2020 has been a series of wrenching changes. How you handle that sets the tone for who you want to be going forward.
Words to think on
2020 has been a series of wrenching changes. How you handle that sets the tone for who you want to be going forward.
You can hear all the words people say to you, but the proof is in their actions. That is the simple truth. Hey, that was easy. The blog is done!
Wait, what? There’s more?
Yes, there’s more.
When a friend posted that statement earlier this week, I nodded sagely (as we do at memes) and thought, yes, so true (as we do at memes). Then I thought about it some more instead of just scrolling on to the next meme (NOT what we usually do). Yes, it’s true that people tell you one thing, but treat you differently – and it has happened to me. Yes, I have done the same to other people. The main victim I have targeted, though, is myself.
I don’t like going to the dentist. Who does, right? Well, to be honest, I can’t say that I don’t like it – because I don’t do it. In 1988, I was a senior in high school and they x-rayed my wisdom teeth. All good, coming in straight, plenty of room. And that, my friends, is the last time I went to the dentist. Seriously.
I have been blessed with good teeth. I had one cavity as a kid; it was on my last baby tooth which was loose. I brush every day, but only once a day and I don’t floss, mouthwash, etc. Fifteen years or more ago, I was having trouble with one of my wisdoms – it did NOT come in straight – and I had it pulled. Insurance let me go straight to the oral surgeon, so nope – no dentist visit.
Every once in a while I would have some trouble with my other lower wisdom, but it never lasted – until this year. Yes, it’s impacted also and pressing hard against my other teeth. I put it off, and it got worse (wait, what??? Ignoring it didn’t make it better???). Then, of course, COVID happened. I made an appointment and they told me they could move it up if it were emergent. Well, no, I mean, it’s not that bad…
Only now it is kinda bad. So I’m going tomorrow morning to get it pulled. Yes, again, straight to the surgeon, no dentist. I don’t know what my deal is here. I go to the doctor for my annual, and a skin check as well. I eat right, exercise daily, do all these things to get and keep myself healthy – but I ignore my teeth unless they are actively giving me trouble.
So the dentist is a last vestige of what I used to think about that Karl guy. What I would say about myself and how I would treat myself were not the same. I would tell you I was happy, make jokes to deflect, use all the defense mechanisms. In truth, I was pretty unhappy with where I was, who I was, and looking back now I see it even more.
What did I do about it? Well for years and years, I did nothing. Oh, I had big ideas and plans and was going to change this or do that… but nothing ever happened. (Psst – that’s because I never followed through…) Finally, I had enough. Instead of just talking about it or thinking about it, I did make a change. I can tell you this – I have not regretted it one bit. Every day I believe in myself a little more. That’s something I have to watch, and I keep a reminder.
When you are being mistreated, by yourself or someone else, you are being told how that person feels about you. Believe them. Then decide for yourself if you can live with it or need to make a change. That may mean confronting them to try and change how they feel, removing them from your inner circle, or maybe removing them from your life entirely. Whatever it is, when you are ready, make the change.
They have already told you what they think about you. Now you get to change the answer you give yourself!
Photo by u j e s h on Unsplash
“The new normal” is a phrase we hear a lot. Many of the lifestyle changes we see, from some elements of social distancing to an explosion in online grocery shopping, are likely to continue on as people find their way going forward. Online grocery, for example, has been around but wasn’t widely popular before. Now that more people are used to it, it will likely become a regular part of their life. Culture changes and advances over time; it always has. An epic event, a “tree ring” moment if you will, like 2020 and COVID-19, accelerates that change.
There are plenty of book and movie plots about putting someone into a completely new environment. The lack of shared history gives the character a chance to recreate themselves. Sure, you were a nerd in your old town, but with a fresh start you can be one of the cool kids! Set the tone early and you can become anyone you want to be.
