The Growth Inside of One Year

The Growth Inside of One Year

It has been one year since I decided to get on the roads and trails to get back to running. The choice to make running a priority and habit again has led to growth and adventures that I did not expect to come across through the determination to overcome my aliments and run again.  

A few months have gone by since I last recorded about my journey to a better total lifestyle and those days have passed by in a blur. The moment the second quarter of this year came into focus my life switched gears and the need to adjust was centered in front of me. The need for an adjustment was bought on while working toward the goals that I committed to in the beginning of this year and the steps I have taken to get closer to those goals. 

I found no time to throw away and more time had to be given to what is of top priority for me. Each week I considered what was working and what could be done differently for the progress of the change I want to see and live in daily. Giving up was not an option (and it still isn’t one now). I looked at everything as a whole and changed what is considered a priority or simply urgent to me. Doing this has allowed me to continue to keep doing the necessary activities that life requires and the ones I desire to do also efficiently.

During this spring and summer, I found my way around new trails ranging from easy to difficult terrain. I traveled through forest and across sand, up and down steep elevations, in wet and cool temperatures and when the sun was shining bright. When I stared this journey last year, I didn’t think I would cross into hiking as much as I have, but I welcome the change, I welcome a mind to evolve at any point and embrace what is happening now and adjust if it is not where I want to be or what I want to do. I am better than the January version of myself, not someone else, and that is satisfying.

In the last year I have not only found my way back to running and enjoying the benefits of it, but I have also taken on other activities of total health and made them important routines for my life. I am finding ways to strengthen my body, increase my endurance, and eat well for my health and enjoyment. Becoming disciplined in my physical health compliments my mental and emotional health. My health journey has also spilled over into my career and other life adventures and commitments and allowed me to have a new perspective on those ventures. I am understanding and accepting that I must adjust and move forward in all of my life positions.

Has it been easy? No, it has not. There have been easier days and weeks as there has been difficult days and weeks. Working through doubts, criticism, pain, and other health issues has been a struggle but the encouragement from others, self-affirmations, days without pain, and the end in mind has made the easy days a breeze and the hard days better. The days I say not today, today I am going to rest are present too and they make me able to continue toward the change I want to live in. I don’t forget to enjoy the moments of success as they come and remember what I am capable of as I move into the difficult moments. 

I have adjusted a lot this year and I predicted going forward I will still have to finds ways to maneuver the unexpected. Why do we adjust to what is going on around us anyway? Most of the time if we don’t adjust, we have to leave the situation completely. We probably adjust to the circumstances we are in more than we realize. If you ever arrive at an airline check-in to a line of a couple of hundred people long ahead of you, you know when the need for an adjustment is front and center on your path. You likely begin to think and move to fill the need of the adjustment. You may have to skip getting in line for your favorite drink or food and settle for filling your container at the water faucet. You may even need to wait to use the airplane lavatory if time is limited. The other option may be to pay more and be moved to the front of the check-in line, but you adjust to the circumstance.

The dreams and goals we have will settle into us until we reach them or let go of the idea of them. This year of commitment and new challenges has helped me to see what I want for my life and the person I want to continue to become. As you take on your own journey and all that it has to offer you, remember to enjoy your accomplishments, work through the difficult days, and rest.

Is it Unplanted, Growing, or Dead?

Is it Unplanted, Growing, or Dead?

It is the end of the first quarter. This is an ideal time to lay out in your mind what you have accomplished, what you have placed on pause, and what is dead. Some of our ideals and goals stop growing on the surface and some stop growing in the root. Depending on where the growth is happening or stopped at is how you can determine your next move.   

Your accomplishments can be the fuel you need for the next quarter. You started, completed some crucial steps, and now you know what you are capable of and you have the evidence to prove it. The list you have of things you desire to change, achieve, or acquire now has space for future goals because you have been able to check some things off or you are at least a few steps closer to completing them than you were 12 weeks ago. 

