glow notes

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The 80/20 thang

Lots of people talk about the 80/20 rule , which is a great little tool for giving up perfectionism. There are other ways to apply this rule. In food/fitness, here are some examples:

Eat 'right' 80% of the time, eat fun foods 20% of the time.
Exercise 80% of days, take 20% of days off.

I see a lot of people get the "fuck-its" and give up when they feel imperfect. Hell, I've done it. Examples look something like this:

  • "I ate a salad and chicken breast for dinner but was still hungry so ate ice cream."
    (Ellie's thoughts: So? I eat ice cream most evenings, but I eat a reasonable amount. And what's with the salad and chicken breast thing, anyhow. You're allowed to have real food, just in controlled amounts.)
  • "I didn't have time to work out on Tuesday and then I got off track and didn't do it the rest of the week."
    (Ellie's thoughts: You didn't have time to take the stairs at work? Go for an evening walk? Do a few pushups? Stretch before bed? And why did this send you into a tailspin anyhow? You need rest days.)
  • "I went out to dinner and ate wayyyyyy too much. I even had pie with ice cream. I felt really crappy the next day, and my diet just went to hell all week."
    (Ellie's thoughts: One meal isn't going to make you fat. Letting it cause you to get the fuck-its will.)

Dude, it's ok to be imperfect . . . 20% of the time. Just kidding about that, but 80% is a good max goal for being "good."

hello world!

Hi - OK, I've been busy and will be busy for the forseeable future. So, I think I'll move to a shorter post format so that I can continue to post! Stay tuned . . .

Friday, June 10, 2005

Hell has an on/off switch

The mind is its own place, and in it self
Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n.
-John Milton, Paradise Lost

Hi all - sorry for the interruption in our regularly scheduled programming. It's been a rough ride this last month or so. Why, you ask? Well, lotsa stuff. What's the phrase from that song? Something like "my back aches, my feet hurt, and I don't believe in Jesus." Well - my hips hurt, my dog had $3000 knee surgery, and keeping the faith has been touch and go.

On the up side, I've been learning a lot. Dissolving some old stuff, locating other stuff that needs dissolving.

Am I being opaque? Maybe I'm not ready to write about this. Let's start again:

I hit a wall. I got exhausted. I got stressed out and didn't notice until it was too late. I let too many projects that I don't want to do pile up on my plate and tried to pretend to myself that I didn't mind and could handle it. I spent too much time cleaning house. I didn't hang out with friends often enough.

So, my essential self said "fuck you" and laid me out flat on my back (figuratively and, sometimes, literally) for a time. I am hoping and praying for strength now. Not the strength to be a stoic, steadfast beast of burden, but the strength to slow down, to take care of my needs, to state the truth and then not snatch it back out of embarrassment or some strange sense of not being allowed to tell my truth. The strength to take up my spiritual sword and face the demons.

What a great experience for me as a coach - to have it all fall apart for a time (not all, darling sweetie, a voice whispers, you still got to the gym daily, you still made progress on many fronts, you still kept it so much together in so many ways) and have to pick up the pieces. To develop the strategies that work for me so that I can share them. To remember how it feels to feel like shit. To remember that I am in charge of all of it.

I am powerful, and that power can be used for good or for evil. Evil is not about being an ax murderer (though that, of course, is evil), it's about living, thinking, in a way that doesn't bring me joy. My joy brings the world joy. It's what I was born for. It's what you were born for. It's what everybody was born for.

Here's the fact, Jack. Nothing was objectively all that different about my life during this painful time period. My hell was created 100% in my own head, by my own perspectives and choices. My solutions, my heaven on earth, will be created the same way.

Hell, indeed, has an on/off switch. Thing is, you have to find it in the dark.