Deep Breathes and Baby Steps

My goal for 2016 was to EMBRACE my life. Not just deal with it, or meander through it, but to live – intentionally! Well, I’m four weeks in and here is a glimpse of how it’s going so far.

First, I learned fairly quickly that I can’t change everything I was shooting for overnight, or in one fell swoop! Yep – that doesn’t work…ever!

True and meaningful change takes time and effort. And for that change to take real hold, it takes commitment! As much as I would love to wave my little fairy wand (yes, I have one here somewhere), and make my life exactly what I want it to be, it just doesn’t work that way!

It was around mid-January when I realized that my initial plans for learning to eat better and exercise more, dedicating daily time to my spiritual growth and making myself more available to family and friends who are important to me, was too much to take on at once.

I mean it sounds simple, in theory, but it really isn’t.

To start, I joined a 3 month challenge that focuses on clean and healthy eating and regular exercise. While the eating has actually gone pretty well – after the massive sugar withdrawal effects the first week – the exercise has been a much larger challenge than I expected. The challenge group provides a series of videos, which honestly seemed to be more geared to people already in some kind of shape – not a couch potato like me! I had also signed up for a weekly Zumba class to help speed things along. While I did pretty good the first week, I aggravated an ankle injury the start of week two. Then it was my lower back, then I got sick. Just as Zumba was ready to start – I was already just trying to keep up with the challenge workouts. At my doctor’s suggestion, I decided to hold off on  Zumba and had to strongly moderate the other videos I was following.

I’ve lost 9 lbs to date, but have found I am exercising less and less. After a trip to the ER for rib pains last week, I am finding it hard to keep up with everything. So I have decided to focus first on improving my healthy eating and cooking habits. As for exercise – I walk as I can and try to focus on adding 1000 steps a week to my daily fitbit goal. I will continue to tweak these plans over the next few months to find a healthy mix. I pray it will get a little easier as time goes on!

In thinking about my spiritual goals, my plans were three-fold: Find 30 minutes each day to be in the Word, participate in a new Bible study group and EMBRACE my small group. I ended up joining two new study groups. One focuses on those places where we feel stuck. The three areas I chose to focus on align nicely with my EMBRACE mantra for the year. I’m only at the beginning of the study and already I feel pretty confident that this journey is going to take me to places that I’ve tried to avoid, though they are places I need to go to move forward! The second study group is about marriage. I don’t have issues in my marriage, but both my husband and I felt drawn to this study as a way to maintain the great relationship we have with each other. Both studies require a time commitment each week to complete the study work, but it is well worth the time. Because of my schedule, I find my daily reading time often takes a hit – so I’m working on that! This part of my 2016 plan is crucial to me, and of great priority. So I’m putting most of my focus here – and working my other plan items around it.

Then there are my relationships! I have been trying to be more intentional in reaching out to others. A get together here and there, one on one time to catch up where I can or sometimes just a quick text to let someone know I’ve been thinking of them. While I have enjoyed the connections I’m making, and the time I’ve spent with my friends and family, I have also felt pressed to fit these things into my schedule. I often worry that I seem hurried, or not in the moment when I’m with them or talking to them. That is not the intention of my goal – so this is still a work in progress.

In each of these three life areas, I have already had to retool my thinking to avoid being so overloaded with activity, that I lose the benefits of actually doing them. As of today, I think I’ve found a balance, but it is a constant moving target. I guess that is life! We have to learn how to take the hours we have and fit in the things we want/need to do. Setting priorities, setting boundaries and ensuring margins in our schedule are all essential.

I’m learning about that every…single…day!

Notice how I have not mentioned my work schedule? The truth is that I am not able to change that aspect of my life at this time. And while that is currently adding a level of stress to my day that I’m not thrilled about, part of life is learning to adapt to our situations and circumstances, or at least learning to manage our attitude about them.

Work. In. Progress! My phrase of the moment!

And leaning on lots of prayer!





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