Updated: Jul 16, 2019
You may think being a Health & Fitness Coach means I live an amazingly super healthy lifestyle – and it’s always easy! Well actually, there are plenty of things I am not super great at, struggle with, and continually have to work on in my own health, wellness, and fitness... because I am human and flawed and I am totally ok with that!
Healthy living is important to me. It is also important to me that I be authentic and true to myself, as this enables me to be the best version of me, for my family, friends and to serve my clients. Perfection is overrated, an nearly impossible to achieve! Progress were it's at. It is our imperfections, our isms, and our challenges, that make real, relatable, and human. It is in that spirit that I share with you the things I am not so great at. A list of a few of my challenges, things I still work on and strive to do better with.
Here are a few things I'm not so great at:
Sticking to one thing at a time.
I like to blame my A type personality, high energy drive and distractions of the modern age, but really it is just not my strength - sticking to one thing at a time. I mean why do just one thing when you can do three or four? I often feel pulled in a million different directions between my professional and personal life, and as a result will multi-task throughout the day in an effort to fit it all in. I can do the laundry, type of notes from a client call, create some new course content, and eat at the same time, right?
I have a hard time being human, not superhuman, and with just 24 hours in a day I feel challenged to do it all, and all well. I have sticky notes all over the place full of lists and important to-do's. I have a notepad by my bed because I often wake up during the night and think about what I still need to do or want to tweak. I have ideas running through my head, constantly. All of these ideas need a place, and I want to give them one as fast as I can. The reality is I need to delegate better because I cannot do it all (reality check) and that is ok, and normal in fact. So I continue to challenge myself to delegate tasks, ask for help when I need it (so hard to do!), and hire coaches to hold me accountable, so I don't get too distracted by all the "shiny" things.
Patience, patience, patience.
Man patience truly is a virtue. While I can say my patience has definitely improved over the years, it still takes active practice. Whether it is waiting in line at the store, stuck in traffic, a slow group of people walking in my path, or sitting on hold, these are the “time suckers” that drive me bonkers. I start to feel like an animal trapped in a cage, pacing, wheels spinning I find myself grumbling internally about all the things I could be accomplishing (hello multi-tasking!) rather than wasting precious time stuck where I am. In general I operate at one speed - fast. I walk fast, talk fast, think fast, read fast... Mindful practices like meditation, yoga, and journaling have helped over the years, but it is still an underlying challenge. I want to prod things to move faster so I can get to the good stuff sooner. I have had to learn the benefits of being in the moment and slowing down the pace. And there are so many. When I focus on what I am in, versus missing out on, it helps the impatient voice in my head stop talking and I can breathe a little easier. Releasing control is another biggie. I cannot control the traffic, the weather, or other people, but I CAN control my reactions to them. That is a game changer.
Who needs sleep?
As a health and fitness coach I know the benefits of maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, in fact I preach it to my clients! I love sleep, I need sleep, and I know I am at my best on 7-8 hours of sleep. Yet I struggle with getting enough, not daily, but often enough it is a challenge. I have been a "night owl" since I was young. I would rather stay up til midnight and get up at 9am any day rather than go to bed early and wake with the sun. I have so much energy, even at night, that it is hard to slow it down for sleep. I have learned that I have to burn through a good deal of physical energy during the day in order to unwind and sleep. Just another great reason for me to get some sort of physical exercise each day! I have also learned I need to put my phone away and watch something mindless for at least an hour before shutting off the lights. Because I am always reading for continuing education and personal growth, I have found reading is a bad idea before bed because I find it too hard to stop. The good news is, when you discover what doesn't work, it really helps you identify what does. So I keep working on it... always a work in progress.
Learning to say "no” in order to say yes.
When you love what you do for a living it doesn’t always feel like “work.” This can be a wonderful yet challenging thing. I find I can easily over-extend myself and become over-scheduled, saying "yes" to too many things. And I have found when I give too much away, there is not enough left over for myself. I want to be available, responsive and on for everyone but is it realistic? No. In reality, being a small business owner is not so easy and it takes a bit of compromise and effort to make it all the moving parts work. Sometimes I have to say no in order to say yes to the bigger picture or give myself what I need. It requires setting limits and boundaries, and I work on it every day. Delegating also helps, because the idea that you can do it all, is well, a great idea, but certainly not realistic. At least not in my experience. Self care is important. It is not selfish. Saying no to say yes is a part of my self care and essential to maintaining a healthy balance so I can be my best self to and for others.
