One of the things I love most about creating intentional communities of moms is that we begin to see what unites us all, what is common through each of our experiences, what is simply the human experience that binds us beneath the surface.
And sometimes what binds us are our struggles. One thing I witness happening within many of us is our tendency to live in competition with ourselves.
Let me give you a simple example.
Let’s say one of your goals this week is to stay hydrated. You already know why staying hydrated is important, but over time it hasn’t translated into you actually doing it. So you commit to getting creative, learning a few strategies for staying hydrated, and set off to get your 8 glasses of water in every day for the week.
You rock it out the first day. You have your pitcher of water ready, lemons cut, herbal tea lined up. You are swigging back your eighth glass and it’s barely 3:00 in the afternoon. You’re feeling awesome and on a roll.
Then tomorrow comes and you wake to an immediate sense of recoil.
The first thing you think is “UGH. I can’t do that again. I just don’t want to rally over water today. Yesterday was a blast but it also took a lot of my energy and focus (even under-the-surface energy and focus) and I don’t have it to get all amped up again today.”
It’s at this very moment you will likely misunderstand what is really happening here.
This is not an issue of failing willpower or lack of commitment to the goal. The real issue is that you have begun to set up your days against each other.
And that is the exact moment we begin to turn on ourselves. We’ve bought in to the belief somewhere along the line that our days are actually in competition with each other. That we get to measure the goodness and success of our current day only against our yesterday, or the day before, or last Thursday.
And it’s a crock.
Change will happen irregularly.
It will swell and retreat. It will lurch forward in awkward jerks, other days it will soar and glide. We need to allow ourselves to experience a rhythm of well-being; a rhythm of self-care.
It’s crucial that we don’t compare one day to the next. It’s crucial that we take every step along the way and every day’s efforts all as contributions to the same goal.
You are on your own team. You are not competing against yourself.
You will have days when you get fired up because you started strong and you drank ten glasses of water and you felt giddy and happy and checked in with the friends all day long. And then, you’ll have days when your exuberance for that goal isn’t as high. That’s when you can make a critical choice in how you move forward.
When that wane happens, I want you to say, “Ok. Cool. I get it and I honor it. Let me just take a sip today. I’ll just fill one glass of water and I’ll see how it goes. Maybe today isn’t a 10 glasses day, or maybe it is, but let’s just add a couple drops today toward the good fight. Let me do a bit today if a bit is what I can do. It’s cool.”
This isn’t a competition between yesterday and today. It’s a collaboration of yesterday and today.
If you scored 10 glasses yesterday, than make your yesterday + today = 10 glasses + just a smidgen more…you still come up winning.
Think about Diane Nyad, who swam across the largest stretch of open water in the world. Each hour of her journey she didn’t swim the exact same distance. Every hour didn’t log the same length of ocean covered.
But every minute of every hour contributed to her LARGER goal of getting to dry land on the other side. It would be absurd for her to have the mindset that just because she swam five miles one hour versus one mile the next hour that the one mile didn’t count. That was one mile that she needed to swim anyway…and perhaps it was crucial over the long journey for her to take an hour to swim one mile in order to have the vitality she needed for her next hour.
If you are going to see positive change in any area of your life, it is so important to listen inwardly and see if you are in competition with yourself. See if you feel the sense of judgement or shame or disappointment surface when you don’t have a perfect day every day. And begin to watch what happens to the movement toward your goals when you allow that to happen.
What if you explored a different perspective, a different story this year?
What if you got clear on where in your life you want most positive change and then thought, “I have 365 days until this very day next year…I have 365 chances to take small steps in the direction that I want to go.”
You have a wide-open year ahead of you that is made up of many months and weeks and days and moments and breaths all contributing and collaborating toward your gain. Take whatever steps you are able, whether they are short shuffles or huge leaps toward the new terrain you are headed into. They all count. They all matter. You are on your own team.
This is the kind of work I do with women that makes me feel most alive.
If you’re interested in taking those steps day by day, week by week, within a larger group of moms who are committed moving into their most vibrant selves, I invite you to learn more about my full year healthy-living mentorship program, Replenish 365.