Sunday, July 24, 2022
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
What do you want?
This seems like an easy enough question, there are lots of things in life that we want, or feel like we deserve, but how do we move them from the wanting column to the obtained column? Think about something in your life that you desire. This does not have to be a big thing just something you want.
Have an answer? Cool.
Now is where it gets harder.
Why do you want it? What would having it do for you, or how would it change the way your life is? What is the deeper meaning behind it? The thing is, we don't want things to have them, though we think we do. We want them for the experience that we will get, or think we will get from them. We want to win the lotto not to have a million dollars in the bank, but because of the things we can do with the money, or the feeling of financial stability that it will bring. We want to win big at the tournament because of what it says about us, or what it says about our progress on what we have been working on. The goal is not about the things, it is about what that goal means to us, what it will DO for us.
Even things that we want that we feel we will get nothing out of we have some sort of attachment to. You volunteer at a soup kitchen to feed the homeless. You do this to help people who are starving. Cool, that s a noble thing. But down deep there is something in doing it that makes you feel good. We seek the things we do because they provide some sort of validation, or do something for us on some level even if that level for what they say about who we are as a person.
So now we go back to the beginning, what do you really want? If it is not about the thing, is there another way you can reach the why without that specific thing? If winning big is about self esteem, then could you reach the goal without winning the gold medal? If it is about how others view you, are there other ways to reach that? Is it possible to let others opinion of you go so it is not important? The key here is to look at the goal and ask, if your objective lies in the why, is there any other way to get there?
Lets take an example.
I feel like I am out of shape because of my weight, so my goal is to lose weight. When I look at the why, it comes back to me not feeling good about how I look and how other judge me. So the why is really that I do not feel good about how I look and how others may judge me. Are there things I can do other than lose a bunch of weight to fix the perception that I do not feel good about how I look? Can I work on my self esteem to feel better about myself? Can I let go of toxic people who are always talking bad about me to build myself up? If the true why is about how I feel about myself then there are many ways I can get there. When we focus on the why, the way forward may expand.
There may be many whys and this is something to contend with. Maybe there is a number of whys, Maybe dropping a few pounds is about self esteem, how others view you but also handling medical conditions you have. The reality is that even in these multitudes of whys there may be more than one way to get there. If I want to drop some pounds, dieting and exercise may be a way forward, so may surgery, or certain medications that help, the way forward is can have many paths to achieving the why, so the reality is that there may be more than one way to get what you want.
What is realistic? If it is my first tournament and I just expect to win first place just because I want it, I may not be facing the reality of the situation. If my goal is to win all of my matches but I have a hard pool, is that realistic? Is doing your best enough, or does it have to be something more? I am not suggesting don't strive for the best, but if you fall short, how will you handle it? Be specific about your goals, but be willing to modify them based on the reality of the situation. Having concrete goals is great, but be flexible with it if needed. If my only definition of success is to win all my matches and I have a pool of all top tier fighters, can I be ok with doing my best, giving my all, and letting things fall as they will? If not, then I may be setting myself up for disappointment. All I can do is give it all I have and be proud of what I have brought to the table.
How do you get there?
Lets assume that we are living in a perfect world, what steps do you need to do to get you in the right place at the right time to reach your goals. If you don’t know what it will take, ask someone who knows, do your research. Is the bar too high based on your time commitment, or is it just right? Do you need to change the big goal to meet what you are willing dedicate to it, or does your time commitment meet your ability to reach your goal? If you have to move the chains for now, do it, it is far better to reach little goals and add them up, than to set one big goal and feel like you have failed when you fall short.
Who is your team? This is not just about support but accountability. If your team won’t call you out when you slip, they are not holding you accountable. That does not mean do not tell other people about your goal, but it means pick a team of people who will check in and keep you accountable. It is easy to be supportive, it is harder to keep someone accountable. Find yours, know the difference between your support team and your accountability team, both support but in different ways. This can be friends, family, mentors, teammates, but if they will not hold you to it, they are supporting you but not keeping accountable to what you say you want to accomplish.
Except when you don’t, because sometimes you won't- Dr. Seuss
How do you handle falling down. Some days you will fall short of your objective. That is a part of life, how will you handle it when it happens? It is easy enough to walk into a new program expecting to never fail, but the reality is that at some point you won't feel like putting in the work. How will you handle it? Will you get up and do it anyway? Will you take today off and get back on it tomorrow? How will you keep going when you fail, or when you just are not feeling like it? How can your support team help you? I am not suggesting set yourself up for failure, just know that eventually it may happen so be ready from the beginning to handle it if and when it does.Keep the goal in mind. If you are trying to save money, does going out with your friends and spending money support or hinder that. If you are trying to eat better, does ordering that pizza help or hinder your goal? Do you need to let your coworkers know you are trying to eat healthier so they do not pressure you to take a doughnut or piece of cake in the break room? If there are people on your team not willing to support your goals, can you avoid them to keep your goal at the forefront of your mind? Some people do this with affirmations and mantras, some do it by reciting something in the morning looking in the mirror, or keeping a card in their wallet that has the goal there. Do what works for you, there is no right or wrong way, only the way that works for you.