It’s a concept I embraced as a teenager. Heck, I actually got to live it for a year even before college! Growing up on a farm near a small town in Iowa, I was awkward and a huge nerd – but the bullying I faced in elementary school was mostly behind me by junior high and high school. Being in a small town (class of 40), there were a lot of blurred lines between the jocks, band geeks, etc.
Junior year, I went to Germany as an exchange student. Suddenly, I was popular. The kids all wanted to talk to me about living in the US, and to teach them American slang. I traveled to Rome, to West and East Berlin (the Wall was still up when I was there), Switzerland, Austria… Such an amazing year. I still did nerdy things but found a way to incorporate them into a marginally “cool” personality.
I came back 10 inches taller (not a typo) with a different appearance and attitude, and largely reinvented myself again for senior year, which rolled into college. The truth is a lot of the “new me” changes I made were not great choices. But I made life long friends, learned a lot about myself (although some of the lessons didn’t take until 30 years later) and became a version of grown-up me.
What I take from all this is we can make a choice. I never exercised before five years ago; now basically every day I do something – a walk, a long run, hills, HIIT – some sort of exercise is a part of my life. I choose (now) to work out and work towards my goals. The alarm goes off at 4:30; I get up and do it and keep a steady schedule. Some days it really sucks and I hate it. But I get up. (I have been going to work most days at both “essential” jobs so I’m not feeling as penned in as others.) Again, it’s your choice. Whatever your body allows, you can do it. If you need to, talk to your doctor or a trainer and find something that works for you.
There was a time I was a “eat the whole sleeve of cookies” guy. Now I might not eat any, but if I do, it’s usually just one. It’s a choice. (I make an exception for my mom’s Russian Rocks. They are my Kryptonite – and I’m good with that!) We are dealing with an experience we will tell our grandchildren about. What story will you tell?
You are being handed a perfect tree-ring moment here to make the changes you want. You just need to choose what to do with it. Start today; do one thing for yourself. Walk, run, bike, dance, sing, paint, clean… Make one change and start a new tree ring. Then get up and do it again tomorrow. Remember, a drought doesn’t end in one day. But without that first day of rain, the drought will keep going.
Sometimes it may seem like I send mixed messages – first it’s all about goals and long-term planning, but then switches to being in the moment. The two are linked, but they aren’t really opposite sides of the coin. Think of it in a military sense (or, if you prefer, a business sense): strategy vs. tactics.
When you set your big hairy-ass goals, you are developing your strategy going forward. Whether it’s run a marathon in the next year, launch a business, become a chef… add to that the high level plan to achieve your goal and bang – this is your strategy. In the marathon example, your goal is the race. You pick one that is a fit for your schedule and plan to build your endurance and mileage over the next 12 months until you are ready to go.
Tactics would be the nuts and bolts. Are you following the Galloway method? What’s your training cycle? What tools do you need – a runner’s watch, better shoes, etc. Do you have a calendar to follow, with 10k, half, other intermediate races as you build up to the finale? This is the step by step plan to achieve your goal – to enact your strategy.
Read that again.
All the high level planning and goal-setting in the world does you no good, if you don’t do the little things every day. I know I experienced that over the years – I would think about all these things I wanted to do, like getting fit, learning to play guitar, starting a business – but I never followed through and did the work. You can talk about it til you’re blue in the face. Unless you get in there and DO it, nothing will change.
That’s what New Year’s Resolutions are all about, right? With a failure rate estimated at 80%, that is the definition of setting a goal without the means, plans, and/or willpower to follow through. So you tell yourself you will do better, this time will be different. Then you don’t. And again. And rinse, repeat. Always a reason, an excuse, a half-hearted “sorry”. Here’s the bad news… whether you do it to yourself, or someone does it to you:
Ouch… Hey, I thought this was about positive reinforcement and support?? Yes, it is. But we have to recognize that until we commit to real change – truly commit to it – we are fooling ourselves. And yes, in a sense, that is manipulating ourselves. The difference is whether you want the end result – or you want the end result so badly you are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.
