As the end of another year is upon us, I am considering as I do often, how my life is changing and what I would really like my life to look like. I encourage everyone to take a personal inventory—not only at year’s end, but at least quarterly. What we really want can change considerably in the course of three months. All goals change; they can become more nuanced, they can gather speed, or they can fizzle out.
So what do you really, really want? Every time a client walks through the door at Coaching by G—they enter with some expectation, which can be considered their goal. Some people are excited and motivated to make progress, some dread walking in, some are just checking a box, some are looking forward to seeing friends and some want to make real progress on their Olympic lifts. Regardless of the goal, I guarantee you that we all get what we think we are going to get.
For example, if I dread seeing a client (which, by the way, never happens) because they always bring a narrative about their body and ask questions like “where am I supposed to feel this?” (answer: if done correctly, you are supposed to feel it wherever you feel it), I might make up a story in my mind about how they “show up” as grumpy or defensive. If I do my daily practices of meditation, blessing each person I will meet that day, forgiving them and forgiving myself, asking for patience, humor, compassion, whatever each person needs that day—I will come to work present and I will be open, not guarded. You get to show up as you are and I am ready to receive you in all your glory.
If I get comfortable in my own narrative about the client being a grumpy, defensive person, I may show up armored, anticipating a fraught session, and then become defensive myself. I am not here to anticipate everyone’s mood and react. I am here to choose my state of being and be present and interested in you. That said—some people get the better of me on occasion, so when everyone has gone, I do another blessing. I bless and release the energy that is connected to each and every person who enters my space.
I know that every day in every way I am actually consciously choosing my own experience. If I don’t decide on what I want in advance then I have no choice but to react to whatever comes my way. If I approach my own training session like it’s going to defeat me then I will have that kind of training session—but if I approach my training like I am going to get the most out of it regardless of my condition, then it can not be bad. It can only be what I allow it to be.
When teens say: “my schoolwork is so hard, I have to study all night and never get enough sleep”, and then they get a good grade—they are cementing a pattern. Their truth becomes: I have to be exhausted to get good grades or do well. And sadly, people carry this notion into their careers; the literally insane idea that you must DO more to BE more.
So when I tell the kids to blow off homework, that sleeping and eating are more important—they sometimes reflect back to me that I tell them not to do homework. I mean, technically, that was said, but in the context of what is really important. You will survive without straight As, but you will not survive without good sleep and proper nutrition.
What does this have to do with knowing what you want?
If you know what you really want you will do whatever it takes to get it. But if you believe “if I DO more then I AM more”, you are just doing things that won’t add up to what you really want, because you may have no idea what that is.
You say, I want good grades and I get good grades. I ask, why? What will good grades do for you? What gets you good grades? The more important challenge is to use intellect and creativity to design a new, personal system that allows you to get good grades and leaves room for also living the rest of your life, prioritizing sleep, exercise, and amazing nutrition.
Most people do not consider the vast ability of their creative potential to figure out complex problems. There are infinite possibilities for how to get good grades or solve whatever challenge faces you, of which 99.9999999% you have not considered. Maybe because you are too tired from never sleeping enough and eating fast food and sugary treats.
The point is, by writing down your desires…
No fights with parents or win all fights with parents or whatever…..
The college of my choice
Make Varsity sport
More time for friends
More time for creativity
Time to train more with Giulia 🙂
…you can then ask important questions about what you want and then you have to out-create the habitual.
In the very process of writing down your goals, you will be asking yourself WHY you want these things. Why do you want a later curfew? Why do you want to make Varsity?
You have to consider the meaning that you have given the things that you want.
Some people think if they make a lot of money then people will respect them. Doubtful.
Some people think that if they have a certain kind of job, a certain kind of boyfriend or girlfriend, have big biceps, make good grades, or have a huge wine cellar and a fast car that this is “the LIFE”!
It could be, but only if that was your goal.
Your life will change when you actively CHOOSE what you want every day in every way.
Why do you do what you do?
Why do you take the 6:40pm train every day no matter what?