Sunday, May 23, 2021
Day 460 of daily intentional exercise in the books. At this point my plan is to just keep going until Combat Con if not past it. (Why not?)
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
This morning I did day 365 of daily intentional exercise. It has been quite the journey and I was not sure at the beginning I would stick with it this long. It is easy to give up one day, It is easy to say, I am too tired, or there is not enough time in the day to take time for myself to reach my goals. It is easy, to fall off the horse, and say, I just do not have enough fight in me to make it this time. It is easy to get knocked down and from your back, in the mud and the muck say, I have been bested, I live here now.
But that is the thing about it, it is our choice to lay in the muck and the mud as it ooozes through our armor and say, I give up, I just can't do any more. It takes gumption to say, maybe today I fell but tomorrow I will get up stare the challenge straight in the face and say "I get to choose when I am done, and today is not that day." It is our choice to endure even when we have been knocked down. It is our choice to get up, wash off the mud, and keep going.
The thing is, that this is not about going at a full tilt and doing actual harm to yourself because you cannot take a break, in fact the opposite is true. There will be days when doing what you have promised yourself takes some adjustment. There may be a day when doing something active means taking an easy day of relaxing yoga, or long deep stretches, or taking a good walk to think about things and process what is going on, and what life means for you. I had days when I did that. I had days when I did not feel good so I took an evening of stretches instead of a hard sweat pouring workout. It happens, that is a part of doing intentional exercise while honoring your needs for the day.
I teach a sword class called: rule #1 don't die. the class itself is about doing smart things in your sword work so you are not taking bad decisions for the sake of a quick easy point win. In the tournament and sparring sense, it is a class about choosing what you will do in a fight, picking your shots and doing things that are the best for you. In a larger context rule number #1 is about intentional living. It is about realizing that at any moment your life may end. You may walk down the street and be hit by a drunk driver, or you may live a long long life and die of old age after beating cancer twice. The point here is that we cannot avoid our own deaths. We can do things to be safer, but in the end, we will all meet our ends.
There are 2 ways to look at it, if we focus on the end, things can look bleak and dark. If we realize that we are on a path that we can enjoy along the way, we can stop and smell the flowers because these may be the last chance we have. Breathe deep, watch the snow fall, enjoy your meals, hug your loved ones, and forgive those who have wronged you. If this was the end, what would be left unsaid, what would you regret not doing, who would you regret not being? That is what the journey is about.
If this was your last meal, would you be satisfied with it? Life is too short to eat bad meals, or not take care of yourself. This is what the daily intentional exercise is all about. It is about being in your body, being alive, experiencing who you are. Rule #1 is about living your life with intention. That is where it all comes from. Experiencing the struggle knowing that this is fleeting, this pain, this struggle, this workout, this week in school, or work, will end, and when you can stand in the sun on the other side of the cold winter of it, the feeling of triumph will be amazing.
This is the secret of this process, it is about honoring who you are, taking some time alone and doing something for you. I am now facing the beginning of year two, but some days, I know I will not feel like getting up and doing it, but I will because I will endure. To that end, for me, I have written a daily mantra to remind myself of how far I have come, where I am and where I want to be.
When I wake in the morning, I take the time I need to prepare and face my day with humor, calm, wisdom, and clarity.
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”- Marcus Aurelius
At the beginning of the day, I am grateful for all I have before me, at the end of the day, I am grateful for all I have had the ability and privilege to do and be through the miracle of this body of mine. Every day is a prayer, every day is a blessing.
You sir, are a badass.
I do things every day that help me reach my goals.
I eat good foods that support my health and fitness goals.
I walk proud knowing all the people who are standing behind me cheering for my success.
I walk tall knowing just how far I have come. I have stumbled in the past, but now when I fall, I brush myself off and get right back up again.
I know who I am, I know what I want, and I let go of the past hurdles I placed in my own way to get where I want to be.
I speak clearly when there are things I need or want knowing that the Universe provides as I speak my truth.
I am clear in mind, purpose and action. I drink the water I need, I take my vitamins, and rest when I need it.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” ― Stephen Covey
I am the Iron boar. I am calm and social, but I am always inches away from going wild if I need to be. I am tough, but under the right conditions I am also malleable and changeable. I am strong, and brave, and willing to face the things that scare me. I learn hard things and do hard things because I am strong enough to bear them. My strength comes from within and that strength manifests in my strong body and mind.
