Thursday, July 24, 2008

Real Life 101 for the Over-Achiever

TheBoy said to me the other day “You talk big but you have no follow through.” Ouch. But you know what? He’s right. I always have big dreams and big plans but rarely do I have the follow through to see them to the desired end results. For example, when we first became engaged I had roughly 9 months to get into shape. I researched bridal boot camps and workouts, checked into ways to better my diet and we joined a gym in our new hometown. Did I get into shape in the following 9 months? Nope. I even managed to GAIN about 15 pounds in those months. Awesome.

So right before the wedding, when I realized that I was indeed going to be a huge fat ass on my wedding day, I came up with a new plan. The “best shape of my life before 30” plan. I figure I have about 9 months before my 30th birthday and TheBoy has about 6 months before the same milestone. I was determined we were going to eat well, exercise and generally give up all things bad for us. The start date of the BSOMLB30 plan was July 8th. I have officially been to the gym twice since then. I am back to eating like a responsible adult and I did quit smoking (woot!) but… I’m not as far along as I thought I would be so I am discouraged.

In a moment of “ah ha!” clarity this morning I realized that this is the key to why I don’t have good follow through. Being discouraged. Because I have all these grand plans and I think I’m just going to snap my fingers and presto I’m healthy and fit and skinny and sexy. But in the real world things don’t work like that. In the real world TheBoy breaks a rib and isn’t super motivated about going to the gym with me (and I hate going to new places alone). In the real world you don’t just magically lose 10 pounds in a week. In the real world progress is slow. This is going to be a valuable lesson learned for me I think.

For example, I have started writing again with the thought of someday finishing a novel. When I first decided to buckle down as the case were and get serious about writing I made a grand plan. I joined a few online writing groups, I bought books on character building and how to get past writer’s block and creative expressions. When I dream I dream BIG. But realistically how many words have I written since I decided to “get serious?” Maybe 10. And because of this I feel discouraged and I am not motivated to continue writing.

Anyone noticing a pattern here?

I also think sometimes that in addition to being unrealistic about my progress/goals that I attempt to take on too many things at once. Planning your dream wedding is stressful. Planning someone else’s dream for your wedding? Double the stress. At least. And on top of that stressful event we bought a house. Buying a house is admittedly one of the most stressful things you do as an adult. But because we are over-achievers when it comes to stress, not only did we buy a house, we bought a house about as far away from our jobs and friends and past life as humanly possible and still be living “in the area”. Go us. And on top of the wedding and the house we had my diet and exercise plan PLUS the writing plan. Looking back I can see that I might have one or two things too many on my plate.

So today I am making a new plan. That plan is to not make any plans. I want to go to the gym and work out because I love the feeling I get from it, because it makes me feel healthy and strong, not because I’m afraid people think I am a fat ass. I want to eat right because I know it’s the right thing to do, to be environmentally conscious, to be aware of what I am putting in my body, because it feels good not because I am desperately trying to lose 25 pounds in a month. I want to write the way I used to, fast and free flowing, from the heart, not because I think I NEED to have written a novel to be considered a serious writer.

I am entering a place that is totally Zen y’all. Hopefully this time the results will be better. Without any expectations to live up to I shouldn't get so discouraged. Not being discouraged should stop me from feeling like saying “to hell with it all” and giving up. Not giving up means that I might actually have some long-term results. This would be a good thing. My inner OCD freak is rebelling against this new theory with all its might because it feels like I’m saying it is okay to be an under-achiever, that it is okay to not push your self or strive to be the best. I’m trying to convince myself that this is not the case. I still want big and great things for myself, I just want to realize that I don’t need to have them all RIGHT NOW.

Except for the job change. That I want RIGHT NOW. Though between you, me and the internets at large, something big is in the works. Something exciting and wonderful and perfect but also so terrifying that it sometimes makes me want to rock myself back and forth in a corner and chew on my hair. Cross your fingers for me!


Anonymous said...

um sorry, but i got stuck on the fact that you're not even 30 yet. what?! why did i think you were my age. sheesh, you're just a baby. lol.

oh and so crossing my fingers on that last bit.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you need some goal reorientation. Lower the bar, at first, and then slowly raise it. Start with fun stuff that maybe isn't as "good" for you, then work your way up.

Melina said...

I've been the same way in the past, held back by the fear of failing...I think you're on the right track girlie by just doing things because you want to--not because you have to reach a goal. That being said, I think I was about 15 lbs heavier than I wanted to be before I got pregnant and now even though I only gained 10 lbs (and I'm halfway) I look like a giant fatass.