Gratitude

gratitude

Gratitude has become the hot spot in self help right now.  Gratitude journals, Facebook challenges, etc.  I too have tried to put this practice into play in my own life.  I especially like to do this when I’m down.  I stop, take a moment, and go write down all the things I’m thankful for and going right for me. Kind of puts things into perspective.  No, it’s not really the end of the world, you just have teenagers living in your house.

Last week I called Whole Foods and ordered three large pizzas to be picked up.  They told me they’d be ready in about 30 minutes.  I arrived 33 minutes later only for the guy behind the counter to say he didn’t have my order.  He just started his shift and no one had written down that there were to be three pizzas made.  Great.  He said he’d start them right now but he’d need 20 minutes.  Okay, no way in hell I’m going home and cooking dinner tonight.  So I start roaming the store looking at stuff I don’t need managing to put stuff in my cart.  I was mad.  Fuming.  Then I thought about it some more browsing gluten free cookies and had to laugh at myself.  Seriously Rachel.  You’re upset that your organic pizza wasn’t made and you’ll have to shop around the organic grocery store for 20 minutes while it’s made.  If that isn’t the ultimate first world problem I don’t know what is.

I thought about a friend of mine whose husband is desperately waiting for a liver on the transplant list.  People in Africa dying by the thousands from Ebola and millions of people fleeing their home to escape certain death for religious reasons.  I’m upset that my pizza wasn’t made.  I continued on past the Tom’s shoes and bought some fruit.  By the time I returned to for my pizza I’d spent about $75 and had let go of my pizza rage.

As I approached the counter, a young man about 20, came from behind the counter to say he was so sorry about what happened.  It was his fault he said.  He took the order but then got called to the front to take a phone call.  He said the phone call was some bad news and it just derailed him.  He forgot the pizzas.  He was even going to give me one of the pizzas for free.  Now I really felt foolish for ever being mad.  He didn’t elaborate on what bad news he’d received but I can imagine it was probably worse then you’ll have to wait 20 more minutes for your pizza.  I was so impressed that someone so young could be so good at customer service.  I told him no worries that it was fine.  It was really fine now.  I was grateful to get my pizza, go home to my family, and spend my Sunday evening thinking about how good things really are.

 

Loving & Hating Running

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Been a busy week in our household.  We now have two kids in high school and both started their Cross Country season.  Much like myself there is a love hate relationship with running.  Love the benefits but hate the hours that have to be put in to get them.  They love the affirmation from teammates as they cross the finish line but it’s the running alone without any affirmation that is hard.  I remember back in the 90’s I watched the tape {yes tape, not DVD} of Oprah’s video Make the Connection.  She talked about her training for a marathon and that one run she was headed out with Bob Greene and just broke down.  She cried out, “When does this get easier?”  I have been there.  I didn’t quite understand it then as I had not started running but I envisioned that after years running you would happily lace up your shoes and bound out the front door.  I have never bounded out the front door.  I have never looked forward to a run.  I have always had terrible nerves before any race.  I’m paranoid about chaffing and intestinal issues.  I have a million reasons daily NOT to run yet I run.  I run when I’m too busy, I run when I’m too tired, I run when it’s too hot outside, I run when my stomach is uncertain.  I run.  There will never be a perfect day or time to run.  I’m not on a team and there will never be any cheers at a finish line other than by my husband who has beat me to it.  I have decided that it will never get easier but the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how I feel about it.  Just go do it because truthfully, there is no feeling like completing a run.  Now that is an amazing feeling.

Change

Changing yourself is not easy.  If it were, the pharmaceutical companies of America would be out of business.  I like how every commercial says, “When diet and exercise fail….” .  I think we all know that diet and exercise don’t fail but they are hard to change.  What I’ve observed in my own kids and others is that the future is always going to be better.  And not just even better but amazing.  You’re going to be this amazing person that gets up at 4am and runs, comes home to a seaweed smoothie and then makes a 3-course breakfast for your kids.  Yeah right!  We’ve all done this.  It’s not that I don’t believe people can change but just not so radically.

Change has to be done intentionally and slowly for it to be permanent.  The Biggest Loser comes immediately to mind.  There is no way those people can have lasting change when its been so quick and so outside of what the normal day-to-day is going to be.  You will eventually have to be back to your hectic job, kids and the Dunkin Donuts next to your house.

It’s not to say that I believe that you should just give up either.  I think the key here is baby steps and working with your natural tendencies.  For example, if you’ve never been a morning person, then don’t start setting your alarm for two hours earlier each morning to start working on your best selling novel.  Instead start with 15 minutes and move the alarm clock/phone to the other side of the room.  Do that for 30 days then try tacking on another 15 minutes.

Don’t go from a 3000 calorie per day diet to 1500.  Start with cutting out soda.  Next up start adding in breakfast.  Next up decide you’ll only have desserts thee days per week rather than seven.  Work in phases not in peaks and valleys.  It should be a gradual hike.

I like to think of any lasting change as running a marathon.  Sit down, map out the plan by using gradual phases.  First just start by walking for 30 minutes everyday then implement some jogging.  Don’t sit on your couch and download the Hal Higdon Advanced Marathon Training schedule to your Google Calendar and think that in three months you’ll be ready for 26.2 miles.  Start slow but do something everyday towards reaching that change you want to see in yourself.

I know everyone wants quick change but think of how many years you’ve struggled with a change.  Now, go do something small right now that could help you achieve that change.