Now that you have taken some steps toward the change or lifestyle you set out to have this year you have likely realized that some of your goals are on pause and may stay that way for a while. Another way to picture them is to view them like seeds that are not ready to be planted or they have been planted and need some time to grow and transform before becoming a plant ready for picking. Being on pause can be a neutral state for you and can be what is needed for you to know if what you are doing is something you should continue or bring to a close.

Some of the change and goals you want to accomplish have a prerequisite that must be meet before you can even begin to work on them. If this is the case, consider what you first must do and once that first step is complete more options will open up for you to choose from. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself to define the stage you may be in: do I need to buy the seed, start the seed, repot the seed, or am I stuck deciding what seed to plant. After looking at the answers to these questions you can move closer to knowing if the prerequisite has been met and whether you can move forward or not.

Where are you with the life changes you have committed to? Has this quarter gone by and you are yet deciding on what it is you desire in this season of your life? Getting caught in between what you have done and what is next can initiate a halt in your plan if you don’t exactly know how to bridge the gap with the right actions. It may take you doing some meditation, research, or consulting a person who can be objective and helpful in guiding you. You may even find that it is time to stop beating the dead horse and pick a different seed. 

I chose my seeds, planted them and I am taking the necessary steps to see them grow and become a return for me. Some routes have come to a dead end and others are a progressing with turns and hills, they are paved and unpaved and some are difficult to maneuver. Yet, I am pursuing the lifestyle I desire for my body, mind, and emotions now and into the next quarter of this year. 

Willing Your Mind

Willing Your Mind

The physical and mental strength are tied together in some way. Wanting to become stronger and having the mental ability to will yourself to do it is an example of this. Are your limits mental or physical? How do you anticipate overcoming each part?

With a desire to become physically stronger I have asked myself these questions and the answer is a part of the question. Doing the work to become stronger and convincing self that it is possible to take on more weight, more resistance, more repetitions. Getting over doubt and unhealthy fear in the mind that you may not reach the goal or expected end so why even go fit. 

For me, February has been a month of not giving up on the goal, the change, the lifestyle that is sought. As I mention in a prior post the sparkle of new can fade so quickly and resistance of doing the new thing can settle in and cause old habits to return. The days are going by so fast that falling into old habits can sabotage any efforts that are being executed. Making the day count is what can help even if resistance to change appears on your doorstep. 

Consider this, you wake up and skip your workout or plan for whatever change you are working toward and it just so happens that you already had a scheduled rest day on the day before. There is no way to get your planned action in during any other time of the day. You can choose to stay dormant a few more days because you are off your plan or you can defeat old habits and go for the next action.

The thoughts you have about your actions can lead you to success or failure. Dwelling on what happened on a single day or week whether it moved you toward your goal or halted it can cause you to become stuck and create a clear path to the old habits you are working to resist. The mind and actions are so closely knitted together that you have to be aware or how you are willing yourself in all that you do or desire.

I overcome getting started doing a little if I cannot do a lot. If I miss the time slot for my hour workout or other plan of action, I go for 20 minutes at another time. When I miss a day, I remind myself that I cannot get that day back, but I can redeem the time by what I do in the future. I make it all count; in the end every action will add up to some result. How will you overcome the fading of excitement, the pain of going on, the doubt that you or change isn’t worth the time and work demanded? 

Conquer

Conquer

Welcome to a new year with me. Though it does not feel like a typical beginning of a new year I have set forth goals and milestones to reach. I haven’t done this out of feeling the need to become a new person or to set a resolution to forget in a few weeks. I am continuing a lifestyle. A day-to-day commitment to remember and act on the memory of what I desire to achieve each day. I am committed to building and keeping the lifestyle I want. 

I used to get caught up in the sparkle of a new year and make list of what I would do and how I would be. The truth is, only about one of my good intentions would actually make it off the paper. I am not sure of the exact year I stopped being so absurd in my plans and became more honest with myself about how to take the steps that were realistic for me to get the results I wanted in life, but it is a better way for me.

