Sunday, 5 May 2013

What You Put In

As the benefits of my training for Tough Mudder become apparent, I recognize one very important, and obvious, factor. You get out what you put in. This is a very elementary fact that encompasses many areas of life. But one of which I really struggle with following through.

I can recall many times in my life where selfishness and laziness determined my course of action and got me absolutely nowhere. Frustration but no follow through. Aggravation but no problem solving. Discomfort but no taking responsibility. Goals but no plan of action. Needs but no prioritizing. Then I'm left with regrets and too often not even a second chance. In my fear to move forward I often went backward instead.

Blame my perfectionism that gives me a huge list of things to accomplish with the struggle to let one thing go enough to properly focus on another. Blame living years with depression and not taking responsibility for my own growth and life path. Blame my tendency to put the onus of my own consequences on to other people. Blame fear of failure that hates putting the effort in when it may not produce the desired outcome.

But blame isn't an excuse. I can't blame these things and get a free ride. A crappy childhood isn't going to earn me any favors now. A painful distant past isn't going to earn me any free-to-treat-people-like-shit cards today. I need to focus. Even when it is difficult. I spent too many years letting things go and not making priorities and not pushing myself because of dread and excuses. (And by the way--I'm sorry.)

My muscles are now significantly stronger because I decisively pushed them past their comfort level. I can physically do things I absolutely could not do no matter how hard I tried at the start of my training. Certain exercises no longer give me cramps and others no longer make me nauseous. This didn't come by stopping when it became uncomfortable. It came by putting a future goal before my present comfort. It came by letting my fellow team members accompany me on a challenging journey.

I know, being more productive at home or improving my memory or trying to change the persistent and annoying frustrations of life is not the same as trying to build up my push-up count or burpee count. But when it comes to the work I am willing to put in verses the results I want to see, it really is the same. Having this Tough Mudder event is motivation. I got up at 6:30 to work out even though my daughter had woken me a few times and I had less than 6 hours sleep (which, as of lately, is actually a good amount). I did it because I feel I have to at this point.

There are many areas that I need to apply this diligence. Doing it when I don't feel like it. I look at my daughter and my dreams for her and I know I should be farther ahead. By now I should have had the yard set up for her to play in easily. I should have spent my money more wisely in the time that led up to her birth as I knew I wouldn't be working full time and there would be needs. I should have put more time into her relationships. And diet. I really want to improve our diet and need to push through being a better cook. I can't expect my family to choose home made over processed when I keep burning things, missing ingredients, or adding too much of something so it overpowers.

I know, I know. I am being a little hard on myself. But that is where I need to forgive myself from my past self-centeredness and negligence and move forward. Every day I need to get up and remind myself that the work is required to get the results. I know my husband is very busy. There are some things I need to stop waiting for from him.

Especially if it is an area that I solely want to change. If I put my heart into it, then he will follow. If I just complain and express my desire for improvement but refuse to lift a finger then why should anyone else? I should stop whining to myself about how someone else's weaknesses can make it harder on me and instead use that energy to do my part.

Life is too short to just wish without action. More can be accomplished than we realized. Like many areas of my life, I know that once I do it I will look back and wish I had just got the gumption earlier. I always whined about everyday aches and pains and tension in my neck and I frequently longed to be able to do more. After getting fit I realized that, even though it was difficult, it is truly worth the effort.

I need to remember that as I face other areas so that my determination can't be crushed. Breakthrough happens because there was something to break through. There are no breakthroughs on easy street. They say no pain, no gain and there are always people trying to dodge that certainty. They seek the quick fix. The miracle solution. But to truly have gain, there is some sort of pain. The fear of stepping into new territory. The risk of failure. The letting go. The stretching of muscles, whether they be physical, mental, spiritual, emotional.

I don't know if anyone can relate. Maybe I had put myself in such a closed little box that it took this tremendous work to get out. But I did it. And it is a new standard for me, reminding me to be accountable for my future (well, two steps forward and one step back). Hopefully, you can push passed whatever your walls are and see the big picture. It's a pretty amazing picture. More elaborate and awesome than you could imagine.

You get out what you put in. What are you willing to invest in yourself?

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