Prepping for the gym this morning and this thought flittered through my mind. It was from a comment in another forum, something that was supposed to be light-hearted and funny yet is not, not really in the context. The friend had written on a forum about how after 3 weeks of working with a trainer and walking/doing the simple program he’d started her on she was feeling very focused and determined to stick with it. And then someone makes a joke about her becoming “single-minded and boring.”
Insert anger-flashing frowny face here.
Rather than informally polling my inner sanctum tribe via email and text, I thought about it and the impact such an ignorant statement has on my blood pressure. The woman writing the initial post is a just returning to work after almost a year off undergoing breast cancer treatment. I do not know the woman who wrote the offensive comment well, but we have been introduced. I am trying to consider the context of her statement and find it does not make me feel better about it. Part of it is ignorance and part of it is defensiveness. I know she has tried and had unsuccessful results with diet and/or exercise in the past, because let’s face it, lifestyle changes sound pretty sexy in theory but are damn hard work and not much fun in the initial launch and adjustment period. A lot of people give up, try something different, give up again, and repeat this cycle until the giving up sticks and becomes their reality. It somehow seems to be far better to have everyone agree and maintain their status quo on the couch.
From my perch right now, I understand that type of thinking. And in truth I have had to put some distance between me and those who share that viewpoint and consciously or unconsciously do things that I perceive as sabotage to my efforts. I know my limits for the negative noise and they are unfortunately not very flexible or very deep. Living with my own incarcerated negative girl, I do not need the type of energy that weakened those boundaries and make me susceptible to doubting myself. A lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into getting me this far along, and I while it is easier to maintain my focus and enjoy the work now, there is a hard realism that reemergence of the unfit, blobby person inside me does not need much to break free.
I admit it: in exercise, I am extraordinarily single-minded. And it is boring to many close friends that I see and communicate with less and less these days. It’s a little sad, but my health has to come first and that means getting enough sleep, getting up every morning and going to the gym, and trying hard to make better, healthier food choices. The volume of hours I spend at the office or working on stuff at home or with my private clients, my availability is more limited and I tend to be more selective about the ways I spend my free hours. Maybe it is boring because I am acutely aware of how I desire to socialize and that I do not want to be listening to the same complaints and issues repeatedly without any sincere attempts to alter the situation. Oh wait, that happened routinely well before the better health quest yet I seemed to have more patience then.
I know I am not blathering on to everyone I interact with about what’s going on in my better health quest – it’s partly why I have this blog, to contain all my need to talk about and work out stuff in my head and jot things down to remember into the future. Then again, a lot of the people I work with and see every day are somewhat health conscious and/or foodies. My goodness, until I started working with this group of associates I never understood how complicated food is or could become in the hands of people who like to cook and play with flavors.
Personally, I think single-minded is the snarky way of describing focused and determined work toward an objective or goal. And because words matter, I was and remain offended by the term and the way it was used. For a hot minute I was really worried about how I may be or have been perceived as well. Not in the single-minded context now so much as from my view on the couch when others were spreading their wings and trying something new. I believe my negative girl view was centered on myself and my own ambitions (or lack thereof), but the way passive-aggressive snark hits me now I fervently hope my rearview is mostly correct.
One of my associates asked me yesterday what turned around my mindset – from negative girl to whatever happy space I dwell in now – and I did not have a clear enough answer for her to satisfy myself (but I am thinking about it, working on it). What I do know is that I am aware enough and far enough from the negative girl outlook to know that the happier version of myself is far more comfortable and enjoyable skin to be in than cowering behind my invisibility cloak. The hard work I put in now put me and my judgment and perception of myself in the highest order of priorities.
Funny how my routine has changed my outlook in so many ways. I understand how committed and focused I am on my exercise pursuits. But rather than boring, I would actually say my single-minded pursuits – if anyone whose opinions mattered to me ever characterized it that way – have given me more depth and empathy about the struggle to make changes in our individual habits. Being more comfortable in my own skin actually makes me feel more interested and interesting.
Maybe changing our mindset is harder than changing our habits. And maybe we do not improve until we include and address that as directly as we do our diet and exercise regimens.
I know it’s worked for me. Once I stopped viewing myself as a failure, incapable of doing things perfectly (well DUH!) and doggedly pursuing practice anyway, I improved. I made mistakes. I picked up bad habits that had to be unlearned. Through that process, though, I learned a lot about body’s workings and how to self correct. Nothing is easy in the better health quest, but I have yet to find dissatisfaction in my pursuits.
Life coach I am not. Positive, hopeful thinker, why not?