A healthy life is definitely a juggling act. As I add more balls into the mix, it gets more challenging and sometimes one of them is going to fall. When I was only working on what I was eating, it was easy to focus on that. But just eating well was not enough. I had to add in exercise, which was tricky. But still, after some practice, it didn’t feel like that much of a stretch. I’m glad I started before my surgery and kept refining it before I went back to work. Going back to my real life meant I really had to focus. Move, Eat, Work. Um – wait a minute! Right, I was also supposed to Live and Think. Okay, move work under Live category, add in some family time, time with friends, traveling, having fun. Life is good, but balls are starting to fall everywhere. I had to really get organized to keep track of everything. Then I needed to practice, practice and practice some more.
When I started my blog and my e-book, I started getting up earlier to juggle in the time to write, because I still need to make sure that I move, eat and live the right way. Of course, I have been writing and thinking, all along on this journey. It helps me analyze my success and failures. I call it “writing my way out of the drive-thru” and it has helped enormously. I’m enjoying it so much, though, that I’m not giving the same attention to all the other balls I have in the air. Look – I dropped a ball! Why is it that exercise is always the ball that falls? Oh right – because it is the least attractive and there’s no pressure to do it, except my own head shouting “GET MOVING”!
When I’m writing, I don’t listen to that voice. Yesterday was classic: I got dressed for my workout, then sat down to just jot down a quick thought. Four hours later I was racing to take off my (completely clean) workout clothes and get to work – late. I didn’t have any other time all day to exercise, so I had to resort to my back-up exercise plan – a “no excuses” workout – the treadmill I have in my bedroom. I was tired and had to really push myself to get going. But once I did, I got in my 3.2 miles in 48 minutes and I even managed a few 6mph sprints.
A healthy life, like juggling, is a learned skill. No one is born knowing how to juggle. If we want to do it, we need to start slow and practice, practice, practice. If we can’t get it, we need lessons and then more practice. My lessons for changing my life came from my doctors, my nutritionist, my weight loss therapist, books, support groups, my friends and my family. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve had to figure out how to juggle it into my life. We start with one ball and we keep practicing until it becomes a habit. Then we add in a second ball. More practice until we can add in a new one. We can stop at three balls, or we can challenge ourselves and go for the fourth or fifth. There’s nothing to stop us but ourselves.
It takes a lot of work to take your life apart and put it back together so that the good habits become second nature. Every time we add in other new habits, even good ones, we have to work on our juggling act and keep practicing. Don’t be surprised that when you make changes, balls start to hit the floor. That’s what happens when we increase the complexity of a process. As a process engineer, I saw this in big corporations and small teams and the same is true for me as an individual.Things always get worse before they get better, but they do get better. You just have to make sure that what you are practicing is the right juggling act.
In the last month, I’ve begun to warp my priorities so that writing is coming before exercise. If I’m going to continue to lose and then maintain that loss, I have to correct that. Writing about the changes I’ve made in my life is fascinating to me, and I’m not giving it up.
So what do I need to do? Sometimes we have to change the size of the balls we are juggling, maybe re-order them. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to get up and do my exercise first, then come back to the computer. I will have less time to write in the mornings, but I may be able to squeeze in some time at lunch and before bed. It won’t be the same, but who knows? Maybe it will be better.
Have a wonderful day and leave me comments about the juggling act we call our lives – I’m off to the gym!