Are We There Yet? How to Practice Patience with Lifestyle Change
I make it a point not to discuss 3 things:
Politics, Religion, and CrossFit.
Wait. Add one more: Parenting.
People feel very strongly about these topics, which is usually my cue to stand far away.
I'm not one to engage in heated debates. I'm also not one to overly discuss my personal life. It's just not part of my personality. It offers up a certain vulnerability that is out of character for this Alpha female.
Still, I've been pondering patience lately. Specifically, how strange it is that I have patience in spades in some areas of my life, while lacking in others.
Where I Could Use Work at Patience
Exhibit A of where I occasionally lack at patience: as a mom. Here's where I start talking about parenting and my personal life soooooo this is fine! Deep breath! Here we go.
I find it ironic that as parents, we tell children, while say, waiting at a doctor's appointment,
"I know it's hard to wait. Be patient."
Yet, when the same child spills two drinks all over himself in a 15-minute time span, we find it difficult to heed our own advice. Not a drop of patience to be found. Just sticky juice. Everywhere.
Raising small children is an everyday battle to practice what I preach, and I feel like I fall short when I'm busy or stressed.
Like yelling at my kids in the highest decibel, "You guys! Stop yelling!"
Or explaining to my daughter that she's responsible for putting her clothes away, while I have a growing Mt. Everest of clothing on my ironing board.
Also, I have zero advice for how to practice patience when I'm trying to get my kids in the car. Every day, my neighbors hear me yell-whisper forcefully through clenched teeth,
"Oh, I'm sorry. Did I say take a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk? Cause I'm fairly certain I said get. in. the. car. Like 1,000 times."
Basically, I feel like I'm living that whole "Do as I say and not as I do" -quote. Patience is a massive motherhood/life lesson, but I'm trying to practice. It's just that it's so damn hard to be 100% patient while dealing with small people that require your assistance at almost everything.
Kids, man. We just have to get them to age 18 and then we're good, right? ;)
An Area of Opportunity?
But alas! Don't fret! There is a perfect place to harness your energy and improve. Where you ask?
On YOURSELF, girl. Practice patience with yourself first, especially when it comes to your health and fitness journey.
I see a lot of my fellow moms being super hard on themselves about losing weight after having a baby, or trying to eat perfectly while constantly shuttling their kids to/from school and activities.
Creating new habits and transforming your lifestyle into one that you love requires time and - you guessed it - patience. You have to accept that there will be delays along the way, and stay the course in spite of them. Here are some good reminders if you're in the process of changing your lifestyle.
Take Responsibility for Yourself
If you want your life to change, it won't happen FOR you. It's ON you. Period. Excuses be damned because there is no room for them here. (Isn't this just what we tell our kids?) We have to take responsibility for ourselves: for how we nourish our bodies and how often we are moving them. Make the commitment to yourself and don't look back.
Make a Plan.
I'm a crazy, type-A planner that has an actual planner. You know, the things with paper in them? I know it's old school, but I hand-write everything. This may not work for you, but find what does. Plan out the things that will make you successful, like when you can fit in your workouts, when you can grocery shop, and all the other stuff you have to get done. Neither Rome nor your to-do list was conquered in a day, but I promise - it will keep you sane. And sometimes seeing it in black and white actually makes it way less scary; you see that you've been making a mountain out of a mole hill.
Have a general (or very specific, whichever caters best to your personality) idea of what you will be eating and how you will be working out. Schedule day to day, or plan for the week. Again, this is a totally individualized process and you get to create a process that works for you. What works for Sally won't necessarily work for you. (You never liked Sally very much anyway.)
Practice - Then Practice Some More
Patience is a practice. Breaking old habits takes time and effort.
Under emotional duress or physical exhaustion, it's just hard sometimes to eat clean and move. When life becomes stressful and busy (and it will), we just have to keep practicing.
Trust the Process
Be patient with the process! Change is coming. Change takes time. Change requires continual effort on your part. Never throw in the towel at the 1st or 100th defeat. Keep pushing. Results drive results. When you start to see and feel the fruits of your labor you will be given renewed energy to make this lifestyle work for you.
I'll close with a verse from one of my favorite poems, "A Psalm of Life" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
"Let's us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait."
I know it's hard. Be patient.