Stop talking, start doing: how-to.
Our core values are important. They inform our perspectives and, therefore, our choices.
If we hold bravery as an important value, we have to make the decision to align our values with our sense of self-worth. Only knowing we are worthy of achieving your goals will afford the courage required to get started. Only being certain that we deserve what we say we want will allow us to cultivate the resilience to get engaged in uncomfortable ways. Only committing to the courage – putting our money where our mouth is – will remind us that taking the chance on us is worth it every time.
Remembering that we deserve what we want – that worthiness is our birthright – will remind us of my favorite Voltaire mantra (I’m paraphrasing here): “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
We don’t have to have everything down – we’re ALL beginners somewhere! – but we do need to begin.
The easiest way I know to do that is to…(drumroll please)…just do it. Take the first step! Action begets more action. We weren’t created to be perfect and to know everything all the time, and all you have to know is one step. If you want to lose fat, all you have to know is that you should be moving and eating some protein and vegetables – we can nail down the details later, once we’re consistently taking action on those things. If you want to put on muscle, all you have to know is that you need to lift some heavy shit – we can dial in how heavy and how often once we’re in the arena. If you want to have a healthier attitude toward food and not think about your next meal every second of every day, all you have to know is that it’s possible and that adding some water and some vegetables and some self-examination will get you there – we can fine tune it once we have some answers with those steps.
Leap, and the net will appear. Right?
This is SCARY, though. I get that. Because lasting change is not the same as a 12-week fix / 12-step program / whatever other 12-framed thing is out there (why 12, I don’t know, but it’s always popping up). So how do we overcome the panic that comes with the “I’m not enough” demons that make us forget we’re worthy in the face of vulnerability?
1. Breathe. Seriously. Nothing is ever that terrifying after a deep belly breath.
2. Humor. Are you being ridiculous? 90% of the time, although my fears are very real, I’ve gone off the deep end and imagined the worst case scenario. Which is fine, but let’s be serious: no one is going to make you dance on your head in your underwear drinking water upside down from a straw as a rite of passage before you can deadlift. Made you laugh though, didn’t it? J
3. Pay attention. When we feel the pain of shame or the fear of uncertainty, life is trying to tell us something. For me, it’s often that this is something that I really want, and that I’m really afraid of asking for help with, because admitting I don’t know how to do it is tough. Paying attention allows me to see where I’m most uncomfortable, which makes me see what I need help with the most, providing a good starting point (I like to get the hardest out of the way first. Builds momentum.) For you, it could be different, but there’s always a message. If we’re paying attention, we’ll cut through the messages from others really quickly and get to the heart of what we want.
4. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Our girl Brene says, “we spend enormous energy trying to dodge vulnerability when it would take far less effort to face it straight on.” And it’s true – how much time do we spend doing the avoidance dance in situations that require us to be uncomfortable? Be uncomfortable. Move forward anyway. You got this.
5. Cultivate a sense of self-compassion. We ALL mess up. Very rarely does anyone achieve their goals on the first try. Your goals are difficult; that’s why you’re not there yet! We can see this in others and encourage the, but it’s much harder to do it for ourselves. Seeing ourselves from the perspective that we see other people is helpful: remind yourself of your strengths, remind yourself it’s normal to say something sassy in the heat of the moment/eat froyo after 2 glasses of wine sometimes/skip a workout when you’re exhausted, think of how this serves your goals (or doesn’t), acknowledge it’s okay, and ask how you can employ your strengths to improve next time. NBD.
We are far more powerful than we admit to ourselves, and embracing our imperfections allows us to move the needle and get going.