Breakthroughs | Pushing AND Pulling

I wanted to end this week on something I discovered yesterday. 

As you know, back around November I decided to hit the reset button and really make a lasting change in my life. The day after Christmas, I had my first epiphany after speaking with one of my longest friends about my life as it was in that moment, and he basically told me the last couple of years happened the way they did because I don't have a vision for myself

The full details of this are over on In This Life, but that was the first breakthrough of this journey, and it helped. I came up with the vision for my life in the next 2-3 years, and it has brought me a focus and hope I have never had before. 

Yesterday, I had another bit of a breakthrough. I have been pushing hard since the end of November. I have this idea that has carried over from my childhood, that if you just PUSH it will work. If you're not pushing, you're a failure. 

I was sitting at my desk a bit frustrated with daily work 'ish, sore from running, and generally tired. I wanted to go home and get in a bubble bath, not schlepp to the gym in traffic and run in a noisy place that's hot and crowded. I LOATHE the gym for running and since my treadmill blew up, the gym is the only way I can run during the week because it's dark, and Georgia has something against sidewalks. 

I had other emotional things bubbling up and I was getting overwhelmed because I was starting to feel guilty and like a failure for not pushing through. So I decided in the last 20 minutes or so of my workday to get out my journal and just start processing some of these feelings. 

First of all, that move alone was huge. I usually just decide to sit in my own head forever and spin over feelings instead of thoughts. There really is a difference. By working through it in my journal, it helped me separate everything out. The first thing was a pull against the push. This life is about balance. I pushed for the last two days, my body hurt, and I was feeling terrible, so something wasn't working. Finally, I allowed myself to admit in my jounral that I hate the gym and running after a 10 hour day. So how do I fix this? I can't afford a brand new treadmill right now and not running until I can is not a good idea. Slogging to the gym and running on tired legs is making me miserable and I'm tired because it's screwing with my sleep to run that late. I just spent the last month getting my insomnia under control, so that seems like a bad trade off. 

I'm using running as an example because it's the simplest one to convey. I sat there and wrote out how I honestly felt, my frustrations, my guilt, my feeling like a failure because I really didn't want to push through it and go to the gym. 

And eventually, a solution presented itself. I can go back to running early in the morning on a safe patch of a quiet street in the neighborhood. It's not ideal, but it's a way to get the running I need in at the hour I'm freshest. Take a day off, let your body rest as it's TELLING you to do, and get back on the horse. Push AND Pull. Balance. 

As I wrote and processed other things going on within me, I noticed the common thing was still the biggest thing I need to work on, and that's patience. It took a whole year for me to have the realization that things needed to shift for the future and a lot of things that I do need to change. I am not going to correct everything in 7 weeks. That's a stupid made-up notion with its only direction leading to burn out or frustration to the point of totally giving up. As long as I'm plugging away bit by bit each and everyday towards the goals I want to achieve, that is good enough. It's more than I did for all of last year. 

It's such a hard wiring to undo. Grind! Hustle! Go! Go! Go! 

Don't get me wrong, that HAS to happen. Hard work and dedication are the only things that work. But the key, for me personally anyway, is to not ignore when it's time to coast for a second and give myself the floor and deal with whatever my mind and body are telling me I need to deal with. If I need to go home, play with my dogs, and chill in my sweats watching Grey's Anatomy, and call out my dirtbag ex-fiance on Instagram (yeah, that happened. FELT GREAT.) instead of being at the gym until 8pm...that's okay. Maybe my resistance is down and I'm about to get a cold, or I'm a bit tired because I didn't rest very much last weekend. 

Your body and emotions don't lie. Your expectations and denial do. Nothing that took time to become a certain way is going to be undone in a less amount of time because you took a day off or decided to take care of yourself when all signs were pointing to you really needing it. 

I think back to last April when I really needed to be doing what I've been doing these last couple of months. Instead of coming up for air, being kind to myself, and thinking about everything, I just yelled, "I'm FINE! Totally FINE!" While clutching a box of emotional and physical band-aids that eventually fell off and that proverbial box of band-aids was completely empty by the second week of December. 

Did it take a year to gain weight? It'll take a year to get that weight off in a sane way. 

Did it take a year to wreck your relationship? It'll take a year to repair it or yourself. 

You get what I'm saying. The all or nothing attitude is what sinks you. That trip through the drive-thru didn't derail your entire health and fitness progress since the New Year. You wanted a damn burger and fries. So freaking what? Fucking #YOLO, you have to live. It's a problem if you turn it into self hatred and use it as a catalyst to burn your slow going success to the ground. 

My night was exactly as I described and I woke up this morning in a better place than I think I would have if I had pushed against what my body was telling me. Over the weekend, I'll probably have great runs because I went with balance over pushing, and it will bring momentum into the next week instead of heaving around an internal struggle. 

Push AND pull. Like I always say, an engine that redlines eventually blows up and needs to be replaced and rebuilt. I'm over the rebuilding part. Time to take care and not see maintenance and rest as the enemy. 


Jennifer Gulbrandsen