The difficulty in following your own advice
I’m on the cusp of getting two new certifications on top of the several I already have. I’m already applying the knowledge that I’m gaining in studying for these at work. I find myself spouting off newly learned gems in classes when applicable. Yesterday, it happened twice and I remember telling myself, “see, you are retaining information!” (The upcoming test is no joke. A lot of people fail the first time and I am doing my best to make sure that I’m one of those that doesn’t have to go through that.)
In regards to goal setting and achieving, whether it be fitness or life in general, I feel that I’m pretty much like everyone else. There are things I’d like to achieve and goals that I set. And like everyone else, sometimes life gets in the way or sometimes I do dumb things. Sometimes I even act completely contrary to the knowledge that I have. Willfully ignoring things that I know to be true.
For years, I ran the same path every day. I had a path near my house that was five miles out and back and so that’s what I ran. I even ran a few races without actually training, just running whatever I felt like. Sometimes I would run longer if I was really feeling it, sometimes my schedule would force me to skip a day or run shorter, but there wasn’t much rhyme or reason to it. It took deciding to train for a marathon, being afraid, and getting advice from others on their training plans before I started actually adding variety to my running. At first I even ignored the ‘low mileage’ days if they were under what I was already running. Obviously, after running with some variety, my race times have improved.
I know how to design a workout plan. I do it regularly for people at work. I’m paid for it. Yet, I’ve stuck to the same weight training workout for several years. I changed it up once a few years ago with input from another trainer that I know. Changed it up once again when my schedule changed and I had to find something else to do. I could very easily write myself a training plan and do different things, why don’t I?
I’ve been examining this frequently lately. There are other goals that I’ve set for myself. I would like to finish my book sooner rather than later. Well, sit down and write every day. Go to a writing workshop. Meet other writers. These are things that I tell myself to do and advice that I’ve given myself. And some of it I do follow. Pretty well. Most of the time.
I give myself advice all the time. Meditate daily. Rev up the at home yoga practice. Journal more frequently. Get a set pattern with cleaning the house. Etc. etc. Sometimes I’m better at following this advice than others.
When I do take my own advice, it’s often magical! Looking back over the years, I managed to get two bachelors degrees, I’ve changed my diet completely, I’ve changed careers successfully, I’ve excelled at physical challenges, I’ve moved my entire life around the planet five times … when I follow my own advice, I get things done. Why can’t I do it all the time?
I’m sure that I’m not alone in this. I’m betting that someone reading this is nodding along in agreement. Someone else is feeling this frustration.
Since the move, I have been very frustrated with myself. Right before I left Chicago, I was on fire with getting things done and making goals reality. I can’t blame everything on the fire, but that certainly was a reset point. And I’m not saying that I haven’t accomplished anything since I’ve moved either, because I certainly have. But there are good habits that I was developing that have fallen off and I can’t seem to pick them all back up again. Why?
I have a few theories for myself (and for anyone else who is asking the same sort of questions). One is that life is cyclical. And perhaps this is a time of regrouping and re-calibrating rather than a time of tearing it up and blazing trails. Another theory is that you can’t pick up all of the things at once. Even if you were holding them at one time, your hands are only so big. When I do take a look at the things that I’ve done, there’s been periods of extreme focus and then some things just become part of you. After that change has happened, you can try to pick up new things.
My diet is consistently good. I consistently seek out races and religiously put running training plans into my calendar. I am going to a writing workshop this Saturday. Right now I need to get these certifications done. Pass these exams. Then, once this knowledge is a part of me, I can start picking up other things. I will try and be patient. I will try and give myself a break. It’s hard to take your own advice sometimes.