Post 9: Appreciating the Journey

I fell off the wagon, and I’m pretty sure the back wheel ran over me as it continued on its way, leaving me face down in the dirt.

And that’s completely fine. In fact, I waved as I watched that wagon disappear on the horizon.

After meeting with my therapist last week I realized that the prize of this process for me isn’t actually in achieving my goals, but rather is the appreciation for and focus on the journey. It is in my being mindful of my actions, how I manage my time, and what I’m choosing to prioritize.

For example, in recognizing that I have an incredibly hard time waking up in the morning, exhausted and tired even after more than 8 hours of sleep, I have since started taking vitamins. Iron, vitamin C, vitamin D and b-complex are now part of my morning routine. When I don’t take them, I figure it out about 2pm when my body is begging me to nap, even after many hours of sleep the night before. Serotonin levels, gut health, anxiety … all of these contribute negatively to energy levels and weight gain. Bad!

To help with this, my therapist and I discussed Successive Approximation and how putting it into practice could reshape my responses to specific situations. For instance, instead of setting my alarm for 6am when I’m used to waking up at 8am (this is too drastic of a gap for me), this method would have me setting my alarm for 7:45am and not allowing the snooze button to be pushed. Once I am doing that easily, next I would set the alarm for 7:30am and so on. Small steps with rewards for when I head in the right direction.

Successive Approximation is acting in a way that gets you closer and closer to the desired behavior. For people like me, I visualize a desired result and then overwhelm myself by assuming there’s no other way to get over the mountain except in one leap. Of course this isn’t the only way, but my brain tends toward the extreme options. Making small, accessible changes that increase gradually also increases the likelihood you’ll get over that mountain. I’ve always been an “I want it now” person, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to look back on these posts one day and see a drastic change that was so gradual I never even realized it was happening.

In addition to all of this, my son started seeing a child psychologist a few weeks ago and she is working with him through play therapy. He’s learning to realize his anxiety, label it, talk about it, and bring himself down from it. He colors, he plays, he listens to soft music, he learns to belly breathe and meditate, etc. It’s only been a few sessions and I’ve noticed a difference already in his confidence. As I know full well, sometimes just having the knowledge you aren’t alone with your frustration gives you enough fortitude to stare down any uncertainty.

In order to continue his practices in the home environment I’ve picked up these books recommended to me by friends. Learning to be still, quiet and mindful are possibly the most powerful skills one can possess. I will post updates as we work through the books together.

The fourth book, Start Balancing by Kristy Dickerson, was given to me by a friend and mentor who’s also a fellow mom/entrepreneur. It’s a guided journal to self discovery and defining success. In the opening quote to this journal I underlined the sentence that reads “I believe I was intended to fail, to struggle, and to face defeat in order to learn how to succeed.”

These might be the most self-reflective words that I’ve identified with in some time. When it comes to goal-setting, I continue to fail because I have not learned enough about myself to set them successfully from the beginning.

And that, my friends, is what this journey is all about.

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