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:~: Monday, April 09, 2007 :~:

It's All A Matter Of Perspective

The DH and I are going on vacation in a couple of weeks sans kiddlets (...two weeks and six days, but who's counting?). For the last year and a half I've been working out consistently to get my body back in shape after having Gremlin #3. (and let me tell you, it's been tough.) The workouts have helped, but I've recently hit a plateau. When we decided to get serious about booking our trip nearly a month ago, I also decided to get serious about my workouts. No more taking it easy, no more slacking off, no more telling myself fifteen minutes on the treadmill is really the same as twenty or twenty five. (I know I'm not the only one who does this). Most days I can't really see a difference in my body from all the workout changes I've been making. Is the increased exertion and sweat really working? Are my workout changes making any noticeable difference? Is cutting out sugar really helping me get back in shape? It's very hard to tell.

Today as I was standing in the weight room doing lunges, surrounded by mirrors (because, yes, every weight room on the planet has ten thousand mirrors so you can see every jiggly angle), I stopped and looked at myself with an objective eye. Not easy to do for most women - trust me, I know. What did I see? My shoulders are slowly changing shape. There's muscle tone there that wasn't there before. My clothes really do look like they fit differently. I actually DO have muscles in my biceps and triceps and what do you know, my butt's not as saggy as it once was. But all of these changes aren't things I see on a daily basis because I see myself in the mirror every morning when I wake up and get dressed. Because of that, the dramatic differences happening are easy to overlook. And when I don't fit into a size smaller in two-weeks time of getting serious about workouts and eating "healthy", it's very easy to consider throwing in the towel and just giving up.

A dear friend of mine recently mentioned she's had nine months to get herself in shape for a vacation she and her DH are taking at the end of the month. Yet she hasn't. As someone who's always interested in cause and effect (yes, that's my science background coming out...let's all make a hypothesis...), my question becomes, why? What stopped her from reaching her goal? Was it an outside force? A hurricane? Food sabotaging her in the form of a candy bar every time she turned around? Or was it...her personal level of perseverance?

I picked up a book this weekend by an up-and-coming author. I'm a couple of chapters into it (actually took it to the gym this morning and read a little while I was on the elliptical forcing myself to go PAST the thirty minute mark), and I have to say, this whole writing gig isn't rocket science like we sometimes make it out to be. This story is entertaining, but it's not knock-you-on-your-ass stellar. The writing is good, but not drool-worthy. In the end, the plot is well-thought out, but not so incredible another writer smacks her hand against her head and thinks, why the hell can't I come up with plots like this? Simply put, this is an easy-to-read, entertaining book. And this author is making a career out of writing easy-to-read, entertaining books. She's not a better writer than I am. Her plots aren't more unique or captivating. And if I were a writer prone to throwing in the towel, I might find myself asking, why is she published and I am not?

Perseverance. It's the same thing with the workouts. Having talked with this particular author in person and having read a few of her online articles, I know she has an enormous level of perseverance. When others would have given up, she went on. When she was told she wouldn't ever make it, she didn't listen. When she got rejection after rejection, she didn't let it ruin her determination to one day make a career out of doing something she loves. That's a matter of perspective. Looking at yourself with a critical eye and knowing if you keep working and improving and are dedicated enough, you will eventually reach whatever goal you set for yourself.

I have two weeks, six days (correction, two weeks, five days and . . . eight hours) to reach my workout goal in time for vacation. Will I? I don't know. If I don't, I'll be close. But the cool thing about workout goals is even if I don't make the vacation deadline, I still have summer to be in shape for, and Nationals in Dallas, and a whole multitude of things happening in my future. I will get there. The same is true for my writing. I can't see the daily strides I'm making by continually writing and honing my craft, but they're happening just the same. Things might not be moving along career-wise as fast as I'd like them to, but that's not a reason to give up.

How about you? How high is your level of persistence and perseverance? And what keeps you going, be it workouts or writing?

Labels:

8Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eli,

Congrats on sticking to the exercise routine. I've been sticking to my walking regime, myself. Walking five times a week (at least) most of the time six times a week.

When it comes to perseverance, for me--at any rate. I tend to stick to the things that are important to me. Like walking, and writing--and showing dogs. But I let the less important things slide--like yard work and house cleaning. . .

Theresa

9:41 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Good job on the walking, T. Glad to hear you're sticking with it. I used to love to run outside - got my best brainstorming done then - but now the kids always want to go with me - either in the stroller or riding their bikes - and there's constant chatter, which negates the whole working-out-to-save-my-sanity and brainstorming thing. LOL

And yeah, I'm less motivated for things like house cleaning and yard work too. ROFL

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

I am very focused on things that matter to me, and I can go to great lengths to reach my goals. Sometimes I have to take a step back and prioritize though.

Good for you and your gym routine. I also have one, and am very disciplined about going.

12:56 PM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

I'm not as disciplined about my exercise routine as I used to be. However, I am pretty religious about yardwork and housework, and I've been told those can count as exercise (raking, mopping, etc.). I miss running, and I'm hoping to get back into it (my eldest son and I run together).

Kudos to all three of you -- I feel like a slug now! :-)

1:14 PM  
Blogger Paty Jager said...

I have been pursuing writing and letting my body to go pot! I need to get on a schedule of working out every day. Walking to the barn three times a day isn't enough to be considered a workout. Now the stacking 180 bales every Sunday and building fence - that's my weekly workout! LOL

Perseverance - That's me. I might not be the best at what I do, but dang if I'm going to let anyone tell me I can't!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

I'm like that too, Michelle. As evidenced last night when chaos reigned supreme in the house and DH finally said, "Are you ever getting off that computer?" I just wanna know why my creativity strikes in the midst of the craziness? Why can't it hit when the house is quiet?

3:55 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

They do, Lin. Esp. if you do them more than I do. :)

3:55 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

Oooh, Paty. I don't miss bucking hay bales. That's some serious work.

And I love your level of perseverance, Paty. ;)

3:57 PM  

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