The Only Question You Need to Ask Yourself—5 Day Streak (Week Three)

October 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

It’s hard for me to believe that this is Week Three of my 5 day streak. If you want to know the details of how I started this from Day One go HERE.

It all started with me deciding to set one extremely small goal and do it for 5 days only.  This was after having spent over a year trying to get back “on track”.  The 5 day streak worked brilliantly if I do say so myself.  So well that I decided to do another 5 days.  That went so well that I am now starting out my 3rd set of 5 days.  That means my 5 days streak is going to turn into 15 days by Friday.  It has restored to me a sense of hope and enthusiasm that I have not felt in a very long time.

And it all started with me asking myself the ONE question that changed it all:

What am I WILLING to do every day for the next 5 days?  

I’m not going to lie.  I can do 5 miles.  But I’m not willing to.  At least not right now.  I think I might be one day.  But today I am not.  I’m not even willing to do 2 miles every day.  Two weeks ago I wasn’t even willing to do ONE.  Call me lazy.  Call me stubborn.   Call me apathetic.  Call me whatever you want.  But you know what you can’t call me right now? A LIAR.  Because  I may not be willing to do 2 miles right now—but at least I’m honest about it.

And when I’m deep down honest with myself that’s the truth.  I’m just not willing.  And if we were all honest with ourselves we’d realize that many of us are not.  We can make any excuse we want but if we are riding the couch instead of doing something every day to move us forward then it all boils down to that.  We just are not willing.

If you want to make progress, you have to get honest.  You have to stop berating yourself.  Stop shaming yourself.  And just accept yourself.  Totally accept yourself as you are right now.  If that means you have to look yourself in the mirror and say…

“I am only willing to walk in place for one minute every day”

Well then FINE….that’s where you’re at.  And accept it.  Don’t call yourself a loser.  Don’t tell yourself to straighten up and stop being such a lazy piece of junk.  Just say…

“Well ok then.  Ok then, honey!  That’s where your mind is at.  So that’s where we’ll start.”

And then DO THAT.  Do it every day for 5 days.  And applaud yourself.  Celebrate it like a major victory.  And then maybe take the weekend off.  And reevaluate.  Ask yourself this question again

What am I willing to do every day for the next 5 days?

And if I’m being honest with you–the answer will probably be the same.  It may seriously STILL be “One minute”.  And if that’s the case then you look yourself in the mirror and say ,”Well then good for you.  Good for you!!” and then do that minute all over again for the next 5 days.  Take off the weekend and think it over.  Ask yourself the question again and see what happens.

I started this two weeks ago.  I got HONEST.  And I stopped the shaming.  I stopped the berating.  And I just accepted myself as I was.  The answer was half a mile.  And that was it.  So I did it.  I did that half mile every day for 5 days.  And at the end of that week, I asked myself again.  What am I willing to do?  And you know what? The answer was still half a mile.  I wasn’t willing to up it.  I thought about it.  But then I had to get real.  I had to ask myself….Are you really going to do it?

Because there’s almost nothing worse for your progress then setting a goal you won’t attain.  That makes you feel WORSE.  You don’t need that.

YOU DON’T NEED THAT

I can’t say that enough.  I can’t emphasize it enough.   Because you can achieve just about anything you want to achieve.  You can run marathons and lose hundreds of pounds.  You can overcome whatever is holding you back.  But FIRST you NEED to experience what victory feels like.

I mean really experience it.  Experience,  feel, absorb, and be fully aware of how it feels deep down in every part of your mind, heart and soul.

Because many of us have been beaten down by life.  We’ve tried and failed a thousand times.  We’ve had people outside of ourselves and voices in our own head shame us.  Berate us.  And tell us a thousand times that we will never make it.  That we’re losers.  That we’re failures.

So you need to experience the feeling of accomplishment FIRST.   You must experience it first.  And you must experience it FAST.

Most importantly, you must experience it DAILY.   Repeatedly.  Over and over again.  So that you learn to believe again.

