Breakthroughs are brilliant
When was the last time you had a breakthrough? Can you even remember? Can you think of a time when you said, “of course! Why didn’t I figure that out sooner?”
Honestly, you wouldn’t be alone if you had a hard time coming up with an answer. For many of us, we have gotten to the point in our lives where we are in such a routine of running from thing to thing, or working and then crashing, that we don’t even consider the possibility of breakthroughs in our lives. I mean, after all, what would we even have a breakthrough ABOUT?
I’ve had a breakthrough filled week, which is why I can say with certainty,
breakthroughs are brilliant.
It sounds so intriguing, right? I wasn’t at a fancy yoga retreat or working on some high-level scientific research. My breakthroughs have been the result of taking a minute to really allow myself to dream about what my life would look like if I actually committed to achieving my goals and then really examining what I would need to do to get there. Yes, I did this while working full time, meeting with contractors on the weekend, being screamed at by a patient at 7am Monday morning, and having evening obligations 3 days after work this week.
And yes, breakthroughs are still brilliant.
I’ll tell you why.
The one thing I brought with me through each obligation this week was my thoughts. Left unchecked, they like to bounce from thing to thing and wake me up at 3:42 am to ruminate. So as I said, I took some time last Friday, after writing last week’s blog to really think about my life; to slow down and step back. It didn’t take long but what I came up with set the tone for the rest of the week. I thought about my health, being strong, and exercising regularly. I thought of all the reasons I wanted this and how amazing I would feel accomplishing it. And then I threw away all the evidence I was coming up with as to why this wouldn’t work, why it hasn’t worked in the past. And I realized, I was trying to get in shape, eat right and get healthy using the strategies that worked for me 8 years ago. And you know what???
I don’t want to do it that way. It sounds awful.
So I decided the way I get in shape and healthy at 47 is a totally new way. It can be easy AND fun. I am not the same person I was 7 years ago so why would I apply old rules?
Especially when I don’t feel like it.
So, I started with the most non-painful approach I could. I went to the gym, not for an hour, not for a class, just for as long as it took me to row 2000m, do 2 reps on the ab torture machine of death, and 1 mile on the bike (yup- just one mile, not even 6 minutes.) And then you know what I did??? I LEFT. I drove 13 min to the gym, was there for 21 min, and drove 13 min home.
And I felt like a badass. Not because of my grueling workout of course. After all, I purposefully made it NOT grueling so I wouldn’t avoid doing it again. I lowered the barrier to entry. No, I felt like a badass because I broke ALL my own rules about the gym AND I became a rower (with the assistance of a 90 second YouTube instructional video).
I broke down all my self created mental obstacles that were keeping me stuck.
And then I did it 5 more days in a row.
So why do I tell you this? So that you can have the same amazing experience of course! Maybe not with a rowing machine but maybe with some other dream that seems to keep getting further and further away.
The best part is, once you have one breakthrough, once you’ve drunk the kool aid, you look for more and more opportunities to challenge those thoughts that you believe as true but are really just nonsense you made up yourself.
It’s not a waste of time to spend more time commuting to and from the gym than the amount of time you are actually there.
You don’t have to stick to the things you have always done before.
You don’t have to take off your sneakers, put on tight leggings, put back on your sneakers and THEN go to the gym… you can workout in scrub pants!!!
I know it sounds crazy but that was my second big breakthrough this week- it came from the question “What part of this is annoying to me and how can I solve for THAT? How can I make this even easier? So yes, I am the crazy nurse on the ergometer (that’s what we rowers call it) in scrub pants and a workout tank, sweating and gritting her teeth.
So what’s the moral of the story? YOU CAN HAVE YOUR DREAMS! Even if you’re busy, even if your kids are busy, even if work is less than fantastic.
You know the steps, you just have to think about it a little bit. I promise the first step is as easy as that, just thinking, dedicating time to slow down and decide what you really want. If you get stuck figuring it out, ask a friend to help you brainstorm. I asked my coach for help and she was able to see assumptions that I have that I wasn’t able to see myself. Question everything, every reason that it won’t work and start looking for ways that it CAN. Even ridiculous ideas get the creative juices going and break your brain out of overwhelm.
Leave defensiveness at the door, don’t argue FOR your limitations. Go all in on believing there is a solution and commit to finding it. Start with one, minimally painful step.
Maybe you too can be a rower.
I’ll see you at the gym, you know how to find me.
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