So the whole premise of this website and blog (that I’ve struggled to pay attention to over the last 30 days) is to focus on being a better manager of life – something I’ve not done so well as of late. Let me assure you, I attempt to be a student of what I write and basically all of the subject matter I discuss is a result of my own mistakes and shortcomings.
I spent the last three months or so coming up short and making tons of mistakes every single day. For most of that time, I didn’t even realize the mess I was creating for myself. In the interest of making friends, I found myself going out more, spending more money, having dinner with people I’d hope become my friend, drinking way more than necessary and then skipping the gym because I didn’t feel like going.
Hangovers do that.
On top of all that, I was struggling to focus at work because I found myself so distracted by all of these symptoms to which I was blind to see the cause.
If you know anything about me, I’ve been attempting to reconstruct my life with three pillars.
- Health & Fitness
- Financial Stability
- Self Acceptance
Since moving to New York, I’ve added a fourth: Develop Meaningful and True Relationships (however they manifest).
I had basically put all of those in jeopardy in some form or fashion. I had lost control and I couldn’t figure out why.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve somehow managed to refocus and recalibrate my life. After a couple of sessions with my therapist (yes I go to therapy – everyone should) and some reflection, I figured out how I managed to course correct my pattern of behavior.
Step 1 – Identify Your Distractions
This, of course, is MUCH easier said than done. After all I wandered aimlessly drowning in my own misery and mistakes. I realized back in September (after my surgery) what my real pain point was. I had not spent enough time investing in building friendships. I, admittedly, came to this city partly to try and find a relationship. So I did the only thing I new to do – go on dates. At first that was a solid strategy, however, failed attempt after failed attempt while not having a network to lean on became very challenging and demoralizing.
While finding friends is technically a healthy activity, my method (going on dates in order to work my way into someone’s already established life) became my primary distraction.
The only thing I knew to do after that was to go out more. We all know I’m not shy and I have absolutely no problem walking into a bar and making friends. However, week after week of that approach started to destabilize me.
Even the most heart felt and positive motives can be derailed by distractions. For me, going out was a double edged sword. It was my attempt at making friends, but I was also numbing my loneliness by having a few drinks a couple of times a week. So many of us try and make the best of our situation, but our paths are clouded by a fog of ambiguity and lost time. We get lost and forget our true motives.
Step 2 – Remember Your Why
Why are we here? Why am I in this position? What motivates me? These are questions marred with struggle. We’ve all had those discussions in high school and college with our besties. A lot of study has been done around the importance of ‘why’ in our lives. One of the most popular TED Talks of all time by Simon Sinek goes in detail about how important the why actually is.
Four years ago…during my pre-thirties crisis (if there is such a thing….) I had a REAL course correction on the three pillars listed above. I had to take myself back to the mess I had created and remember why I decided to get my life back on track. I actually struggled articulating it at first for this discussion. But it came down to the fact that I wanted to take control (after all I’m a control freak).
See how it’s all starting to tie together – take back control? 🙂
It worked, but I knew to do that I needed to get my act together. Which is why I identified those three pillars. I quickly identified the things in my life over which I had control: my body, my financial decisions, my self-acceptance (still working on that tbh).
I did, however, get really good at my first two pillars. I took back control of my body and I started focusing on paying off my debt. I made things I’d put to the wayside back then my strengths. It was time to reinvigorate that part of myself.
Step 3 – Go Back to Your Comfort Zone (for a bit)
Your basics, your foundation, your comfort zone, whatever you want to call it – it’s time to return there. Assuming your why is sound, your comfort zone is a completely appropriate place to which you can retreat and it should fall right in line with your values. The Olympics are fresh on my mind so imagine a downhill skier. As they progress in their training they get faster and faster, but at some point a fall (or even a crash) may happen. At that point it would be appropriate to slow things down, work on maybe strength and conditioning to get the courage to push themselves again.
And there is nothing wrong with that. The important thing to remember is not remain in your comfort zone. That methodology in my opinion would lead to an unfulfilling life.
Your comfort zone could be one of many places: your spouse, significant other or family, your job, your friends, or the gym. For me, it was choosing what I did with my body, my money and my time. I’m far removed from friends or family, so in my case there’s an element of self-sustainability that I have to exhibit. That may be your situation as well – with all the tens of you that read this who knows what part of life’s journey you may be?
This is the worst thing you can do. You are in direct control of your happiness. Allowing others to have the power to control that and waiting to move back into a comfortable flow to rebuild your self-confidence are a detriment to both you and the world around you.
As of late, I’ve really been trying to take back control of my life. When it boils down to it I went back to behaviors that make me feel as if I’m contributing to a happier existence. I started making lists, using my calendar (for EVERYTHING), and I joined a new gym that has pulled me completely out of my comfort zone.
Group fitness classes are my one true nightmare – that’s for another post.
Talk to you soon,