Monday, March 24, 2014

New Things, New Friends, New Lease on Life

I can't stress enough how important it is to do and introduce new things into our lives. We humans are creatures of habit and it really takes a conscious effort to make changes and adjustments. It's in our nature to fight against them. We balk, rebuke, and put up thick walls to keep some semblance of an order to things. We select our favorites - foods, pastimes, hobbies, restaurants, music, books, activities, friends, vacation spots, and so on and so forth, and in doing so create daily habits. Depending on those habits, we then wonder why our lives have become stagnant and boring, why our bodies are unhealthy or unfit, or why our dreams continually remain in the dream phase and never turn into actualities. If you can't see these patterns in your life, record them in a daily log - write down all of your interactions (activities, food, thoughts, and recreation) throughout the day for a full month. Then review. You will be surprised at what you actually do, compared to what you think you do.

Most of us don't make decisions toward changes on our own, but are forced through circumstances beyond our control. This is reactionary and perhaps the largest cause of stress and anxiety in our lives. NO ONE likes to be forced to do anything. God doesn't even force His will upon us, but gives us free choice. However, every choice we make has a consequence attached to it. Those we don't like either.

I yo-yo dieted, joined gym after gym, spent tons of money on diet pills and quick weight loss solutions, writing programs, self-help books, motivational materials, and thousands of other 'temporary' fixes hoping to make some change in my life - without actually changing my life. I couldn't see where I was failing. I blamed the diet, the program, the doctors, the hormones, the job, the family, and my own lack of self-esteem or control. Without realizing it, I came to think of myself as weak and a failure and had no desire or will to fight anymore because no matter what I did, I couldn't win. It wasn't until I took inventory and actually logged my diet, my actions, and my choices on a daily basis - and was able to see the 'truth' of the matter, before I could take action. I had deceived myself, thinking I was giving it a good go, but when I looked at the facts in black ink I realized I was a liar, and had lied to myself almost on a daily basis. Once I saw the truth - I couldn't believe the lie anymore and knew I had to make a change.

Over the last couple of years, I've made a LOT of decisions, not just about health and fitness, but about every area in my life. I realized I neglected myself as a woman and as a person. I quit waiting for the magical solution - for SOMETHING to happen that would change my life - and realized that "I" was the change that needed to happen. I needed to love myself enough to believe I deserved better, I deserved to be healthy, I deserved to be active, I deserved to be beautiful, I deserved to loved, I deserved to wanted, I deserved to be desired, I deserved to be successful, I deserved to be respected, I deserved to published, I deserved to be friendly, I deserved to travel, I deserved to explore, I deserved to dream, and most of all... I deserved to be happy.

Once I believed it, I started making changes. I started cutting out old things, people, and habits that held me back or pressed me down and introduced "new" into my life almost on a daily basis. I QUIT all the habits I had before and started creating new ones. I regularly keep a journal of those activities, because as soon as they become habits I will introduce new things to mix them up. I don't diet - I changed the way I eat, why I eat, what I eat, and the how I eat. I didn't join a gym, I changed the way I viewed exercise, why I exercise, and how I exercise. I changed a lot of my friends - left those who judged, were negative, who only showed support with their lips but not their actions and surrounded myself with people who encourage me, tell me what I need to hear, and believe in me and my success.

This isn't a 10-step temporary program - this is a life change. It has to start on the inside. I quit trying to make my outside control how I felt on the inside and focused on healing the inside (how I felt about myself) and the outside has slowly changed to match the gigantic changes within. I've lost nearly 100 lbs and a 100 friends, I can now jog a mile without wanting to die, I look great, I feel great, I'm writing more, I'm happier, and I've been on more adventures in the past year than the last 20 combined. I'm a completely new and different person. I still have things to work out. My life isn't perfect. I still have struggles and fears and failures. I still have worries and concerns. I still have needs and wants. But on most days, I don't allow those things to beat me down. I embrace the changes, I look forward to the new things, new friends, and a new lease on life.

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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