The Discomfort of Change vs. The Discomfort of Staying the Same

Change can be difficult, really difficult, especially when it’s comes down to making a big decision.

The thing about change is that true change only happens when there’s a large amount of discomfort: enough discomfort to make the discomfort of changing seem insignificant. Changing your life can be scary, right? It has felt that way to me, often. In 2010 I was uncomfortable in my body and uncomfortable in my life. I wanted to change, and theoretically I knew how, but I was afraid of the discomfort that I knew would come with those changes. Losing weight is hard work!

discomfort-760x760After I’d lost the weight I faced another big change. I wanted to start this blog but I was terrified no one would like it. That I’d sit here writing week after week to an “empty room”. While I don’t get as many comments as I wished I would get, I know you’re reading. I heard from someone who reads that HER friend was talking to her about my blog. I’ve never even met this person but she reads my blog! ❤ That was the coolest thing!

Now I face another time in my life where I may have to change. It’s unrelated to this blog, so don’t stress! With A Measured Life I’ve found my voice, and with that I think I’ve found what brings me joy. Cooking, creating and photography make me happy. Sharing these things with you guys makes it even better. But still there are parts of my life that I know need change, and it got me thinking.

There may be parts of our life that we’re not happy with. We may even desire to change those things about ourselves, but we are afraid of the discomfort that these new aspects of our lives might bring. So we wait, biding our time and dealing with the discomfort of staying the same. You want a new mattress, for example. Your old one is starting to get uncomfortable, but you don’t want to have to shell out $1000 for a new mattress set. So you stick with it. Soon one of the coils starts to poke you in the back when you sleep. You wake up achy every morning, but knowing how you’ll have to work extra hours to pay for the new mattress. Finally the spring pokes through and cut your skin and you’ve had enough. You make the change, you buy the mattress and sleep better and wonder why the hell you waited so long.

At this point I’m still sitting on the fence. There are cacti on one side of the fence, and thorned bushes on the other. I haven’t decided which sort of pain I want to deal with right now. Making the actual decision is always hard for me, but once I figure out which I want more I commit and go headlong into whatever I choose.

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I’m not quite ready to evolve, but I am so close to it I can taste it. I know it’s coming, I can feel it, like bones aching from a growth spurt that’s on its way. I’m almost ready.

It’s like this for many people, I’m sure. I’d love to hear what you’re struggling with in regards to change, and how you deal with the indecision that comes with it. Please share in the comments!

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Success Comes From Building Healthy Habits

motivation1“Andrea, what do you do when you don’t feel motivated?” is a question I get asked.  A LOT.

For a long time I didn’t really know how to answer. I’d simply respond with “I just do it anyway.” (And, I may be guilty of saying “Motivation is bullshit.” Because I really think it is.)

But recently I read a friend’s blog on SparkPeople.com about motivation and healthy habits, and suddenly it dawned on me:

I don’t think about motivation, because eating well and exercising has become a habit.

As of this writing I’ve logged into SparkPeople.com every day for the past 819 days. That’s more than two years solid of tracking my food and working out at least 5 days a week.

Are all my workouts stellar? No.

Is all my eating perfect? Hell no!

But I do it. Every. Damn. Day.

I get up in the morning and while I sip my coffee I diligently track my food. Lunch (almost always leftovers from the night before) and dinner come first, then I decide what I’ll eat for breakfast, depending on both mood and macros (protein/fat/carbs). Snacks get filled in throughout the day, but I always start the day off with my main meals tracked. It’s a ritual for me now. Eating the same food for lunch as I did for dinner the night before takes the guesswork out of macros and planning 7 additional meals per week.

Just after that, six days a week, I get my workout on. On the rare occasions I don’t, I notice a change in my mood. Working out helps my mental health as well as my physical health. I don’t work out for long periods of time; on average my workouts are 30-40 minutes long. But if I sweat and get my heartrate elevated it usually means I have a good day, emotionally at least.

youareoneworkoutPlus, I feel way more energized throughout the day if I workout in the morning.

Many people look at eating right and working out as something they HAVE to do to achieve their goal of losing weight. The problem is in the perspective there: instead of suffering through something you hate to get to an end point, focus needs to shift on learning to love the PROCESS. This will make the goal a beneficial side effect.

A few years ago I was having a talk with a friend about my weight loss. I had just hit goal and I was talking about how I was both the same person and a different person altogether. I’m physically different now, obviously. But I’m also recreation-ally different. I used to watch tv and play video games (I am NOT BASHING THESE THINGS, for the record. I still love a good video game and I watch tv regularly). Now I prefer to be out and about outside with my walking group, or I’ll jog in place while I watch tv because I can’t sit still for so long. At work I’ll go for a quick walk around town or I’ll take my dog Bingley for an extra walk if it’s an especially nice day, not because I have to, but because I enjoy it! The old me wouldn’t have gone out and done something with strangers, but now I go to Adventure Runs in the summer and I joined a science fiction book club. I have all this things I love to do now that I’m physically able to. And at the same time, everything that made me who I am up until I was 30 and decided to make the change is still there. It’s an amazing dichotomy.

The journey is the real adventure, not the goal. I’d love for you to join me. 🙂

Here are some great tips for creating healthy habits from Active.com:

1. Create Your Goal

What’s your goal? Make it a reasonable one. Dropping 30 pounds in a month may not be reasonable goal, but 5 to 10 pounds might be.

2. Be Specific

How many pounds would you like to lose? What part of your body would you like to see toned? Is there a certain date or event you would like to reach your goal by?

Figure out what you want and write it down.

3. List the Step

Once you’ve established a goal, make sure you list the steps it will take to achieve the goal.

For example, instead of just saying you want to get in better shape, plan to work out three days a week. Or, instead of saying you want to eat healthier, plan to eat three servings of vegetables per day.

4. Write Down Your Goals

Put your commitment in ink. Permanently promise yourself that this goal comes first.

5. Write Down “Why”

Don’t just write the goal itself. Write down why it’s important to you, too.

6. Place Your Goal Somewhere Visible

Place it on the refrigerator, in your car, or on the bathroom mirror so you can see your goal every day.

7. Mark Your Calendar

Write in the times and dates you will complete each workout. If you put it in your schedule, you’re more likely to commit and make it a routine.

8. Stay Positive

For each day you complete a workout, draw a star on your calendar. Or, better yet, get yourself some gold stickers. You did a great job, so mark it down.

9. Read and Reread

Continue to read your goal and steps each day to make sure you’re on track.

10. Congratulate Yourself Along the Way

For example, you lost 10 pounds in 30 days, reward yourself with a massage.

What are the healthy habits YOU want to create? How will you make them happen? Let me know in the comments.

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