Better & Bolder, the Blog

Okay then

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When I went to the doctor for an annual this year, I got on the scale, like I'm supposed to, and, truth is, I didn't like the number. I wanted the number to be lower. For no particular reason. Just because I'd decided lower was better.

I went home, got on my scale, which had been giving me lower numbers, and found that if I stepped on it, got off and got back on, there was a difference of  four pounds. Thanks, digital scale, you lying piece of metal.

Does four pounds matter? It does if a person is invested in having the lowest possible number for the sheer pleasure of having the lowest possible number.

Here's what happened. This summer I was getting in a lot of training -- Nia 4 or 5 even 6 times a week. Running 3 times a week. Getting on the Elliptigo twice a week. And I was hungry, eating a lot sometimes. Finally it just kind of hit me: well, okay then. This is what I do. This is how I eat. This is what I weigh. Whatever. 

But this time I meant it. I'm loving how my body feels. I love all the running and biking and Nia, and I hold myself back from doing more because, well, other work has got to get done and I know that doing too much can lead to injury rather than progress. 

I love how my body feels and I feel pretty strong. I could be stronger, for sure, and thinner, yeah, and the point isn't to be my thinnest or even strongest. It's to feel great, and I do. 

One of the delights of being 49 is that expectations are super low. I don't need to look like a model as long as I don't, umm, I guess look 49. You know? If I somehow look younger or more fit for my age, then I'm doing well. My gorgeous young daughter looks gorgeous and young, and my 49 year old body looks 49 and fit. No amount of thin makes me look gorgeous and young.  I look at my lovely teen and it's just kind of clarifying. I don't need, and can't be, gorgeous like that, no matter what I weigh. So, fit it is. 

I like how my body looks. I'm kind of growing into it, five decades in. With that, I'm just not feeling as fussy about the number on the scale. My husband kindly suggested that my extra pounds are muscle, and maybe they are. My jeans fit well. 

Getting my weight as low as it could go was a game or a goal. I'd be very active and eat well and see what would happen. I turns out, it dipped, and then it climbed and this is about as low as I'm gonna go. Because I don't want to spend any energy on how I can eat less when I'm spending my energy on how I can move well, train well, and fuel my training. 

I don't like when I eat so much my belly hurts. I still do that, and it's a habit of inhaling food too quickly or thinking I need more food rather than sensing my body. Heck, yeah, I wanna make progress on that. But not to weigh less. Really, I think this is what I weigh. More accurately, I think if I don't get to play the game of how low can I go, then why bother stepping on the scale? 

My new game is: how far can I run and how fast can I go? 

sweet new year

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Judy Brown told our class last week that “September is the new January.” The trend is that at the start of fall, we head back to school. We’ve been nurtured by our summer vacations. We’re ready to make our goals happen. This is a better time than the start of winter for most of us to get going on goals. Are you ready to make a change in your life? Is something itching to be created?

Lululemon is a clothing chain founded by Chip Wilson, and, for some reason, this guy is big on goals. Their employees are encouraged to set goals and publish them, and their promotional materials often include goal-setting advice.

Yoga Journal (Feb 2012) ran a series of 6 steps to reaching one’s personal peak, as suggested by Wilson and the company’s “Director of Possibilities” Susanne Conrad. The list is at the end of this email.

I like the first suggestion, which is to imagine ourselves 10 years from now. It’s not just about setting a goal. It’s about seeing whether I’m on the right path right now. Does my 10 year vision flow naturally from what I do now? Is it radically different? I may not need to set a 10 year goal, but I can check in to see that I’m living the life I want to be living. 

I also really like the idea of reading aloud a goal. It’s one thing to think that maybe I want to bike my way around the world (I don’t by the way; that sounds terrible to me). It’s another to say it aloud. Wilson and Conrad are so right. When I hear myself say those words, I notice my body’s response. This can tell me whether it’s an authentic desire, an engaging challenge, or an interesting dream but I don’t really want to go there. 

Telling someone else our goal is where the magic happens. We’re revealed ourselves and our true desires. That is what’s important, our self-loving vision of our possibilities and potential. It’s not always about whether I set a goal and reach it, though that can be a lot of fun and a great challenge. It’s the entire premise of setting a goal helps me consider what I value. 

Today marks the Jewish New Year, and it’s celebrated with apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year. Take a deep breath and imagine what will make the next cycle of 12 months sweeter for you. 

I recently set myself a goal: I’m running a 10K in the Duke City marathon on October 21. I cannot describe to you the butterflies in my stomach when I think of it. Why am I doing it? I’m doing it for the challenge. What a sweet challenge it’s already been. I’ve learned a lot about myself in training for this. It’s this makes-no-difference-to-anyone-else goal that’s all about me and reveals to me my patterns, my thoughts, my habits. In setting this goal, I have an intention for my new Jewish year. Be loose. Be flexible. Sense, and shift.

Those of you who run know exactly how “be loose” is part of what I’ve learned from my miles. It’s not possible to run well and run tight. Probably, that’s true of pretty much anything. 

Goals can be important for helping us get things done. But that’s not all they’re worth. The process of setting and seeing through the goal is what teaches us and grows us. 

Below are Chip’s 6 points for goals.

1. Imagine. Start by thinking of your life 10 years from now. Imagine a detailed picture of where you see yourself. What kind of home do you have? Who do you spend time with? What work do you do? How does it feel?

2. Break It Down. Work backward from that vision to figure out the steps you need to take to turn your vision into reality. Define your 10-year, 5-year, and 1-year goals. 

3. Set deadlines. It’s easier to get yourself focused on a quantifiable goal with a “by-when” date. For instance, if you’re hoping to become a yoga teacher someday, turn that into “I will complete a 200-hr training by January 2014.”

4. Test your goals. Read your goals aloud to see if they feel authentic. If you feel a little tension in your belly as you read, that’s probably good. Powerful goals will excite you and drive you to action. 

5. Recruit Support. Share your goals with friends who you know will support you. Encourage them in their goals as well. The mutual support will help you make it to your personal finish line. 

6. Revisit and refresh. Write your goals on a piece of paper and keep it where you will read it often. Feel free to revise them. Nothing’s set in stone exept your commitment to achieve the success you are capable of.