The 5 Stages of Bettering Yourself

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My schedule has been so grueling lately that there are times that I wonder why I agreed to put myself through this in the first place. Then, in the same moment I’ll envision where all of this hard work will get me and how I will feel when I’m done with the task at hand.  That’s when I decide that all of the work is worth it and I get that extra boost of motivation to carry on as best as I can.

Any time that I really push myself, whether physically or mentally, I go through the same process…

Stage 1- “I can do this!”

Stage 2- “Oh shit, this is hard!”

Stage 3- “I don’t know if I can do this.”

Stage 4- “Why did I do this to myself?”

Stage 5- “Yay! I did it… What’s next?”

Apparently, I’m addicted to this process. I felt the same way during my undergrad years, I feel like this during a tough workout and sometimes I just feel like this about life in general. But the feeling you get when you push through a tough process and make it to the other side is priceless.

There was a time when I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to even get my bachelor’s degree. Knowing that I was smart enough to accomplish great things but wouldn’t get the opportunity to utilize my skills was stifling. Now, I’m almost done with my master’s degree and as nerdy as it sounds. It’s a dream come true!

That being said, I’m pretty sure the only muscle I’ve been exercising is my brain.

I can feel my body turning to mush and all of the hard work I put into building a strong capable body is slipping away.

I complained about this to my husband as I went over our schedule again to try to figure out a time to fit in some exercise. Brent’s a fire fighter and he relies on his body to get him out of sticky situations so he always gets priority for choosing workout times. Then I have to contend with the girl’s schedules.  I mentioned leaving Penelope at daycare while I worked out after school but Brent pointed out that I would be leaving Penelope with the babysitter for 11 hours if I did that.

“Besides, you look fine. In fact, I think you’ve even lost weight.”

I wanted to hug him and punch him at the same time.

When I weighed myself this morning I weighed 187.2. I’ve lost muscle mass and the only reason I look like I’ve lost weight is because I wear flattering clothes and get dressed up on a daily basis. Besides, it’s not about how much I weigh, it’s about how I feel. I felt ten times better when I weighed 200 pounds but was in good shape. Plus, my mental health needs exercise just as much as my body needs it. Some of my most genius ideas hit me during the throes of a good endorphin boost. But most importantly, I miss it. I need it!

Yesterday, a group of my friends were lifting together at Crossfit Bodywerx in the woman’s strength training class. This is a group of amazing, encouraging, strong women. This class is like a good ladies night out but instead of bonding over wine you’re bonding over your squat technique. The wine comes later. Oh how I wanted to go!

However, both of my girls were sick so I stayed home like a good mother should and tended to them instead.

I spent the day in my pajamas and could feel the walls of my house closing in on me. When I took a break between loads of laundry I looked outside and saw the sun shining for the first time in days. We had the kind of week where you couldn’t step foot outdoors without the inside of your nose freezing instantaneously. Therefore, the  sun was a welcome visitor, even if it was accompanied by a bitter breeze. I looked out the window longingly, I would have given anything to run through that cold breeze letting it sting my face. Brent was at work and my little running partner was drowning in her snot. So if I had tried to strap her in the jogging stroller she would have ended up looking like Dumb and Dumber.

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When I turned away from the window I could feel the crazy starting to set in. I had this uncontrollable urge to climb a tree or do a cart wheel so I settled with turning up the music and having a dance party while I cleaned. Bridget looked up at me from her perch on the couch with blurry eyes like I was an idiot but Penelope joined in.

In that moment I decided that I was tired of simply surviving it was time to start thriving!

Within an hour my house was clean and my toddler was worn out and fast asleep. While she napped I took the chance to curl up with a good book and a hot mug of tea to spend a moment with myself.

This upcoming week isn’t going to get any easier and I realize that I’ve been wasting my days waiting for this particular time to pass. I’ve been waiting until I’m done with my student teaching. I’ve been waiting for Winter to shift to another side of the planet. What a waist of life!

I’ve come to the realization that I’m going to have to push through and make the best of where I’m at. Before I know it the time will have passed and I will have graduated from graduate school. I’ll be able to celebrate by going on barefoot bike rides with my family and tending my garden while Bridget reads in the hammock and Penelope digs for worms. In the mean time I’m just going to have to tuck my chin and trudge on.

I just have to keep my eye on the prize…

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***Do you ever feel like you are just waiting for a certain time in your life to be over before you can actually start living? What do you do to get out of that rut?***