You can’t wait to feel accomplished.  You can’t wait to feel like a winner.  And that is what every diet and every fitness plan almost always asks us to do.  They tell us to delay winning . Delay victory.  Until you see it on the scale.  Until you achieve some ability that will take who knows how long to achieve.

NO–You need it now.  Because now is when you feel unmotivated.  Weak.  Lost.  Doubtful.  And totally unmotivated.  You need someone to show you that you are capable.  You need someone to give you a sense of confidence.  You need someone to believe in you. And who better to be that person in your life THAN YOU!

So give yourself permission to do what almost no one will tell you to do.  Do not ask yourself what you SHOULD be doing right now.  Do not ask yourself what you OUGHT to do.  Don’t even ask yourself what you CAN do.

Ask yourself what you are WILLING to do.  Not today.  Not tomorrow.  But EVERY DAY for 5 days.

Because that’s all that really matters.  It’s only what you are willing to do EVERY DAY that is going to matter.

And then know this—what you are willing to do WILL change.  Trust me on that.  I PROMISE.  It will grow.  So it doesn’t matter how little you are willing to do right now.  It simply doesn’t matter.  Because however small that is—it will grow.  However little that is—it will change.

This week ( after 2 weeks), I am NOW willing to do 1 mile.  I’m not willing to do it fast.  I’m not willing to go at any pace other than what I feel like.  Sometimes I am not even willing to put on my tennis shoes.   This morning it’s Monday.  And I took my preplanned two days off.  Today I didn’t feel much like doing anything at all.  But I was WILLING to do 1 mile.  At my pace.  Even if it meant shuffling in my bedroom slippers at a pace of 26:51 miles per hour.

And I did JUST that

photo 2-4

 

 

Does that seem ridiculous to some people? Probably.  But guess what? I’m not going to do what I can, should, or ought to do anymore.   Because it doesn’t stick.   It takes MUCH longer for me to do things from internal motivation.  Because my personality is not very often internally motivated to do physical exercise by nature!! But I’ve learned that I actually don’t hate it IF I do only what I am willing to do.  And oddly enough…it grows naturally from there!!! Totally naturally without anyone yelling or screaming or berating me.  Without me shaming myself into it.  Just naturally it springs up from within.

BUT IN TIME.

A few weeks ago I walked 3/4 of a mile at the pace of 27:09 minutes per mile.

Today I walked  1.10 miles at the pace of  26:51 minutes per mile.

So while it all seems slow, it shows an increase in what I am doing.  It shows an increase in my internal motivation and willingness.   That means that in the course of 2 weeks I have become willing to walk an additional .40 of a mile and I have become willing to increase my time by .58 of a minute.  And this springs from within me.   And you know the best part?  The best part is that I don’t feel the least bit pressured.  I don’t feel unhappy or put upon.  I don’t feel stressed out.   In fact, I actually feel joy.  I look forward to my walks.  I’m enjoying them.  I absolutely LOVE that I feel that way too!!! And I feel kind of empowered that I have given myself permission to do what I want to do.  And I love that it’s working.  I’m giving myself the gift of patience.  I’d rather improve slowly at my own pace than become disillusioned by what other people’s standards say I should do and end up right back on the couch for another year or two.  And in reality, I set out to walk only 1 mile today but I ended up doing 1.12 miles.  That proves once again that if we start with what we are willing to do—then what we are willing to do will grow in time.

This week my 5 day streak includes the following:

  • Walk/jog one mile AT WHATEVER PACE I CHOOSE for 5 days straight.
  • Do one round of liquids in the morning (Coffee, Water, Atkins Shake) for 5 days straight.

