Facing Challenges

Life throws us challenges daily, and it seems the older we get, the greater the challenges as they have greater impact and larger resonance in our lives.  Whilst getting older and ‘wiser’, I sometimes wonder about the wiser part.  What is the wiser, a greater awareness of the mistakes we make at the moment we are making them? Does it actually stop us from making the same mistakes over and over? To answer these questions I have a few pearls of wisdom I’ve heard repeating in my head- one is my boot camp instructor and the other is Kenny Rogers.

Some Saturdays I attend an early morning outdoor boot camp – it’s pretty rad and a ball buster but the instructor manages to dispense pearls of wisdom of while kicking your ass (if you happen to live in Santa Barbara, do yourself a favor and go see her – her name is Jenny Schatzlegambler).  She talked, well actually yelled like the motivational speaker she is, about changing the things in your life you don’t like.  If you wake up and don’t like your habits, your life, yourself – then change.  If you have people in your life that suck, get rid of them.  Tired of overeating – stop it.  Feeling inactive- then get off your ass.  I dig this line of thinking and agree.  Which leads me to Kenny Rogers.

For the rest of Saturday I thought – “You gotta know when hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em.  Know when to walk away, know when to run.”(Yes, I am quoting the Gambler).   But I was then filled with even more questions.  When do you walk away? When do you run? But what about staying and getting over your damn self instead of running in fear?  I mean, I’ll never count my money when I’m sitting at the table, but I’ve often run away when I actually should have raised. Conversely, I’ve also doubled down when I should have run.  My own struggles with weight and other health challenges in my life have given me a personal growth I’m forever grateful for, even though at the time I hated every second of my existence.  I faced a challenge, and ran for a while but then I decided to stop and kick the ass of those challenges- because I wasn’t happy and that became enough motivation.  

I think the line between staying put and running is quite tricky.  When trying to lose weight, we often think – “It’s too hard, I’m too fat, so screw it. I’ll eat some more cake.”  Yet it’s in those instances when we should stop, and face those challenges head on.  However, when things in life aren’t serving you well like negative friends or a habitual stop at the bakery then you should run like the wind.

So when faced with these challenges or the negative thoughts that arise, allow yourself a second to stop and evaluate.  Ask yourself:  Does this make me feel good? Does it make me feel better about myself? If you can’t answer yes, then it’s time to fold. And that’s ok to do.  The end goal is for you to feel better about you, and sometimes that requires work on your part, and facing what you thought was a big challenge.  Yet when you immediately feel better about yourself for working towards what will ultimately make you feel better and improve your overall health– those ‘challenges’ of not hanging out with Negative Nelly or shoving a pint of  Ben and Jerry’s into your gullet seem a pretty ridiculous waste of time.  And certainly not anything to bet your money on.

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