fitness · goals · habits · motivation · self care

Go Team! January 12: Go ahead and grumble

I have said a lot so far about adjusting your practices to meet your needs. I’ve invited you to change or drop anything that doesn’t serve you or that makes you avoid your planned sessions. And I fully stand behind those statements. If you have discovered that you hate the activities that you had hoped would lead you to your goals, then I think it is perfectly fine to adjust them or ditch them.

And, I also think that it is ok to go ahead and grumble through activities or parts of activities that you hate if they aren’t causing you distress/if they don’t make you avoid your practice.

You don’t have to love every part of your workout. You don’t have to be excited to sit in meditation. You don’t need to make every wellness activity into a party.

It’s possible to take actions that will move you toward something that is important to you without making them fun or appealing. You can just do them and check them off your list. Finding fun approaches can make it easier to take those actions but progress does not always require passion.*

I like finding the fun as much as the next person and I often need to make things extra appealing so my ADHD brain can be convinced to do them. Sometimes, however, it’s easier and more straightforward to just trudge ahead through the task at hand. There’s a time and place for both/either, and you can choose the one that serves you best in the moment.

Tangential anecdote that I probably shared before but I am going to share again anyway: Even though I am strongly pro-fun, I have a long history of resisting the idea that everything has to be fun. When I was a Girl Guide in the 80s, one of the Guide laws (at the time) was ‘A Guide smiles and sings, even under difficulty.’ and I HATED that idea. It was bad enough that I might be facing difficulty but the idea that I would have to pretend everything was ok and smile and sing through it? I WAS NOT HAVING IT. I appreciate the sentiment behind it, that a positive attitude can be really helpful in many situations but my super-charged-idea-generating brain immediately presented (and still presents) me with multiple ways that that phrasing could be used against me. I decided that while I would say the law aloud as written, in my head I would consider the law to be ‘If you can’t smile, then just try not to throw up.’ That version worked much better for me, and still does. One of the lessons you can draw from this anecdote is that, yes, I have always been like this. 😉

And you don’t HAVE to have a good attitude while you trudge your activities, either. Sure, a positive attitude can be useful in many situations. And you’ll want to choose who you grumble to/with but you can be, to borrow a local expression, ‘as crooked as sin’ (translation: extremely cranky) and still finish your workout. Stubbornness and being crooked as sin can get you through the hard parts of your practice just as much as smiling and singing will get you through other parts.

a black tank top with white lettering that reads 'I won't quit but I will cuss the whole time.'  The top is displayed on a brown wooden floor.
This is a sentiment that I often employ when I am unenthusiastic about the task ahead. Go on and ask my sparring partner Kevin how often I tell him that I won’t quit but I will curse the whole time. Image description: a screen capture from Etsy shop WithLoveByJessJames of a black tank top with white lettering that reads ‘I won’t quit but I will cuss the whole time.’ The top is displayed on a brown wooden floor.

As you know, my whole coaching schtick is about being kind to yourself while you reshape the bits of your life that cause you unwanted friction. Part of being kind to yourself is recognizing that your life won’t be perfect and you will react differently to various ups and downs – sometimes you will smile and sing under difficulty, sometimes you will make changes so the situation is easier or more palatable, and sometimes you will decide to forge ahead even when you are as crooked as sin and cursing the whole time.

You already have lots of bits and pieces of your life that you do because they need to be done or they serve you well in some way. You don’t worry about your attitude toward a lot of those things because it is kind of beside the point.

Take flossing your teeth, for example. It’s a task that needs to be done but you don’t need to do it perfectly every time. You don’t need to be happy about it and you don’t need to make it fun, you just need to find a way to make sure it happens. Whether that involves creating an enjoyable environment for flossing or cursing your way through the process is your business, you can do whatever works for you in that moment.

Your practices for well-being work the same way.

If you find yourself dreading or avoiding your practice, make adjustments, ditch something, or make it more fun. If you just hate or lack enthusiasm for some parts, you don’t have to learn to love them, you can just do them and curse the whole time.

Today’s Invitation

Today, I am inviting you to go ahead and grumble about anything you don’t like about the process of building your habits. Just be kind to yourself about your grumbling.

Not enjoying every part doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you and it doesn’t necessarily mean that your practice is wrong for you, it just means that you don’t enjoy everything equally. You’ll know the difference between dreading and disliking and you can choose your path accordingingly.

And, as always, here’s your gold star to celebrate your efforts today, whether you are smiling, singing, cursing, or just trying not to throw up while you do them.

This is the eraser on my whiteboard and even though she is smiling, she doesn’t think that you have to smile. In fact, she just glad you are showing up for yourself in whatever form you are choosing today. And she is in favour of cursing the whole time if that’s what serves you best.

a whiteboard eraser shaped like a smiling star emoji is attached to a partially erased whiteboard.
This is the eraser on my whiteboard. I like how the smile is a bit smirky and the expression is a bit tentative but she has shown up in full gold-starriness all the same. She is okay with you being crooked as sin, she still wants to celebrate your efforts today. Image description: a whiteboard eraser shaped like a yellow smiling star emoji is attached to a partially erased whiteboard.

*This kind of reminds me of this writing advice from A.J. Liebling: “The only way to write is well and how you do it is your own damn business.” It’s your own damn business how you approach your practices as long as they serve you well.

About the Go Team! posts:

For the second year in a row, I’ll be posting a Go Team! message every day in January to encourage us as we build new habits or maintain existing ones. It’s cumbersome to try to include every possibility in every sentence so please assume that I am offering you kindness, understanding, and encouragement for your efforts right now. You matter, your needs matter, and your efforts count, no matter where you are applying them. You are doing the best you can, with the resources you have, in all kinds of difficult situations and I wish you ease. ⭐💚 PS – Some of the posts for this year may be similar to posts from last year but I think we can roll with it.

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