Sometimes healthy is hard.
One of my favorite sayings is, "one bad meal does not make you fat, just like one healthy meal will not make you fit." Yet logic and emotion do not always fall in sync. Most of the time I lean toward healthy food choices because I just feel better, sleep better, and have better energy and focus. But I am human and I still want my nachos, carrot cake, and red wine from time to time. And I have them! I have found that by making room for planned indulgences, I am less likely to fall into the all or nothing trap (aka dieting) - which is healthier for my mind AND body. This way when the craving hits, I ask myself, do I want it today, or when I set aside the time to really enjoy it? Sometimes the TODAY, RIGHT NOW wins, and that is ok.
The reality is my background as an athlete and being in the health and fitness industry, I can easily find myself burdened by unrealistic expectations. Perfection is a myth and we live in a world of filters and latest and greatest get fit quick trends. This is where I have to practice self love, compassion, and bring my focus back to what I need. When I do what makes me feel my best (authentically), and honor that, rather than hold myself to someone else's standard, I am happier, and healthier. Conducting a self assessment from time to time is key. I am a firm believer of "always be a work in progress" and assessing where I am, what is and isn't working for me, and making adjustments as needed, helps me create a path that aligns with my goals. I use this approach with my clients too. Because it is easy to fall into the "diet" trap, but ultimately diets don't work... at least not long term (I mean when was the last time you heard someone say they are starting another diet??). Calorie counting, food restriction, and unrealistic food rules are punishing and unsustainable. Balance is where it's at.
Learning to rest.
Rest days are important. They allow the body to recoup and recover, reduce risk of injury, and enable us to tackle our next workout (as well as other daily tasks) with renewed energy and efficiency. Rest days are also a key component to mental and spiritual well-being – we all need to unplug and do nothing from time to time! Yet the high-energy side of me can struggle to slow down, take a break, and not feel an incessant need to "do." For anyone that has gone through significant illness or injury and made it to the other side it can be hard not to see every day thereafter as a gift and want to celebrate it to it's fullest! When you have struggled to get back to a healthy place you appreciate even more the ability to move freely and enjoy those activities you love most - because this is a gift, not a given. I have been there, more than once. These experiences have given me an even greater gratitude for every day I wake up with a healthy, strong and able body. That is why I yearn to hit the gym, can't wait to lace up my running shoes, or go on my next adventure. I am grateful for the freedom physical ability has granted. That said, I do appreciate the importance of rest and caring for a healthy, strong and able body, because this is how we are able to maintain it for the long term. That is why I am constantly reminding myself to slow down, rest, recover and recoup so I can enjoy this gift for the long haul!
Step-by-step fitness routines are my kryptonite.
Ironic for someone who spends a large part of their day demonstrating how to perform functional movement exercises, right? Oh but I am! Something about those step-by-step routines commonly found on a fitness DVD or in a large group class setting (you should have seen me in the kickboxing class I took last year!), well it's just not pretty. I often find myself scrambling to keep up, by the time I understand the first part of a routine the instructor has moved on to the second or third part and I am completely lost, not at all in pace with anyone else and pretty much rocking my own routine at that point. So for those of you that also struggle with this and feel like the only one....you're not, I feel your pain! It isn't like I lack hand/eye coordination or I am not a fast paced person (or exerciser for that matter) there is just something about following a mirror image that throws me for a loop and I find myself a fish out of water trying to figure it all out and still look like I might have a fitness bone in my body. The good news is once I repeat it a few times, willing to look a bit goofy while figuring it out, then I get it, like really get it! So I suppose like anything else....with time, effort, practice and a whole lot of patience you can get there!
The take away: listen, we are all challenged by something, perfectly imperfect and uniquely flawed in our own ways. And that is ok, in fact it's pretty wonderful! It is our imperfections that bond us, help us relate to one another, keep us humble, and inspire us to learn, grow, and progress forward. Becoming better at anything requires the investment of time, energy, and effort. It took me a while to see my own imperfections as a gift (not a burden) with some pretty great life lessons to be had, if I was open to them. Today I choose to embrace my flaws and imperfections, to celebrate my uniqueness and realize opportunities for growth. I cherish my strengths and recognize my weaknesses. I strive to be a work in progress. I choose to use challenge as a motivator for improvement, to grow and evolve. And while it may not always be so easy, my goal is healthy balance that allows for a bit of grace, with myself and others, for this helps me to be a better student and teacher.