A Short Hiatus

I miss writing this blog. I miss knowing I’ve done it.

So I’m back. I think I’m going to be a little easier on myself in terms of content — I think I’m going to let myself be a little narcissistic.

Having said that, I also have to say I’m not sure that I am being narcissistic by writing whatever wanders through my mind; it’s just easier to deal with the internal criticism by embracing whatever my internal mean girl is saying about me. “You’re being a narcissist.” “Yep.” “You’re being dull and self-indulgent.” “Yep.” This is true of almost everything in my life; there’s a voice inside always ready to carp and find fault. I want to smother it, but I try not to; rejecting it is rejecting something that’s a part of me, and rejecting part of me is too much like rejecting the whole for it to be worthwhile. On top of that, pushing against it gives it energy; saying “Yep,” and moving on drains it of energy.

The thing is, it’s hard to live with and I’d really rather it wasn’t whispering to me at all. So the temptation to try to squash it is intense. The upside is that over time, I’m getting better at letting it be, and that’s something I’m grateful for.

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I’m not sure my (short) hiatus has anything to do with this, but I have a new plan to manage my workouts. This one is based on two things I know about myself: one, I’m fiercely competitive; and two, I like prizes. I recognized how competitive I am when I was doing Weight Watchers. I would give myself permission to miss my points goal to eat some thing I wanted, but when it came down to it, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t “lose” by going over my limit.

I’ve also harnessed that “have to win” thing when it comes to my writing. For the last couple of years, I’ve done Club 100, and there have been days when only a ferocious unwillingness to start over has made me pull out paper or Alphasmart to get my 100 words done. When I reach 100 days, I get a prize, which I like very much.

I’m doing something very like Club 100 for working out, only it’s more like Club 50. I have to go to the gym at least four times a week, every week. All I have to do is drive to the gym — if I don’t go in, it still counts. On the other hand, if I don’t make my four days a week, the count starts over. It doesn’t matter how far along you are, either: you miss, you start over. That provokes my “I will NOT lose,” thing.

The idea behind Club 100 is that you set the bar so low, it’s ridiculously easy to make your goal. So in this instance, if all I have to do is drive to the gym, it’s too easy not to do it. Of course, the odds are that if I get that far, I’ll go in. The barrier for me isn’t the actual workout. The barrier is not wanting to get out of bed; it’s thinking about the workout. Every single time I’ve gone to the gym thinking I was going to take it easy, I’ve kicked my own butt.

I know myself well enough to know it will kill me not to make that goal, that I will do whatever I have to get my days in.

So that’s the competitive end of things. I mentioned prizes. I’ve decided that every time I reach 50 days of working out, I get a new piece of workout clothing: a new sports bra, shirt or pair of pants. To keep the prize special, it’s the only time I get new clothes, but I don’t have to be cheap about it. If I want to spend $30 on a pair of pants, I can. My inner four-year old is a lively presence in my psyche, and the idea of winning a prize makes me very happy.

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All of this is an example of getting out of my own way, of going with the current of my nature. Instead of trying to pretend I’m not competitive, or trying to suppress that part of me, I’m harnessing it.

I’m trying to do that elsewhere, to be who I really am, and not who I think I should be. I’m much better at it than I used to be, and not as good as I’m going to be. Like the book I’m writing, I’m definitely a work in progress…

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