Put me in, Coach!
“Put me in, Coach. I’m ready to play.” Like the John Fogerty song, I was all jazzed up. I was problem solving like a chess master, strategizing my life for the big win. Obstacles were coming up and I was destroying them with the enthusiasm of a teenager one whack-a-mole smash away from winning an oversized stuffed animal at a carnival. I was eating right, back to the gym, putting up backsplashes in my kitchen, reorganizing my pantry, getting out of work on time… doing all the things. Last week was AMAZING.
And this week has been beautiful. The weather is shifting and with it comes the colorful leaves, brisk nights, pumpkin spice coffee…
and the “seasonal shift” week of migraines that I get every fall.
It feels like the momentum of last week comes to a screeching halt. No gym. No getting out of work on time. No home activities. No problem solving. No whack-a-mole.
Not what you expected? Here’s the thing. I haven’t fallen off the wagon. I don’t need to reset. I don’t need to get back on the horse or recommit.
I just need to stay in the game.
I know there are lots of people who talk about restarting. I probably even talk about it sometimes. But the idea of restarting is very rarely free of judgement. There is always that sneaking suspicion (or outright belief) that you should never have stopped, that if you were “better” you wouldn’t be in this situation.
The problem with this kind of thinking is then when you try to move forward, you find yourself shackled like Jacob Marley, trying to make progress while dragging your self judgement behind you.
What if instead of restarting we just stayed in the game?
I just sat this week out. I didn’t want to but after playing hard last week and with the weather change and resultant migraines, I was benched.
Nothing went wrong here.
If I go with this thought instead of some judgy falling-off-the-wagon thought then I can be ready at any moment to jump back in- no motivation necessary.
Sure, I might have lost some ground this week. I will consider it a “delay of game” penalty and take the 5 yard loss in stride. It’s just the rules of the game, not some personal moral failure. And truth be told, there were some ways I still stayed in the game this week. I got enough sleep. I tried to present at work and focused on the patient (with the help of a “stay in the game” post-it on my desk). I didn’t weep and wail that I had no energy after work. I did what I could with the tools I had.
And for my bigger goals? I figured out my strategy last week so I am ready to get back on the offensive as soon as possible.
Not every week is going to be filled with breakthroughs and obvious wins. Just stay in the game. It’s a much easier approach.
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