Individual Motivation Toward a Healthier and Happier Lifestyle

2016 shall be henceforth referred to the Year of The Foxy. While 2015 presented some rather amazing adventures and taxing challenges, I am doing my best to take control of something that has had me down for a while. Part of the Quest for The Foxy is not only seeking motivation, but loving the body I am given and encouraging the mind I have. One of the things I am to reign in is the negative commentary generated when I am frustrated about my progress. If I am not going to be my own cheerleader, how can I expect others to encourage me along the way, right? Here’s what I’m planning!

IMG_1810Ready for a new approach!

Honest Self-Evaluation

Back in 2013, I spent the summer dropping over thirty pounds on a nutritionist-supervised diet plan. I went from 160 pounds to 125 pounds by very cautiously working out while completely eliminating sugar, carbohydrates, and alcohol. For my birthday, one drink and a cupcake were all the vice I could handle before calling it for the night because my system was so clean. Unfortunately, as I starting phasing out of the program and I began reintroducing foods, a drink a week quickly became nightly, and decadent desserts resumed being a coping mechanism for work stress.

As I slimmed down, I became obsessed with numbers. It had been well over 15 years since I wore single digit clothing sizes. When I whittled my way down to a size four, I was the smaller than I had been in high school (averaging a size six). I bought my first bikini since college and even needed slight padding because my bust was much smaller than I used to.  As the holidays rolled in, I fought my demons, but still indulged more than I should, knowing that my hefty layover schedule would provide sequestering to hit the gym and get myself back on track.

Then I found love and got comfortable. Too comfortable. During the cycles of relationships, I unraveled my hard work and resumed combatting my feelings with food and beverages instead of walking it off or heading to the gym. I went from a size 4 back up to a size 10/12, and as the numbers climbed, my self-esteem plummeted.

 Ultimate Goal: Strong & Happy. Inside and Out.

I knew that when I started pulling my size 10 uniforms out of the depths of my closet, I was officially angry. Instead of stopping the sweater from unraveling, I started pulling at the yarn, yanking everything apart. My pride prevented me from asking for help or reaching out to my support system to get my wellness back on track.

At a bootcamp class, I was once told “if you don’t make changes, you don’t want it bad enough.” I found that line of reasoning disagreeable because each person’s situation is different, and when it comes to finding classes which motivate me, I need someone to help build me up, not tear me down. The hardest thing about reading wellness and fitness blogs and community pages is not comparing myself and comparing my situation to others who have the ability to regularly devote time to their wellness and fitness regimes.

Writing Down a Wish List

By nature, I am a daydreamer. I love to window shop and think up all the possibilities of all the things I could do should I have X, Y, or Z. My biggest challenge when selecting rewards for my hard work is to ensure they do not undo any of it. While I will track my measurements and weight weekly, I also have I have a “Save Point” progress check designed to calculate my progress midway through each month. On the last day of each month, I want to celebrate in my own special way.

One of many revised lists the old-fashioned way. Pen and Paper.

The criteria for reward selection completely rules out any food or beverage rewards, especially cheat treats, fancy coffees, booze, or gift certificates to restaurants. Rewards should be a combination of practical, personal, and pleasurable; a calorie-free indulgence. Ideally, the item will be fitness or wellness related such as accessories, fitness equipment, spa certificates or cookbooks. Naturally, gym clothes are on the list, but I am keeping those tucked further back in the reward scheme for when I am closer to my ideal-sized me.

Love Letters to Myself

Part of my journey toward fitness is not only working on the outside, but also the inside. My insecurities about the return of my nemesis have really reeked havoc on my mindset, and while I am actively journaling to clear my head, I really want something extra to make the celebrating my milestones in a more meaningful way. I decided that splurge and write myself a monthly card, to be opened on the last day of the month. I made an effort to select cards which truly resonated with me. Inside each card, I enclosed a gift card related to my wellness and fitness journey.

Enjoyed myself in the Hallmark aisle at the market!

As a daily reminder, I tacked my sealed envelopes on my motivation board in the Geek Chic Shred Shed. As I pass through my garage daily, seeing those envelopes awaiting me get my psyched to work toward my goals. The intention is akin to dangling a carrot in front of a horse in the sense that I cannot use the items unless I earn them. Inside I not only wrote a motivation message to myself, but there is also a space to record which item I chose to reward myself. Come December 31st, I want to use use these letters to myself as part of my year in review.

There is no rule saying that I cannot buy fancy cards for myself, right? So, I took my time at the grocery store and selected cards that resonated with my goals, including a Valentine’s Day card. Once opened, I hope to proudly display these cards either in my home gym or in my office as a constant reminder that I am able to achieve what I am  setting out to do. One of my primary objectives in The Year of the Foxy is being kinder to myself.


Answer Me, These Questions Three:

  1. How do you reward  yourself for a job well done?
  2. When was the last time you sent yourself a love letter?
  3. What is the one thing you wish you took more time to devote attention to with regard to personal wellness?
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2 comments

  1. Susie · February 22, 2016

    Thank you for being so brave and honest with us. ILY<3 Remember, every day is a new beginning and a new opportunity to work towards your goals. It's great that you have a system to reward yourself and keep yourself motivated. Self-love is so important, regardless of where you are with your fitness journey, always make your mental journey the number one priority. A healthy mind is key to a healthy body. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you out and cheer you on. 😀
    To answer your three questions:
    1. If I can be completely honest, I like to reward myself with a nice, cold, tasty IPA. I don't set out with that reward in mind, but it just happens to be what I want after working hard (post-training, -yard work, -whatever). I don't usually motivate myself with physical rewards, but rather the end goal itself. Such as, I'd like to gain strength so I can reach "x-skill" on silks or force-out with more ease on trapeze. Experiencing those breakthroughs are what keeps me moving forward.
    2. I'm not quite sure I've ever sent myself a love letter, but I do have a mantra/personal intention I have written for myself. Although, if I can be completely honest, I do not come back to it as often as I should.
    3. I do wish I took more time for meditation. That is an area that I am completely lacking, even though I set out to carve out more time for it every so often. This is a good reminder that I need to give myself some time every day to just calm my mind and focus on my personal intention.

    Love you sis!

    Like

    • Karen P. · February 24, 2016

      My biggest goal when it comes to writing is not forsaking my voice or authenticity. Honesty is always the best policy, no? 😉

      Like

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