No one else can decide that you are ready – that would be pushing string. But here’s the cool thing – once you decide you are ready and you commit? No one can stop you. When you believe in yourself and have the right support system, you are pretty much invincible. Your job search, your new business, your marathon training – I’m not saying it will all go off perfectly. But when things go wrong? You fix them and move forward.
First strategy, then tactics. You need to have a goal, a plan. But once you are in the plan, doing the work, “in the weeds” – you have to commit to what is in front of you. When you are fully present, the only mile that matters is the one you’re running right now.
What you did on the last mile, or yesterday, or a week ago may inform your current reality – but you can’t change what happened then. You CAN change how you react today. What may come tomorrow? It can be worrying (overthinkers, unite! And then worry about what will happen if we do…) – but you can’t fix that right now, either. Give everything in your arsenal to today – the only mile that matters.
Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash
At 1DOS Foundation, we love to support folks who are ALL IN. That’s why we are excited to launch Richard’s Racers. Named for my father, Capt. Richard Koelle, this arm of the Foundation will sponsor race fees for candidates. Whether a 5k, a Spartan Beast, or anything in between, if you are committed to changing your life, we are committed to helping ease the financial burden so you can crush your goal.
As you wrap up your night and think about tomorrow, are you prepared to achieve your goals – or is it going to be the same stuff, different day? In the end, progress comes down to commitment – you get up and do it, or it doesn’t get done.
Do or do not. There is no try.Yoda
Yes, that’s right, I’m quoting a Muppet. I mean, I could have used Animal as my motivational speaker, but I went with a true philosopher. Yoda possesses a level of Zen simplicity – and I’m the guy who told you “if you don’t ever run fast, you won’t ever run fast” – so the green guy is clearly my style.
Let’s get back to the point, though. If you are like most of us, you have had stops and starts on your wellness journey. Tried this plan, that diet, joined a gym, made a resolution… Eventually, you reach a point where you are all in, or you are not.
You must unlearn what you have learned.Yoda
You may not be ready for an all in commitment. To change your diet, your life, trust someone, change everything you have known – those are big steps. It’s okay to not be ready. Yeah, I’m not supposed to say that. I’m supposed to tell you “jump in with both feet and go for it.” And yes, I DO think you should go for it – but I’m not you. I can’t say when is the right time for you. You have to decide that for yourself; otherwise I am just pushing string. (Think about it for a second.)
We are told the right and wrong ways to live, eat, exercise our whole lives. The big realization that led to 1DOS Foundation and our online group is that there is no one right answer – but the right answer comes from inside you. One of us has probably experienced at least a part of what you are going through, and can be your 1 Degree of Separation to help you reach your goal.
The truth is you can get stronger, healthier, and improve your life by making small changes. You can change and grow. To a point.
Named must be your fear before banish it you can.Yoda
… I can’t learn anything from you, I can’t read in some fuckin’ book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I’m fascinated. I’m in. But you don’t want to do that, do you sport? You’re terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.Sean Maguire (Robin Williams), Goodwill Hunting
Life is like water; it has a way of finding its own level. At some point, you can’t go any farther or get any better, by doing things halfway. When this happens, whether your fitness journey, your career, or personal life, it’s time to commit or move on. Playing it safe is only going to get you so far. Until you go all in, there is no reaching the pinnacle.
Pro tip: Failure is a real possibility, and that is scary.
If you want to run fast, you have to run fast. If you want to climb the rope, you have to climb the rope. The answer is hard work and dedication. The question doesn’t really matter – whatever your goal is, the answer remains the same. You have to get past the fear and get into who you are, why you are the way you are, and go to work. Yes it’s scary – but the reward is so worth it.
And if you fall down? (Hint – you probably will.) You get back up and go again. After all:
The greatest teacher, failure is.Yoda
Pass on what you have learned.Yoda
While on your journey, when you reach your pinnacle, don’t lose awareness of those around you on their own journeys. Reach out and find someone who needs a hand. When you can bring another person closer to their goals, when you can be that 1 Degree – then you will know you are truly ALL IN.