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Molly Grace James

A Life Well Lived…

Month

January 2018

Mood Follows Action

Current mood: tired, yet hopeful.

In feeling tired I should just stay at home and not work towards my fitness goals? That of course depends.

Ultra endurance athlete and dad of four Rich Roll has succinctly said: “Mood follows action.”

Which means reliance on motivation is not what it takes to get up and get going.

Said another way: Don’t think. Do.

If I listened to every desire to hide out in my apartment with my kitten loves I would probably never get to “doing” part that is needed to advance my strength and lifting.

So what do you do when your brain and body have competing goals?

At the moment I am fortunate to have an extremely goal driven partner who helps bring out the best in my work out sessions. And who motivates me, as in will work out without me if I don’t get moving, to continue down the path of lifting/fitness success.

And I would add once you do then think.

In other words, it is easy to get stuck (at least it is for me) obsessing over every lift and over-analyzing each action. Too much of this and it is unproductive.

It is still helpful to evaluate on a broader level the trends of what went well or what didn’t. And to save the analysis for a coach or someone who can give you a better assessment.

Also, action for the sake of action must be balanced by listening to your body and taking proper rest measures.

Many days I feel exhausted. And perhaps this is a larger trend of the need to fine tune my sleep, nutrition, intensity of workouts.

Again, it is crucial to listen to the needs of your body. This is a bit trickier because of those competing desires. Fortunately resting appropriately is vital to any training program.

This thought reminded me of an Outdoor Magazine article called 8 Principles to Do it Better, by Brad Stulberg, which I found to be tremendously helpful.

Here’s the quick rundown of the principles:

  1. Stress + Rest = Growth
  2. Focus on the Process, Not Results
  3. Stay Humble
  4. Build Your Tribe
  5. Take Small, Consistent Steps to Achieve Big Gains
  6. Be a Minimalist to Be a Maximalist
  7. Make the Hard Thing Easier
  8. Remember to Experience Joy

Fortunately, there is always hope. Hope that improvements will happen. Hope that you will become a stronger, better person. And hope that additional information will continue to help with that process.

As the article mentioned, with respect to the third principle, “Knowledge is always evolving and advancing—if you want to evolve and advance with it, you need to keep an open mind.”

And that, to me, is comforting.

So here’s to advancing!

 

Photo by ivan Torres on Unsplash

Mindset Matters

Comptrain (the daily Crossfit training guide) sent out an email today with the headline “Resilience: The Success X Factor.”

This excerpt was particularly meaningful:

When situations unravel, resilient people can muddle through, imagining possibilities where others are confounded.

My takeaway from the email was to ask myself the following questions when I’m in a situation I perceive as challenging:

What are the opportunities?

And what are you learning?

Here are some situations I face that make me feel lousy:

  • Had a “bad” interview
  • Not feeling like I am making enough
  • Feeling like I am not advancing career wise
  • A bad workout (meaning not feeling fit enough)
  • Not lifting the weight you want to lift
  • Stressed about driving (this one may take more to resolve 🙂 )

These two questions feel especially helpful with my current job situation. I feel stuck. I feel like a pivot may be necessary and I am not quite sure what that will look like. So instead of feeling helpless and miserable it is encouraging to think of the ways that I can a) see this as an opportunity and b) take some time to think about what I am learning from this situation.

mindset
Source: quora.com

In reality I am very fortunate. I have more than enough money to meet my needs, while being able to contribute in small ways to helping others. I love investing and am able to do so. I have a place to live. I have a car. I have a loving partner. I have my family. I have my friends. I have my two cats. I have a formal education. I have the ability to improve.

So what’s next?

I am not sure, but I know I will be okay. Eventually.

How a skinny distance runner transformed into the strongest she’s been in her life 

If I had to write catchy click-bait title to this part of my life it would be most likely be something along those lines. The what is pretty simple, the how fairly straightforward, but the why is where the complexity begins. And what does it mean to be strong anyways? Mentally, emotionally, physically – those are all components – right?

As each of those improve it feels like there is more room for growth and continued improvement.

And the questions keep coming.

Is a life in balance a happy one? Is a life focused on achieving the most you can one of fulfillment? And what about the ability to then help others?

It feels in many ways to be a typical story. In college I felt lost. I tried out for the D1 Lacrosse team – had the fastest mile in tryouts and due to limited hand-eye coordination failed almost everything else (anyone who knows me knows this to be the case).

I found glimpses of purpose and belonging by picking myself back up and asking Bruce Lehane, the distance coach, if I could join the BU track and Cross Country team. I worked incredibly hard achieving times I never thought were possible. But I felt isolated. I struggled with feeling “good enough” and struggled with body image and disorders eating habits.

Fast forward to graduation and the sinking feeling of not achieving enough hit me full force. I always knew I would be “successful,” but feeling like an aimless wanderer was terrifying. A journey with no fixed endpoint – how was and is this survivable?!

By lifting and achieving measurable results – it sounds silly, but I started to feel like myself again.

 

We are all wired differently, but for me having a direction a sense of improvement motivates me and pulls me through times that feel overwhelming or dark.

And as I continue to progress and have a desire for improvement I have to remember where I was when I started – a person with hopes and dreams… who could barely squat her body weight. And who still today struggles with feelings of inadequacy and periods of sadness.

And it is easy to think: hey, that person over there has it all together, but maybe in life we are all in the rough draft figuring it out stage.

Or maybe there is, and always will be strength in vulnerability.

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