This year some of the things I am focusing on include strength, endurance, and being able to conquer what I set out to do each month. I want to become stronger in my physical body, but I see no limits to wellness and will also work on strengthening my total being. I can visualize my body taking on the movements and distances that will bring strength and endurance to every muscles and organ that is affected. Although I can see these things in my mind, I do not believe they will happen without action and commitment. If there isn’t a plan or guide to follow and a get up and do attitude the strength will not enter my body and the endurance will not show up. 

I can envision steps and goals being conquer day by day. Fitness and social goals, intellectual and spiritual ambitions are lined up in my mind ready to be swiped off the list and noted as accomplished. I feel empowered by seeing these things happen in my mind.  The empowerment feeling is a motivating force for me. It gives me the energy to get out of the blocks and run toward the path that leads to an end I desire. The good feeling about what is ahead and the change I envision will remain a picture in my mind and not a reality unless there is a plan and execution. There will not be a conquering without a beginning and a follow through for each step I have planned.

I encourage you to be excited about your life, your desires and the change you envision for yourself. There is usually a spark of excitement and energy in the beginning of anything new. As time goes by the excitement and energy that was present in the beginning can fade or completely disappear. When this occurs, it is helpful to evaluate the kind of change you have set to accomplish and see if it is still in line with what you truly desire. If they don’t line up, make your needed adjustments. If they line up the same, then you may want to consider why you aren’t acting on those desires. It can then get into a lack of planning and follow through, lack of inspiration or motivation, or the will to do is absent. Self-reflect and find out what is holding you back.

If you have started this year with a plan to continue or begin your total wellness lifestyle and adjust as your life changes you are likely on the path that will keep you from extreme pitfalls that can accompany some resolutions and vows to become this or that. As you go from week to week determine the action that is needed for the steps you want to take towards your goals. Remember whatever you desire or see yourself having or doing only happens with action.

Getting Beyond Your Limits

Getting Beyond Your Limits

I am going for another round of daily leg workouts to fire up my muscles again. I really like doing a vigorous routine of side shuffles, jumping squats, forward lunge, and jumping jacks in combination for about twenty minutes and then finish with a brisk walk for 10 to 20 minutes. I go for a high number of reps during each set when I am not using weights to keep the workout in resemblance of a HIIT routine. It is difficult and I definitely take a ten second break to breathe during the moments I feel like I am not going to make it through another set, maybe even 15 seconds. The walk keeps me from getting stiff afterwards and gets me to my 30-minute minimum of daily exercise.

Doing these kinds of vigorous routines and switching up the type of exercise I choose to include throughout each month has been beneficial for the building of muscles and keeping the motivation when I think about passing on the strength training. My flexibility and balance are increasing as I perform the various movements required for the different types of cardio and weightlifting, I am doing. I feel my body being healed and I am doing the things I once felt were beyond my limits.

It is amazing what the body is capable of doing and becoming. We may sit around suffering from one complication to the next and not be aware that exercise can change those complications we wake up to everyday. Becoming stronger can change or eliminate the pain we have in different parts of our body. Sometimes we see exercise or diet being pushed on us as a way to look good or to get back into a piece of clothing from five years ago and ignore the real reason to get moving. 

The more important part of exercise is the healing of the body and mind that can take place with each day that we give our bodies a chance. Whether it is by way of a short hike, a long run, or weight machines however you choose must be right for you and where you are in your relationship with exercise and better health.

I encourage you today to get to know your body and understand why you feel certain pains or limits. How do you feel about your body and health? Ask yourself why you feel the way you do about your body, about exercise and your total health. I hope the clarity you find will bring the change and motivation you desire into your journey. 

Taking a Different Path

Taking a Different Path

Day after day the air in my area was either filled with smoke from the wildfires, very unhealthy or simply not good for a person with any type of breathing or lung issues to run indoors or outdoors. It hasn’t been great for anything that requires deep breathing or being out for a few hours.

I was not able to accomplish all the running goals I planned for September. Even with a mask on I could not run indoors or outdoors for 6 to 8 miles three or four times a week and not feel the discomfort of the poor air quality. Disappointment set in quickly, but I still had to find a way around my disappointment each day and get active. That is exactly what I did. 

