It’s ok to not be perfect. Sometimes we have bad days, bad weeks, bad months. Hell, many of us even had a bad year last year. When the pandemic started, I joked with friends and colleagues about the apocalypse, reveled in the best string of memes I’d ever seen, and bought an exorbitant amount of alcohol… Just in case. Much of what I was doing was all in good fun, but eventually the “fun” started to supersede the good habits I had worked so hard to build. Before too long as more things shut down I found myself caught up in the anxious whirlwind of chaos, and that “fun” supply of apocalypse whiskey quickly started to deplete. It became incredibly easy to justify bad habits. Justify drinking, binge eating, and skipping exercise. Too easy to “fill the void” with negative “stress-relieving” behaviors.
Hello Darkness My Old Friend
When the gyms closed I told myself I was going to work out at home. I would go for runs around my neighborhood a few times a week, a far cry from every day. I wrote up a schedule for some basic weight lifting and strength training but didn’t follow it. My endurance for running remained, but my speed slowed down drastically. My consistency with exercise and self-care slowly dissipated. Before long I had gained almost 20 pounds!
One morning I woke up and looked in the mirror after a few months of letting my health and fitness goals slide, and I saw someone I recognized. Someone I didn’t like. Something was pushing its way out, that I had gone to great lengths to conquer all the previous year. It was at this moment that I realized that playtime was over. Had I done anything terribly wrong? No. But I realized that I had stopped living with intent. Every action I was taking was a knee-jerk reaction, or worse, no action at all. Something had to change. But first, I acknowledged myself and my actions and forgave myself. I reflected on the experiences I had, and loved myself for them, before setting new goals.
Get That Dirt Off Your Shoulders
At this time, I decided to go back to square 1. I looked at my habits. I remembered the lesson that I had learned the previous year from running. Just do a little bit more today than I did yesterday. Clean the house. Catch up on laundry. Organize my room. Find the small victories, and use that momentum to drive me to achieve my goals! I kept running, and even though I was slower than I was, I found myself pushing farther than I’d ever run before. I learned how to run on varied terrains! Uphill, downhill, rain or shine. I started hitting goals again!
I also knew I had to keep on top of my mental health and find new hobbies and activities that I could enjoy while the world was seemingly shut down. In my case, I took up hiking! I have lived in Utah for most of my life but never taken the time to go out and explore. So I jumped online and found some fun areas to explore with my kids. We all had a blast together finding waterfalls, and meeting wildlife! On weekends when my kids were with their mom, I would go find a challenging trail and hike to the peak! I saw summits and sights I never dreamed of! I pushed my body to the physical limit and came out stronger for it! And I started to lose weight again. Before long I lost 10 of the 20 pounds I gained at the start of the pandemic.
A Bad Year Becomes My Best Year
2020 was a wild year. Peaks and valleys at every turn. I picked up scuba diving, I explored the world around me, and I made some wonderful new friends. With the help of friends, I got a business license, started B-Hero, and created our debate podcast! I learned to cook elegant meals and appreciate the art of cooking! For a short time, I let myself slip away, and then I found myself again. I have since buckled down and lost the rest of the weight that I gained and got back into weight lifting.
2020 became my best year! Most importantly, I learned to accept myself and focus on living intentionally. There came a point that I was no longer afraid for the world again, and I was able to live confidently and happily. No more complaining about the new norm, or how things use to be or should be. I found that my happiness and peace were available now, and the only one stopping me from enjoying it was me.
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