Updated: Sep 29
You may think being a Health & Fitness Coach means I live an amazingly super healthy lifestyle – and it’s easy! Well actually, there are plenty of things I don’t get quite right, 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! While it is important to me that I set a positive example to my clients, community, and peers by “walking the talk,” it is also just as important that I also be relatable, real and authentically human. Imperfections are what make us relatable. Because I am human, sometimes I don’t make the best “in the moment” choices. Sometimes I forget to cut myself some slack. And sometimes I stumble and fall. What I have learned is that as long as I get back up and try again, armed with the knowledge of what didn’t work the last time, strive to make better choices, and give myself a little room for flex, then I am making progress. And as I tell my clients, it’s about progress, not perfection. That means giving my best, embracing the imperfections, and being ok with who I am… flaws and all!
Here are a few things I'm very good at:
I find it challenging to do just one thing at a time. Is it my type A personality, my high energy nature or the curse of the modern age? The need to keep up with the seemingly constant bombardment of interruptions - text, emails, phone calls... I mean why do 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 sometimes forget I am human, not superhuman, and with just 24 hours in a day. I love lists and find that by prioritizing tasks, creating deadlines and establishing boundaries (as well as sticking to them) empowers me, allowing me to feel more accomplished. I have to remind myself that progress not perfection is the goal, and no two days in the week are the same. As the day's needs change, so will my priorities. By keeping in line with what matters most each day and re-evaluting the priority of tasks I am able to narrow the list and stay more productively focused.
I struggle with patience. Patience truly is a virtue. While my patience has definitely improved over the years, it still takes active practice. Waiting in line at the store, driving in traffic, stuck walking behind a slow group of people, sitting on hold... it is life’s inevitable “time suckers” that challenge me. 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 in limbo. In general I operate at one speed - perhaps it is the A-type in me? Mindful acts such as meditation, yin yoga, and journaling have helped me to calm the pace and thoughts in my head, enabling me to slow down, take stock of the moment, and realize the benefit of not go-go-going every moment.
I have a hard time going to bed at the same time every night. As a health & fitness ambassador I know the benefits of maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, I preach it to my clients! I love sleep, I need sleep, I am my best on 7-8 hours of sleep. Yet I struggle with getting enough, not daily, but often enough it is a challenge. Maybe it is my "night owl" personality? I often feel my most energetic self with my brain running thoughts a mile a minute as soon as the sun goes down. Maybe it is my high energy engine that is often hard to bring down to a mere idle? I have to burn through enough of that energy during the day in order to slow it down and unwind at night. Maybe it is because most days I am working with clients until around the 7pm in a high energy capacity? Here I am amped up when others are starting to wind down. Or maybe it goes back to a desire to multi task? I mean how much sleep does one need anyway? Whatever the reason(s), going to bed at the same time each day and getting those 7-8 hours remains a work in progress.
I have a difficult time saying “no.” When you love what you do for a living it really doesn’t 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" I am manning multiple commitments and giving away too much time, with not enough left over for myself. I want to be available, be responsive to client needs, be active in my community and networks, and still have the time (and energy) for a social life with quality time for friends and loved ones. In reality as a small business owner this is not that easy and it can take a bit of compromise and effort to make it all work. Sometimes I find I should have said no to other commitments when I said yes, then I have to do my best to juggle far too many things at once, and with a smile! I am getting better at realizing boundaries and my own limitations. After all, just because I say no does not mean I don't care, in fact it may mean I care about something else more. This is not selfish, this is self-care and essential to healthy balance, but it also enables me to be my best self for others.
I have a complicated relationship with food. One of my favorite sayings is, "one bad meal does not make you fat, just as one good meal will not make you skinny." Yet I can still find myself struggling with this. That is because emotion and logic don't always see eye to eye. I eat clean more often than not because it suits my health and fitness goals and honestly I just feel better when I do! What I have found makes the most sense for me (and many of my clients!) is to follow the 80/20 principle. This sets me up for a healthy balance of eating what my body needs to keep up with my day to day a majority of the time, so I can then enjoy the "splurge" the other 20% of the time. Sometimes I struggle with unrealistic expectations, an irrational fear of weight gain, a worry of negative consequence to my fitness when I am in peak training, an area I can micro manage when other areas of life feel out of my control...then I remind myself that balance is what is healthy, necessary, and ultimately enhances a quality of life. Over the years I have learned to take a step back and do a quick self check when I find myself steering too far one direction, I remember self-care is self-love and can bring it back to a healthy and happy balance.
I have a hard time taking "rest days." 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!
I find step by step fitness routines quite challenging. 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.