So I realized a while back that my blog offered less marinade and was offering cooked delights. Hopefully this marinade satisfies that brain stew you're slow cooking later tonight.
I guess the last few months have given me more time to think about things on my own than any other time in my life. I've always placed such high importance on the approval of the people around me, so being able to think things through and act on my own is pretty revolutionary to me. With that being said, I'd like to share a couple revelations I've come across the last few days. If I so may carry on with the self improvement posts one more time, I would be most thankful.
[Sorry that these are all about fitness. I think these ideals really apply to any goal in life]
Be productive today but remember that tomorrow is also a workday.
What do I mean by this? (I'm not trying to remind you about that report you need to finish by lunch tomorrow). Actually it's more about breaking goals down into tangible tasks. From my senior year in high school to college graduation I gained over 50 pounds! Do you know how many grocery store clerks made fun of me? Bastards! My family loves me so much that they always tell me I've lost weight but it never really dawned on until after college that I was so much heavier. I tried to lose it the way most people do. I cut out all sorts of foods. I worked out hard one day (then took a bunch off of course), and I deprived myself of many things. I would do this and lose quite a bit of weight but then feel entitled to a free weekend (which more often than not carried into the week) and I'd gain it all back. I didn't feel any better and as far as my goals were concerned they were in the shitter.
What's the point here? That we think personal change has to be instant. Makeovers on TV, Biggest Loser, and all sorts of other media outlets give us this impression. We want instant gratification. We don't want to move up the corporate ladder. I think my generation is even worse about this than previous generations. Well in high school, I was fortunate enough to be pretty cool with one of the tougher kids in our school, Brian. One day I was in the gym and he must have seen me long-faced and ashamed of the barely visible weights I was lifting. He walked over to me. This guy is gigantic by the way (I still remember when I played on the basketball team with him, a guy punched him in the face and he laughed at the guy). So Brian comes over to me and says, “Don't get discouraged man. Chris (his good buddy) felt the same way a few months ago and I told him everyone has to start somewhere and work their way up. (At this point Chris was actually pretty cut) Even I started at that level” He said. Okay he didn't say that last part but I can remember it however I want. That must have been over 8 years ago and I still think about it when I get discouraged with my fitness goals. We need to be productive today but always remember that tomorrow is also a workday.
I didn't see any improvement in myself until I started working out hard on a given day but reminded myself, “Leave enough for tomorrow buddy. This is about tomorrow (and a month from now). No excuses that you're tired tomorrow.” This type of thinking spread over to other aspects of my life outside of fitness which brings me to my second juicy piece.
Offer yourself positive change rather than negative restrictions.
This idea has really starting to blow my freaking mind (and those people that know what I'm talking abouts!). One of my first weird experiments was with Ajaya and Hash, where we went vegetarian for a month (I know, I know it sounds easy but believe me, we are carnivorous to the max) Anyway, there were no restrictions on what we could eat within the vegetable family. The result? Each one of us began drinking more water, we didn't eat junk food as much, and we started working out WAY more. Positive byproducts are so rewarding. I once hated most vegetables and started to love bell peppers and onions and eggplant. I think this had a lot to do with the fact that we phrased the challenge in a positive way rather than saying, "NO MEAT FOR A MONTH!"
Now, take this last month for example. I decided to cut a little weight by cooking every meal I ate. No restrictions on what I ate. For the first 15 days, I only ate meat once. I started working out a ton more and drank craploads of water. I also no longer craved some of the foods that I constantly ate and made me feel shitty. I would actually rather eat homemade food now. I also started to really look forward to coming home and making food. So you see, this could have been phrased as, “I'm not going to eat out for a month” but because somehow I thought of it more as I'm producing my own food for a month" it had a much more positive impact on my life. It also made it more fun because it was a challenge instead of me removing something from my life.
So maybe instead of trying to watch less TV, tell yourself that you're going to read an hour more everyday or instead of saying, “No going out until you study for an hour” maybe you should think of it as, “Every time I study I get to party.”
Friend, I'm no disciplinary expert and I most likely never will be. I've gone to the gym before and then snuck out to go to Taco Bell instead. The point is that is this guy can do it, anyone other human can (some other animals I'm a tad bit skeptical about). For example, my diet in college consisted of hot pockets, bagel bites, corndogs, shumai, potstickers, and buffalo wings (COSTCO freezer section anyone?). For about a month span we also had those giant Nestle cookie ice cream sandwiches everyday and all sorts of ice cream. I ate those things everyday with at least a couple cups of coke and beer for good measure. Change didn't happen because I have more power than you. Change also didn't happen because I woke up one day and deprived myself of bad things. Change was gradual. Change was made up of tiny little steps (that went backwards at times) that evolved into permanent distances. We can't go through life hoping to change with the flip of a switch because that's just not fair to ourselves and life is not about depriving ourselves. It's more about being more actively in control of ourselves. So when you fall out of line, take a breath and step back in and when you look in the mirror look at yourself in the way you want to be seen and remember we're all in this together.
Change CAN be painful and change CAN be overwhelming but maybe if we all listen to Brian and remember that everyone started in the same position as us, maybe change will come in the form of tiny steps.