Every morning I would open the weather app to check the air quality and determine whether or not I would run for the day or try doing something that did not require deep breathing. I felt deprived once again not being able to lace up my running shoes and hit the pavement whenever I wanted to. The days that the air was good were my run days or vigorous activity days. I did not take any of those days for granted, I didn’t have any to waste or to spend sitting around the house wishing things were different.

The first couple of weeks of the month I had to choose an alternative to running. Although I really wanted to work on increasing my running mileage and time, I did not mind a switch up in my workout routine. I was able to use my weights more and focus on different ways to strength train each week. 

The last couple of weeks have been better for running and being outdoors and I have made them count. I have been getting in enough miles and hours of running each day and staying as active as I possibly can. I didn’t get the mileage each day that I set out to accomplish for this month and that leads me to revisit my 6 to 8 miles three times a week plan. I cannot skip this step in my running goals and try to jump into 8 to 10 miles in October. I believe in pushing pass limits to grow and become stronger, but there must be levels or steps to get to the finale. I am willing to be patient and work through whatever nature hands out.

I’ll be working on increasing my mileage once again in October and exploring what has worked well and what has not. Living well doesn’t come to an end it is a lifelong choice that is adjusted as needed. Adjustments may need to be done weekly, monthly or even yearly and you make those adjustments so that you do not quit on yourself. Keep moving forward, I am.

Autumn is Here, Are You Equipped?

Autumn is Here, Are You Equipped?

As I work toward achieving my daily goals there is one challenge aside of the activity I choose, it’s the climate. I find myself dealing with what to do on the days that I cannot get outdoors and run. If I do not have a layout in my mind of what to do for 35-45 minutes, I can get stuck and miss the opportunity to jump right into my morning exercise. 

The weather can play a huge part in what you are able to do each day especially for a person who prefers being outdoors. Running in the hotter temperatures is something that I will do without hesitation as long as I am well hydrated the day before and if I don’t run beyond the point of needing to be replenished.

In the past I have ran in temperatures below freezing and managed to complete my runs without much difficulty. What I have not gotten accustomed to and will not take a chance with is the quality of air in the atmosphere and the UV index. When these factors are in the balance, I’ll go for something less vigorous or an indoors activity.

Each day nature is going to arrive and bring a few elements with it. As the cooler and wetter seasons get closer, I want to be prepared for whatever shows up. I have taken some time to plan out the next few weeks so that I will be able to continue to progress at the rate I desire whether there be rain, sunshine, or bad air. 

In the process of planning I pulled up some stored away memories and landed on a time when I could go to a public gym and utilize various weight machines and other equipment to get a total body workout. Now I am finding ways to work with what I have in the home and apply the techniques I picked up from the trainers in the gym. 

I have the different sets of weights, which are a classic go to for me and I also implement some resistance bands. Several years ago, I received a quick lesson at the gym on using resistance bands and I learned what areas of my body would benefit from the use the bands at the time. Now I have two different types of resistance bands ranging from 10lbs to 50lbs that I use for my entire body. I had forgotten exactly how powerful a flimsy band is until I secured one around my thighs and shuffled across the floor, I quickly remembered. 

Going into a new weight loss plan or strength training program on your own is good, but if you have the opportunity to get a few sessions with a professional in targeted areas go for it. The experience can be worth more than the money or the time you spent on it and you can always take that information with you and apply it to get the results you desire.

I need those tips and lessons I was able to learn back then for the present. I cannot get to the gym, but I have the equipment and knowledge I need to get the results. If you can learn enough about a topic or technique, you can benefit in some way. You do not have to be an expert at everything. You should be able to tap into the expert of the subject and receive the answers you need to reach your goals and passions and become an expert at your own gift.