I am a willing to work through the tough times because I know in the end how sweet my triumph will feel.
I know that down does not mean out, it just means down right for now, this match, this tournament, this event or this weekend but it does not mean forever.
I have friends who want to see me succeed, because when I do it, we all rise together.
Maybe today did not go so well. Maybe I fell off my food plan, or exercise today but that is a drop in the bucket compared to how far I have come when I started.
A year ago, I made a decision. I would exercise, I would do something active every day. A year later, here I am. This is the first step, and I keep walking knowing that the only way is forward.
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Today is day 247 of daily exercise for me. When I first began my journey not only did I not think I would stick with it, I doubted that I had it in me to stick with it this long. So what is the big secret? How is it that I have been able to stick with it all these days, and months? When it all comes down to it the key is to make a decision that you will make a step in the right direction of your goal today. That is it. That is literally all that it takes. Make a commitment today that whatever you end goal is, that today you will do something that will help you reach your goal.
The way you get to 3 months, or 6 or 9 is to decide that today you are going to do something. Maybe it is a single pushup, maybe it is doing 5 of them, maybe today is all about doing 1000 punches, maybe today, doing something for yourself is realizing you have been cooped up inside all day and taking a walk around the block to just breathe. When it all comes down to it, that is all it takes.
Some days, you will not feel like doing it. Some days things will feel off, and you do not feel like doing it, especially at the beginning. What it all comes down to is making the commitment to yourself that today you will do something to reach you goal. Sometimes the answer is to do a little less, and that is ok, what matter is to keep with the spirit of the commitment and do something today that supports it. Maybe it is a commitment of taking time each day to feed yourself spiritually, maybe it is taking 15 minutes each day to meditate, or to sit down and read something that makes you think. Maybe the promise made at the beginning is to sit and write your 1,667 words towards your novel. The key is to do decide that you will do something today and honor that promise to yourself.
For me, I have done a lot of daily exercise challenges from Darebee.com or found a program that I want to stick with. Some days I looked at the book and thought that I did not WANT to do what it was asking me to do for the day. Rather than throw in the towel for the whole thing and skip it, I made a decisions that instead of doing that, I would do something else that I still felt kept me in integrity with my goal. I did what I could and let that be ok. Did I push myself to the edge every day going 100%? No. Is that OK? It is. It becomes a question of integrity with my commitment. If I have made a commitment to myself that I will do something every day, what do I feel like is enough knowing that some days it will be harder than others.
Is it ok to walk 3 miles one day and walk 7 the next, in order to keep in integrity with my commitment? Absolutely. This is not entirely about the end goal, it is about doing something on the path to get you towards where you want to be. I am not doing this so I can lose weight, I am not doing this so I can run a marathon. I am doing it, and sticking with it so that I can honor a commitment I made to myself. On days when the scale does not look so good, and I feel like throwing in the towel, that commitment can feel like the only thing that keeps me moving, one step after another.
When I started it was about not letting anyone else down. When I first began I had lots of people cheering me on. All these months later it is less about letting them down, and more about not letting myself down. At the end of the day, it is a promise that I have made to myself and when I let a stumble happen, it is only me who I let down. I have made a promise to myself and I deserve to make good on that promise.
What I suggest is not to look at the long term goal alone. It can feel like a lot to swallow if you have a large weight loss goal, or if you want to write a novel in the next month, but the way to eat an elephant is one bite at at time. Choose where you want to be in 6 months from now, and ask what steps do I need to do every day to get there. Make a commitment to do that thing every day, not starting tomorrow, not starting next Monday when the weather is better, the air is clearer and you feel like it. Start today. At the end of 6 months, you will be six months further in your life whether you start today or not, why not start today and be 6 months older and 6 months closer to your goal? Why wait for the doctor to tell you that you have to make a positive change to begin working on it? Begin today by dedicating yourself to something. If it changes with time that is ok, the key is to be true to your word that you give yourself so that 6 months from now you can be proud of just how far you have come.
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Be the blacksmith
Friction causes heat. Life will give you things that you can see as challenges. You lose your job, the person you want to be with doesn’t want to be with you, you wreck your car, it does not matter the specifics, you are handed something that on its surface looks like a red-hot pile of… steel. At this point you have 2 choices, work it, mold it into a win, or something you want, or let it cool and have a cold pile of… steel. Your body is that way. To make it into something you want it to be you must work it, use it, do things with it that make it what you want. You heat it up, and put it through processes that make that happen.