Looking Out My Back Window #314

Originally posted on Facebook HERE

I think many of us are our own worst critics. I am certainly my own worst critic. Nothing ever seems to be done good enough to make me happy. Always the pursuit of perfection, which is a wholly unattainable goal. I know it, too. You give me something to do, I’m going to do it to the best of my abilities, basically always. My abilities aren’t always great, depending on what I’m beings asked to do, I guess – if you want me to bake a cake, I can’t guarantee you’ll get anything edible – but I’ll do my best every time. There’s almost always something I’m either doing or not doing that I’m not happy with. Physical and mental fitness are two areas I hold super high levels of expectations for. I want to keep myself mentally sharp and physically fit. I’m almost never 100% happy no matter where I’m at with that. I read and I meditate as part of staying mentally alert. And I am really good about reading every day. Meditation can be streaky. But – sleep. Another strong component of a healthy mind… I hardly ever get enough of it. 5-5 1/2 hours a night maybe? I know from years of tracking my sleep that 6 1/2 hours is really my sweet spot. In the last two months I got 6 1/2 hours+ of sleep only once. No matter what else is going on, lack of sleep will pull not only mental but physical acuity down a peg. I’m aware of this. When it comes to physical fitness, I can really be a ruthless critic of where I’m at. Nothing is ever even close to good enough. I have three days a week set aside to workout for one hour with trainers – two are weight lifting, one is yoga. On the weight lifting days I run two miles + after the session as well (another 30 minutes). The other four days are on my own – I try to at least run or do yoga every day I’m not meeting with a trainer but it can be “streaky”. If I miss a day I at least try to “never miss twice”. And when I do miss twice I beat myself up. A lot. Then there’s food – portions, timing, what I eat, when I eat… I know a slip up here and there will often be followed by utter disdain for myself after the next day’s weigh in. All of the above being said, I feel like I’m at a point right now where my disgust with my physical and mental apathy is gearing up to make a change again. Every time I’ve gotten on a health kick – and I’ve had a couple of them in the last fifteen years – it was started by having to hit some sort of a “bottom”. Back in 2007 or so I hit 195lbs – heaviest I’ve ever been (at 5’ 8” tall), even though I was running 2 miles a day every day. I couldn’t lose weight. So I looked at what and when I was eating, started a Nutrisystem program and lost 30lbs in three months, then kept running daily never missing a day for almost two years. Sometime I think in 2009 or so I hit 155lbs. Felt great, but looking back I still wasn’t 100% happy. Unreal expectations. When COVID hit in 2020, the gym shut down and I wasn’t happy at all with where I was at physically once again, so I started running, doing yoga, meditating, writing and reading every day. I tracked it. I was driven and focused – all of them, every day. For 292 days in a row. Looking back, I can’t believe I did that. That’s some serious motivation there. Driven by disgust. The mountains and valleys of physical and mental fitness are landscapes woven within our own minds. That whole “everything in moderation” thing?… think I’ve always been more of a “peaks and valleys” guy myself. Hit a bottom, get disgusted, make a change, then ease up once things are running smoothly, fall back into bad habits, hit a bottom – and repeat. I hit a huge bottom with alcohol and drugs in 1988 and it led to the most important change I’ve ever made in my life – sobriety. So now, when I feel I’m hitting a bottom with anything – work, music, mentally, physically, whatever it is… I look at is as the seeds that will allow me to make the changes necessary for growth. And I try to cut myself a little slack here and there, too. But I swear – there’s a line somewhere – the “ultimate disgust” line – that, once crossed, will give me the motivation needed to really do some things I never could or would have achieved without ever hitting it. Some of the best highs in life are born from the lowest lows, if we can flip the script and use them as motivation.

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