Something I’d rather you didn’t know about me—and I’d rather I didn’t know, either, for that matter—is that since last summer, when I broke my foot, I’ve gained about fifteen pounds. Technically, I’ve really only gained about ten, but since I was already up five from what feels comfortable on my body, I’m just gonna go ahead and round up. #driven
I’m clear that fifteen pounds is not the end of the world, or a problem, or something wrong with me. I also know I’m not alone in carrying some extra weight during this pandemic, or you know, ever. However, as a former dancer who struggled with fairly significant body dysmorphia (it’s pretty damn hard to wear tights and leotards every day of the week, in front of 360-degree mirrors and not struggle to accept your body image as it is, versus as you’d like it to be), I have hard-earned the pride I take in knowing that my body is strong, fit and capable. This weight not magically disappearing is a thorn in my side, because I am less comfortable in my clothes, and can sense the beckoning come-hither of dysmorphia’s shitty opinions all jumbled together with the general dissatisfaction, malaise and stress of this year’s circumstances.
All that being said, I get that there are many very reasonable reasons for this weight gain: I had to severely curtail my cardio while my foot healed (and during the many painful months of physiotherapy that ensued); I walk way less than I used to when I lived downtown and when I walked my commute before becoming self employed; I’ve been unable to swim at the pool during the pandemic; I find cycling on country roads with narrow-to-no shoulders intimidating, so I am not riding at all; plus, I am forty and apparently metabolism is ageist as all get out.*
(*Side note: is “as all get out” a Canadian phrase? It sounds like us to my ear…)
There is also the fact that muscle is more dense than fat and in lieu of my normal cardio, I began strength training regularly, so I know my muscles are stronger than I was before. That last one sounds empowering, but I suspect it bears a pretty minimal impact on number on the scale.
I know that potato chips cannot exist in the immediate vicinity (potato chips = my kryptonite). I know that I could definitely afford to drink (a lot) more water, and I know that I often don’t leave enough time for proper meals, so I often rush or skip them, which leaves me famished and liable to make poor choices, and confuses my metabolism. I know I sit in front of screens too much. I know I need to move more, and walk more.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, partly because most of the humans I know have at least some area of their well being that they would like to improve, and weight/diet/fitness is a pretty common woulda-shoulda, need-to-got-to area of desired improvement, so I’m hoping this makes you feel less alone. I hope it makes me feel less alone, too.
But more importantly, I share it because, clearly, I know the things I need to be doing in order to change my circumstances. It’s not rocket science: making changes to any one of those variables I’ve listed above, let alone all of them, to some degree or other, would almost certainly move the needle closer to where I want it to be. And yet, nothing happens.
There isn’t some secret, magical solution I haven’t thought of yet. I know exactly what there is for me to do if I want to see the results I want to see, and yet, I’m not doing it. It’s certainly not for a lack of knowing what to do.
Clearly, knowing how is not enough. Knowing what to do is not the same as actually doing it. Even deciding to do it is not the same as doing it. I’m sure you’ve heard this little riddle: 5 frogs were sitting on a log. 4 decide to jump off; how many are left?
If you guessed 5, then aren’t you clever! Deciding is not doing. Until those damn frogs actually jump off the frigging log, it’s just a philosophical frog conversation: nothing actually changes.
If knowing what to do was enough, then we’d all be super fit and healthy, we’d switch to sustainable power sources, using renewable resources, and everyone would have enough to eat, to name a few issues we know how to address but continue to not resolve.
So,it begs the question: what in your life is unwanted and yet persists? Despite knowing what to do about, or at least having some idea of what might actually change it, we all have circumstances, feelings and experiences that we want to shift, that remain unchanged.
If it’s not for a lack of knowing, then what is missing? Many things, probably, none the least of which is plain old action. Yes, you need to know what to do (or at least what you will try out), but you also need to be clear on these:
- Inspiration: What is it that you want?
- Motivation: What for? Why do you want it?(sounds like inspiration, but is actually different and you need both)
- Structure: What is your plan? What is the action that you need to take to make it happen? What will you need?
- Action: You have to actually do the thing.
- Discipline: Your commitment to doing the action, repeatedly. This means showing up, regardless of whether or not you feel inspired or motivated to do it (spoiler alert: you often won’t).
- Accountability: Some system of tracking and holding yourself responsible to your commitment (it helps if this isn’t yourself).
There it is. You’ll notice that “knowing what to do” is not one of the steps on its own, but just a part of the structure needed to make it happen. Knowledge may be power, but without action and application, it’s just interesting.
If you are missing any or all of these ingredients, your result will remain in the wistful land of Someday. If you do not address these factors, you will have gaps between what you want and what you get, indefinitely. The gap between what you know you need to do and what you are doing is filled with choice.
It sounds simple, because it is. But it isn’t easy, because we are creatures of habit and we tend to shy away from change, even if we want it. Oh, the irony! ***shakes fist skyward***
This is what I help people do. Get into action to create the life they want. And, The Life Intentional is the backbone of the work I do with my private clients. I’m sharing it with the world because I know it works, and I know it can change your world, if you are ready to change your world. If you’re not ready, that’s okay, too. But, quick question: when will you be ready?
I’ll ask again: what, in your life, is unwanted, yet persists? And what, in your life, is wanted, but does not exist? I want to know. And I want to know if you’re about ready to not tolerate the way things are, because you want things to be different.
What are you waiting for? Tell me!