. but like most things, it will become easier with practice!

The prior goals are considered “D-needs” which are necessary for survival and now we are moving more into the higher needs.


 Cognitive Needs

Some cognitive goals I might set for myself might be to attending a training, reading books, learning about a new subject or skill set. Some people might even take a college course or you can join a club and learn and talk to others about whatever it is you are learning or are passionate about! Learning is fun and it is a catalyst to help in growth and change! A wise professor once told me, “If you didn’t change, you didn’t learn!”

Aesthetic Needs

There is so much beauty in the world….

Aesthetic Needs are pleasing to the eye and enjoyable. Some people might set a New Year resolution of watching the sunrise or sunset. Organizing your home or office to be aesthetically pleasing or setting a goal to become organized in general (this one is on my list personally!). Re-design a room in your home. Use pleasing decor. Set up your environment around you to be peaceful and serene.

Self-Actualization

I don’t set a goal here because self-actualization is the product of achieving the prior goals. So when you get here you just enjoy and soak it in! Few people in this world have achieved self-actualization, but as I noted earlier, it wouldn’t hurt to set up a lifetime journey of moving forward!

This list isn’t meant to be overwhelming, rather showing a more holistic way to look at New Year Resolutions. Maybe not all areas need attention right now and they might not need attention all at the same time. My suggestion is to set small realistic goals in each area and revisit the list every few months to make adjustments and continue progressing forward. Write down what you have accomplished in these areas along the way so that at the end of the year you have a list of what you did do!

I find that most goals will fit into one of these areas and it helps me to really prioritize what is important.

I hope you have fun with this and it gives you an idea of a strategy and a way to go about this New Year Resolution business!