Getting what you want is hard. Who knew how important the things our parents made us do growing up were. Things like teaching us to not quit or doing chores. Things that teach you the very hard lesson that to reach major goals requires you to do things you don’t want to do, consistently.
Twice in my life I’ve lost over 100 lbs. Getting in shape is important to me for several reasons. When I am in shape I feel better and more confident in my skin, I have more energy, and less pain both in my back and knee. But to lose weight, to reach those weight loss goals, to keep the weight off, requires me to consistently do things I don’t want to do. Like walking in Florida when it is 100+ feels like degrees outside. I hate walking but I especially hate walking in heat. I have a bunion on my foot, a skin condition that doesn’t fare well with heat or sweat, a knee that has had 3 surgeries and is full of arthritis, and a bad lower back. Trust me when I say that I hate walking. But I’ve found at my age to lose weight it requires me to be active. In addition, having fur baby companions requires outdoor activity for them to also be healthy and happy. So I have to talk myself into doing what I don’t want 1 to 2 times daily.
Getting into shape requires me to talk myself out of eating what I want multiple times a day. Would I like to eat pancakes? Yes, that is most definitely what I want, every morning please, but reaching my goal requires me to not do what I want, over and over again. Funny thing about food too, is in the Noom program they teach you that you do need to occasionally “feed the elephant.” Which means that it is important to occasionally allow yourself to have a treat. Which is true. However, this is a slippery slope for me. In fact, the more I feed my elephant, literally, the more vocal that thing gets and the more frequent are its demands. Tracking what you eat on a day where you binged, or facing the scale the next day, no one wants to do that. However, to get what I want, I have to do what I do not.
Getting my bachelors degrees and post graduate degree required consistent actions of things that I didn’t want to do. It required me to spend my weekends researching instructional design theories and writing papers. It required me to take classes I had no interest in taking. It required me to walk through fear every time I got a new course or new assignment that I was certain I could not do. When the easier softer way would have been to just give up. The easier and softer way is alway giving up or not starting to begin with. It is avoiding change. It is remaining comfortable.
I really love the feeling of a clean and organized house. I have more peace and feel more happy when I can walk into my house and it is clean. To achieve this though requires me to do chores on a daily basis. Even on days when work seemed long and I’d much rather just binge some show on Netflix. Could I skip it on certain days, sure, and I do, however the longer I am lazy the less happiness I have with my surroundings and the more work it takes to get it back to that place of serenity. It took me a long time to learn that it is easier to maintain cleanliness and organization when it is consistently looked after. The result of consistently doing what I don’t want to do is a consistent sense of peace from my surroundings.
Financial health is something I’ve been working on for some time. Along with food it is one area in my life that has been hard to control. I like “stuff” and I like nice “stuff”. However, the debt and anxiety of that debt, I do not like. Therefore, to have financial health requires me to find ways to say no to myself. It requires that when I get my tax return and bonus, instead of buying things I want, like a jet ski or new clothes, that I put that money towards debt, or responsible things like a new AC. It requires me to reign in my spontaneity nature of wanting to take random trips and stay at expensive hotels to staying home or finding much lower costing compromises. It also requires me to look at what causes me to want to numb out with purchases and food to begin with.
I really like having nice eyebrows and prefer to not be that woman with a hairy lip. This requires me to pay someone to rip out my hair with either wax or thread. Or if I’m looking to save money for me to sit through the pain of plucking them out via tweezers.
Becoming good at a new skill requires consistent effort even when you suck. Nobody wants to suck. It is very demotivating. I would love it if creative ideas just popped out of my head and got transmitted to paper as a masterpiece every time. Unfortunately, it does not work that way, at least that has not been my experience. If you ask any great artist, regardless of medium, they will tell you that getting to where they are required them to practice their craft every day. To practice even when they didn’t want to, even when they sucked.
Being a person of character requires me to be willing to look at my part in every situation. Even if the other person had a part, a BIG part, it requires me to see my part to bring acceptance for theirs. We are human. It requires me to assume positive intent of other people even though my mind is constantly convinced that others are most definitely out to get me or reject me. It would be much easier to blame someone else. My part sometimes is not letting that shit go. Being a person of character requires me to do what I say I’m going to do even when it is not convenient. Even if I no longer want to do it. It requires me to examine my motives on things and not always just doing what feels good. It requires me to play that tape through and think about how I will feel about myself after or how it might affect other people. It requires me to have compassion for myself when I fail, which I do, frequently. It means even when you can’t be perfect, continuing to strive for perfection.
Back when I drank I didn’t try to achieve goals because it was easier to deal with being an underachiever than a failure. I lowered my standards and expectations for my own life so that I didn’t live with any cognitive dissonance. If I didn’t want to go to work, I called off, or I quit. If I wanted something I manipulated or stole. Getting sober required me to learn how to be comfortable in my own skin and with my emotions. Dealing with emotions has been one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve had to learn how to do. Something that I am still learning how to do. It was much easier when going out on a first date to throw back a few to get past those jitters versus just feeling your feelings and learning how to channel anxiety into excitement. I didn’t want to start a continued pattern of waking up in jail and this required me to do many things I didn’t want to do at first.
Successful adulting is hard. Reaching goals is hard. This is why not everyone does it. But it is worth it. I guess that was the point of this monologue.