Last week my husband and I had some space to think.  There are some things that we want to achieve. So we used our space to think about the way we wanted to shape our daily lives to accommodate and perpetuate these achievements.  These achievements were focused on physical self care, and financial accountability.

So we made a plan.

For the record we are great at making plans and not sticking to them as most of us are.  Recently I read a book and the author, Rachel Hollis, was talking about this very thing. She talked about keeping the promises we set for ourselves.  I said to my husband, what if we take this week by week. Can we keep a promise to ourselves for one week?

We had three promises.

  1. Keep track of our finances so that we can live within the goals we set.
  2. Have a weekly family team meeting between the two of us so that we can check in and adjust as needed and have the time to look at our finances.
  3. Exercise every morning – we each set our own goals.

The hardest of these for me would be the exercising in the morning.  On my first day, the alarm went off. It was hard. My sleepiness was heavy and I cringed at myself for setting this goal.  Then something happened. It occurred to me that, in fact, it wouldn’t always be this hard. That changed things. It won’t always be this hard. This gave birth to a new way of thinking. Can I get up today in this amount of hardness and likely tomorrow and the next three days so that next week it won’t be so hard.

Rachel Hollis also said something that was interesting that led me to this new way of thinking.
She said:

When things are hard we reach for our lowest bar.

That makes sense. Then she said that our lowest bar is our highest level of training. In my case today, getting up was hard. My highest level of training to that point had been to convince myself that I could find other time to work out and to go back to bed.  My goal right now is not perfection. My goal right now is change my highest level of training. Today, I dragged my butt out of bed 10 minutes later than I was supposed to, but my butt was out of bed which is a new level of training. And I will keep doing this until my highest level of training is getting out of bed on time, and then I will improve the exercise I will do.  Like stair stepping success.

So many health and wellness goals are set to perfection right out of the gate.  And we we trip over that first step we resort back to our highest level of training which is missing the first step.  We have to re-think this.

My goal is to get up at six am and walk for 30 minutes.  I got up at 6:15 today and walked for 15 minutes. I did not meet my goal, but I did surpass my highest level of training which is doing nothing at all.  So I did better than last week and that gives me hope for what’s next. The thing about training is that it gets easier as you go along. Think of lifting weights.  We get stronger and what used to feel too heavy and too hard over time feels easier.

Changing our lifestyle habits is similar.  Maybe your goal is to make half of every plate fruits and vegetables.  Maybe you only achieve that for this week’s lunches, but that’s a new level of training for you that becomes second nature over time.  Once that is second nature you can move on to dinners. We don’t have to fix everything about ourselves in a day. We wouldn’t expect that of other people and we shouldn’t expect that of ourselves.  

What is your highest level of training that you revert to when life gets hard?  What promise do you want to keep for yourself this week? Or maybe you need to keep your promises day by day. And are you willing to take it step by step.  Are you willing to relapse sometimes and get back to it?