I'm a seriously great starter. And a seriously bad finisher. Aren't you? I get emails every single day from women who say, "I just can't show up!" and "I'm forcing myself to start again!" and "THIS TIME, I will get through the whole 30-Days!" and "I just need to be better." And I realized that most of us - maybe all of us - have this assumption that we are somehow majorly damaged because we don't show up every day for self-care or other "shoulds." To which I am here to say, YOU are normal. In fact, I'd say it's the folks that actually get through things they start that are abnormal (god bless 'em). And in honor of your normality, I'm heretofore providing you with a list of just a few of my starts and unfinishedness:
- Undergrad. Got through two semesters and then quit. I did however go back after four years, only to then quit again. And then I went back and actually finished. Finally. Let's not talk about grad school.
- That time I went all raw. For like 2.5 hours. After reading about a dehydrator.
- That time I did that "detox for women" thing where you eat a lot of goat cheese and zero carbs and drink so much green juice and call meat "flesh" and have to combine it with the proper other non-flesh food. It was 30 days. I lasted a week.
- That 40-Day yoga program I signed up for and did Day One and then nothing again. And then signed up again a couple of years later only to repeat the exact same unfinishing behavior.
- P90X. "German potato soup." You who have done it know what I'm talking about. N E X T.
- An online business mastermind course with the who's who of digital marketing. Not interested. N E X T.
- Collecting my daughter's stool for an antiquated and unnecessary test. At least that's how I rationalized it when I merely opened the package, prepared the materials, and then surrendered it. College try, as they say.
- Keeping my car clean. I start that every week. And then definitely wave the white flag.
- I once went to an 3-day in-person personal training certification class
and then literally walked out at lunch on the first day and decided to
do it online instead. (I did get certified, don't worry)
- That 30-Day meditation challenge that guaranteed "real" happiness. I read the book. I mean, the first chapter. I learned a lottttt.
- Pretty much every job I've ever had that didn't involve me as a boss.
You see? That's just the cliff notes version of my list. We haven't even left 2003. Kidding. No, but seriously. Here's the deal. The reason we start things and don't finish them is because we put far too much expectation on what finishing means. It's like a carrot ever-dangling in front of our noses, us chasing behind like rabid rabbits (do rabbits get rabies?) thinking that if we just catch that carrot, we'll finally get "there." What's "there," you ask? I think it's some supposed sensation of wholeness and shiny invisibility. For some, it's sustained weight loss. For others, it's a return to health after illness. For others, it's deep down happiness. For many, it's finding our purpose and our value. We convince ourselves that if we just grab that carrot, we'll get "there." But, what I'm learning is that this carrot is elusive and we're never actually gonna catch it. Why? Because it symbolizes our holes, our perceived lack. It does not represent our wholeness, because if it did, that carrot would be in our pocket available for munching as we walk along our path. We chase it because we want to believe that with the flip of a turbo switch, we'll get going at a pace that will rip the holes and limitations and insecurities off of us.
What we all discover - often quickly - is that chasing that carrot is exhausting and meaningless. And we stop things we start because we know that. Not because we're lazy turds incapable of sticking to anything. It's not that you can't finish stuff, it's that you've set yourself up for failure because your measure for wellness is all screwed up. And by seeking that screwed up measure, you relinquish your ability to show up for yourself because you demand the very things wellness is not: Deprivation and isolation.
What is a measure of wellness then? How can we finish things that are good for us to even start? Hmmmmm. I'm not sure I even knew this until the other day, really. I was walking in the Houston Arboretum with my girls on the first beautiful crisp day of Fall with a tea in one hand and my camera in the other. We were walking fast and slow and skipping and jumping and laughing and touching every single leaf and searching for turtles and nearly falling off the deck into the water looking for turtles and stepping in mud and walking on rope bridges. And, then, I had a flashback of just a year and a half earlier, partaking in an adventure nearly identical. I remember feeling fatigue as deep as bones could reach. Every step I took, I had to remind myself to act like I wanted to run around. Colors were less bright. The kids less inspiring, in fact, a bit annoying. Caffeine was less a pleasure, but instead a drug. This was my general state of being at that time - in fact, for some time before that too.
This is all to say that something switched in me when I started stepping up for myself. It wasn't just creating the workouts I film for you, it was stepping foot into a pattern of living that eventually carried its own centrifugal force. At first, it was miserable. And then, the more I plowed along, the more an apparent energy pushed alongside me. Acceleration, so to speak. I never stopped to measure how I was doing, or what my body looked like, or how well I was. I just decided at one point that it was worth it. I never once deprived myself. In fact, the more I accelerated, the less dependent on deprivation I became. When you come alive and when you are well, appetite (for everything) arrives and can be trusted.
To feel the gift of energy and the ability to be present in my full form most of the time is my measure of wellness. I show up every day to do my workouts and to treat my body with care because it yields this. It yields the ability to be alive without being deprived; to be well without having had to accept the notion that wellness is discipline. Wellness sneaks up on you without you knowing if you are doing it right. You are so busy getting into an accelerated state that you forget to even notice if your pants fit or if you lost weight or if your face looks better or if you can run faster. It just slides in next to you, like that weird-eccentric-way-too-happy stranger on the city bus. Refreshingly odd. But perfectly positioned. And only appreciated if you are willing to be fully accepting of every imperfection humanness carries.
Lookie here. Barbie, our consigliere (chief brand ambassador), and I are getting geared up to offer you something that encompasses this new measure of wellness. We're sick of women's wellness being held merely to a standard of body weight and nutritional prowess. We believe that TRUE women's wellness hinges on very different perimeters. And, because of her amazingly skilled and professional background combined with my scrappiness, we're going to start doing research on exactly how to measure what it means to be a woman who is well. Additionally, we are restructuring our uber popular 30-Day Challenge (The Hook) to focus on this main factor: Do You Stop What You've Started? We're curious what happens when YOU give your strength a chance, just as we both have in our own lives. But, we're acutely aware that giving your strength a chance is going to take some major hand-holding and help. And, so, we're building these sorts of supports into The Hook beginning NOW, along with creating a brilliant new and innovative (and clinical) way to reframe what wellness looks like. Let's show the world what it looks like when women stay put in their self-care and reach for strength that matters.
Do you want to finish what you started? Do you want your wellness to stop feeling like a carrot dangling in front of your nose? Would you like to discover that being strong and confident requires zero deprivation and isolation? What is possible if you were to give your strength a chance? DO YOU WANT HELP/SUPPORT/RESEARCH/LOVE/COMMUNITY?
Sign up today for the freebies if you are not already a Hook-er and tomorrow (Wednesday) you will get an email from me with not only instructions for how to get started, but with a discount on The Hook that takes it from beyond affordable to ridiculously accessible. I'm going to limit the number of women we take into this round due to some of the research we'll be doing, so giddy up. Sign up now. This is not a ploy or a sales pitch. This is the start of a movement dedicated to reframing women's wellness. Join us.
Oh, and share this post with your friends for intensified badassery. I have no idea what that means. Go with it.