Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Pace

While I struggle with several things, this one could take the crown. I don't know about you, but I'm an "all in or all out" kind of person. All or nothing. So, last year, when my friend and dental hygienist asked me how many days a week I should start flossing to build the habit (I should have already had), I didn't hesitate before saying, "Seven." I'm either all in or all out. None of this "three days a week at first to start" crap for me.

Guess what though? I followed through. Because that's the thing about all-or-nothing people. We agree, we make a plan, and we follow through. Even if it kills us. Which somethings can come close if we're not careful. And that's why PACE is so important to consider. Flossing takes a minute out of your life, so it's not a big deal to add that to your nightly routine. But bigger things? Those lofty goals we want to pursue? Yeah... Those need careful consideration when it comes to the pace we decide to go with.

You need to adopt a sustainable pace or you'll run yourself into the ground.

I wish I could tell you that I didn't learn this the hard way. And I wish even harder that I could tell you I've learned my lesson and always set a sustainable pace from the get-go. Unfortunately, those would both be lies. I've learned the very hard way, and I'm still learning. Sometimes it's easier than others, but other times I just want to rush into things headlong and accomplish them as soon as possible.

What we forget when we do that, though, is that we'll miss out on the beautiful journey as we go from point A to point B. Reaching your goal isn't the only incredible part about embarking on that voyage. Experiencing life and enjoying the process - those things are so valuable and often missed out on when we rush and let perfectionism, overwhelm, and then guilt take over.

So slow the hell down, okay?


It's OKAY to take things slower than you think they should go. It's okay to start from the ground up and learn lessons along the way. It's okay if it takes you five years when it took your friend two. It's okay to make mistakes, change tactics, and even decide that a goal isn't right for you anymore. It's okay to slow down and enjoy the journey.

What isn't okay is working yourself to death. If you love your work, go for it. But remember that we MUST rest, eat properly, move our bodies, and generally take care of ourselves. You won't last very long if you're constantly GO GO GO and not refilling your tank. It's not okay to run yourself ragged. Exhaustion is not a badge of honor. It's not a competition to see how much more you can get done than the next person.

Life is meant to be enjoyed - even when you're in the thick of a goal or a deadline.

One thing I've needed to remember is that we can't take anything with us when we die. Not our money, not our status, not our accomplishments - it all stays here on the physical plane. Sure, it'll be here long after we're gone, but what good is it to you if you're dead? Enjoy life NOW. You won't get another chance like this to experience the things in your life exactly how they are right now.

So the best advice I have for you is to find a pace you can sustain. If you love what you do and want to do it for a long time, your pace must suit your health. You can only do what you love if you're healthy enough to do it. So taking care of yourself must be added into the equation. Exercise and proper nutrition do not go into the "if I have time" categories - they must be taken care of first. Only then can you accomplish everything you want to accomplish.

Take care of yourself, people. 


What I suggest is to take a look at your calendar for the month. Write down anything you've committed to already: meetings, appointments, work, dinners, kids' activities. Then pencil in time to take care of your body and your mind: exercise, meditation, gratitude practice, your morning routine, self-care. THEN include the goals you have. If they're so big that you need to cancel some meetings, appointments, or dinners, reschedule events, find someone else to shuffle the kids from practice to practice, do it - but only do it if you feel good about it. Don't regret not going to that family reunion and having a fun time because you were bogged down with this goal you've lost sight of and doesn't feel good anymore.

Reevaluate everything you've planned for your goal and decide if your pace is sustainable for the long term or if you're going to drive yourself crazy in the short term to get it done. Be VERY realistic with yourself. Remember that life happens and we get sick, hurt, and/or surprised by emergencies. Be a little more flexible with your all-or-nothing mentality and allow yourself a break if you miss a smaller goal on your way to a bigger one. Be friendly with the terms "adjust" and "no."

And, sure, feel free to be strict with yourself. Don't let the goal slide because you didn't feel like doing it. That's not a good excuse. Though I may advise you take a good, hard look at a goal if you don't feel like working on it. Have firm, steady reasons for WHY you're extending yourself the way you are, and then go for it. But make sure the pace you're setting from the outset is one that won't run you straight into the ground. Build habits you can live with, not ones that exhaust you in the end. Nothing is worth having to bounce back from that kind of unhealthy behavior.

Vibe high, friends.


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