Why do you run 6 miles on the treadmill every day no matter what?
What do you get out of it?
It’s not good or bad until you decide it is. Until you attach meaning to your actions they are just things.
You, over there, who is a type 2 diabetic. You actively choose to stay that way EVERY DAY.
You, over there, taking pharmaceuticals for any and everything. You actively choose that every day.
You, over there, who is fit. You actively choose that every day.
You, over there, who drinks too much. You actively choose that every day.
You choose your actions and you choose them based on wanting to change the way you feel.
If you have unhealthy or destructive behaviors or patterns, you have assigned meanings to those actions. Assign new meanings! Move on! Choose again! Choose you!
An example is this: you eat an entire large bag of m and m’s (chips, candy, whatever) and then you say to yourself that you are a big fat loser. Remember, just like the good grades scenario, feedback does not equal accuracy. Choose again! Sometimes a bag of candy is JUST a bag of candy. This is not about being a loser or a winner but a human being who sometimes overdoes it. When you are in a habit of overdoing it everyday, then that is really a red flag that you are needing to change the way you think.
You are on the cusp of a bright new year. Choose you. Decide what you want and why, and then go for it. In three months reevaluate. Don’t want to be diabetic anymore? How is that going? What works, what doesn’t? WHY? What is your mindset? Want to feel fit? How will you know what fit is?
Have you ever asked yourself what you ACTUALLY believe in terms of religion, politics, spirituality, etc? Are you considering a world that is your own or a world that was handed to you? Why do you live where you live? Are you connected to the land, the people, etc?
Have you ever questioned why you think that doing more will get you more? And more WHAT? What is enough? How many new friends did you make this year? How many changes have you actively made this year?
These are just questions. Chances are that if you don’t ask yourself these questions you will keep doing the things you do reactively.
When we actively and consciously choose our actions we feel better. We call our actively chosen actions, goals. We get to bigger goals through micro goals. Every day we practice doing the things that are required to achieve the larger goals. We don’t just wake up one day and decide to win an ultra marathon. We train every day and do shorter races and collect data and run a lot of miles frequently until we are running a lot of miles really fast and then we can begin to develop the goal of winning an ultra. We become what we practice. The 80/20 rule applies to all of life.
Pay attention to what is happening in your body.
Whatever we do in life we are affected by our thinking mind. Meditation allows us to
s l o w
the speed of thinking.
There are many ways to meditate and become conscious of what is going on in your own body.
What goes on within your body is worthy of respect and awareness is the birthplace of respect.
Mindfulness practices are active choices of rediscovery of your world. Walk in nature, sit in silence, breathe, lift weights, practice yoga, tai chi, etc……You can develop reverence and respect as you experience your relationship to yourself and to your world. True well-being is based on appreciating your own existence rather than being conditioned by external factors.
When you feed irritation by doing something to get rid of it doesn’t help at all. If you relate to it, though, it can be an expression of well-being. Learning through experiences that you can sustain irritation is a sign of well-being.
The time when you sit with the feeling versus reaching for the martini, the chocolate, the cookies, the video game, television, the iPhone, etc…….There is just no point in suppressing what comes up.
What happens when you just notice how you feel without wanting it to be different?
What happens when you accept the seismic events of your very self? The ripples, the quakes, the itches, the aches, do not disappear when you tune out with booze or others. Neither do they disappear in meditation. In fact, during meditation, sometimes the body gets loud enough for you to hear the signal over the noise of your regular rhythms. When your body is expressing itself it is worthy of respect and reverence.
One thing I strive to help people recognize with the way I teach weight training is that you can do the tough things well. When it is tough, it is not the time to hurry up and get through it. When it is hard, tune in, feel into the difficulty, and KNOW that you can do whatever it is. When it feels difficult, in fact, is the only time you really tune in. All the while you are thinking that you are good at weightlifting when there is no load on the bar, you are engaged in trickery; you are just having thoughts about lifting.
Just remember, there is no lifting if there is no load.