 

Did you notice that my ‘food’ plan for this 5 days has not changed?  Well you’re right.  I have done so well with the 5 day streak in the morning that I am feeling good about continuing it.  It is getting easier as ALL THINGS DO when we give ourselves the gift of time.   I am now seeing the benefit of allowing yourself plenty of time to internalize the process of building habits.  Even if it is something you used to do.  It takes time to reestablish the habit.  I asked myself the question once again–

What am I WILLING to do for the next 5 days? And the answer was the same.  In order to remain joyful, peaceful and not pressured—I am willing to do the morning routine for 5 days.  But at the moment I am not fully willing to commit to more.  Now here is the interesting thing.  Last week I actually did protein shakes all day long one of the days by choice.  And that is great.  But if I’m being honest with myself I’m not confident enough to say I would be willing to do that all week.  I do like though that at least one day it sprung naturally from me.  It just happened.  I just found it inside of me to do that.  That means the internal motivation IS growing.

Let’s be kind to ourselves.  Let’s plant little seeds and water them faithfully with patience.  Let’s love ourselves a little more and hate ourselves a little less.

And let’s do that every day for the next 5 days.

Then just see if beauty doesn’t begin to bloom in your life once again.

photo 1-17

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherri October 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm

I LOVE this! You’re so right about diet & fitness plans telling us to delay our accomplishments. That is why this time around I have absolutely refused to call what I’m doing a diet or a fitness plan. It’s a lifestyle change. I’m learning to live life to the fullest & be healthy. I celebrate every pound, every inch, every half-mile, everything! Because at the end of the day, these are things I didn’t accomplish before so they are worth celebrating. We must celebrate them all! And lets not forget to celebrate the accomplishments of our friends, you never know when they need that little boost that maybe someone else can provide. And when we fall, & occasionally we will, we will celebrate that we got up & started again! Really it’s just celebrating life, right?

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Ronda October 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

You wrote what I’ve been thinking for the past couple weeks.
I’ve been saying OVER AND OVER, like a broken record “you’re not hungry” and “you don’t need that” every day. It sucks that this is our life, but it is what it is. I don’t have the metabolism of the people who can eat what they want and not gain weight. That is not my reality. I must learn to live with that.
Good for you and thanks for the inspiration!
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Anneli Byrd October 28, 2014 at 6:11 pm

YAY!!!!! I love it when somebody preaches common sense. I really think one of the biggest problems for me is when I try to start where I’m not. Weight Watchers is a prime example of this. I wish I could stick to their plan, I wish it so much that I convince myself that I really AM at their starting point. Of course I always give up—because I was never really there to begin with!! The ONLY time I’ve ever successfully lost weight and kept it off for keeps was when I gave up completely and ONLY did what I was WILLING to do that day. Sometimes it was only take a vitamin. Sometimes I did quite a lot. Over time, I lost 25 pounds and it has stayed off with no effort because it was really ME who lost it–not weight watchers, not calorie counting, but ME.

The only rule I made for myself—and this was super important, was that I wouldn’t NOT do something healthy if I felt like doing it. I had to make this rule, because resentment is a real issue for me. For example, I like apples just fine. But if I “have” to eat one, then I get mad because I think of how much more I’d like to have a brownie instead. Same with taking a walk, drinking water, or any other healthy habit. I LIKE doing these things. It’s not a problem to do these things–UNLESS I allow some random diet program to make an issue out of it for me. Bottom line—if I feel like doing something right–I try to make sure I really do it and enjoy it!!
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Kathy October 29, 2014 at 6:03 am

I’ve been lurking here since the early days and this is my favorite post of yours ever. Sometimes I need to hear things like this to remind myself to keep going. I have yo-yo dieted for so many years. After giving up sugar and grains, I’ve maintained for 2 years within a normal BMI. The exercise portion is the way I stay on course. Ugh, it would be so easy to quit. Thanks for the burst of inspiration 🙂 Kathy

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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) October 30, 2014 at 1:34 pm

My fear with “Can I do this for 5 days?” is that I’ll come up with a task like “can I eat 20 doughnuts a day for five days?” and then do it. 🙂

But in all seriousness, I love the newfound…enthusiasm (is that the right word? Diligence? Discipline? Determination . . . and are those the 3 D’s of Apparation?)
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