Maneuvering around the elements of nature isn’t all cons. It awakens my interest in finding new ways to stay active. Being reintroduced to different exercises and equipment is a freshness that I am enjoying. If you are stuck or bored of your routine step off your broken in machine and activate some other areas of your body with a guided change. My muscles and my mind are ignited and ready to grow. 

Familiar vs New

Familiar vs New

Ten days into the month and I am keeping the pace. This month I will do 6 to 8 miles for my longer runs and 2 miles for my recovery days. There are several routes I will add to my list this month. I like to have a mixture of hills and flat terrain, and I will still include a familiar route that has several rolling hills. Some good things can happen on familiar routes.

On a path I know, like the one with the rolling hills, I can run without thinking about what is coming or which way I should go. I know the general distance I must go and the amount of time that must lapse before I reach my set goal. Although the route is familiar it is still a challenge. I can barely keep my pace while traveling up these steep hills and they seem to never top off quick enough. I used to slow all the way down to a walk at about halfway up a couple of the hills, but now I keep running. It is a slower run as I push my aching thighs to continue, and I will take that for now. 

Maneuvering this route, a couple of times a month has created a few fans for me on the sidelines. Along the way there is a blue house which is fenced in, but the gate is usually open when I pass by and there are three young boys who call out to me and wave. I have even grabbed a runaway ball for them and made sure they made it back across the street after retrieving it. Hearing their laughter and voices alarms me of the next hill on my route. Their house is right at the beginning of the second hill I run up and it may be the steepest. 

At the top of that hill there isn’t a downslope, it curves right into another incline. Since there is a dogwalker’s house midway through I call it the Doghouse hill. At this point on my route I am occasionally greeted by a lady sometimes she is in her car or headed into to her home. Normally she nods or smiles, and I often see people passing by or in their cars doing this, so I wasn’t expecting to be remembered until the day she did something unusual. I was rounding the curve at the top of the hill and headed into the next just as I passed her house and she yells out “you are getting stronger”. I smiled through my mask as I waved at her and ran on. A few seconds later I looked down at my legs and thought I am getting stronger. 

I needed those words in my ear that day. Before I stepped off my porch that morning, I had decided to run right through the Blue House hill or hill number 2 and on to the connecting Doghouse hill or hill number 3. Even if I had to catch my breath for a couple of seconds on the downslope, I was going to make that day my first time completing both hills without walking. It is great to find new routes to challenge the muscles and it is also rewarding to go on a familiar path. I am looking forward to doing both during this month.

The End of a Thing

The End of a Thing

The end of a thing will set the scene for what is next. As the month of August bows and prepares for an exit, I am headed into a new season, one that I can enter into with an accomplishment that is open for growth. I can confidently say another 30-day goal is reachable and something I will take on as a part of my choice to improve my health lifestyle.   

I opted for a 30-day challenge to start off to avoid feeling pressured by time. It is easy to choose a yearlong goal and say how many miles you will run, how much weight you will lose or the amount of muscles you will gain, but the doing is the difficult part. If you think there is more time to reach a goal, you may put off getting started or wait until the last few months to act and over work the body or start an extreme weight loss regimen. Choosing a weekly or monthly goal or doing a quarterly check-in with yourself may provide insight into your progress and help to determine what you really want for yourself.

Running without trying to break a record and doing strength building exercises without trying to compete with a me from the past gave me a chance to commit to a new beginning without limits or minimums. I only looked to finish the miles I planned for the day or the amount of time I agreed to at the start of my strength training. There was not a picture of an athlete, friend, or neighbor hanging in my mind to compete with; only the present me, the contract, and a healthier lifestyle.

In the journey to get back something I love, something I would do on any waking day I found a start to reclaiming a healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle I placed in the background and did not give great importance to. Every day I am making a choice to live better for my health and reaping the benefits that affect the other parts of my life. I changed my routine to get what I love back into my life. I pushed aside the excuses and reasons why I should not, and l decided I would. I looked pass the thought of the physical pain I knew would come and embraced the pain of change I felt. 

I feel great, my body is shaping into a physique I have not seen in a while and I feel no pressure to become a size. I will continue on the journey.