Do things that scare you? Screw. That. Deconstruction is more useful.

Forgive me virtual friends, as I cross-pollinate again.

I have been keeping my daily email group and this blog totally (ok, not so totally) separate. I have never been good at compartmentalizing, I think you should bring your work home with you, I think you should bring your passions and hobbies from home to work with you, whether I am at home, at work, or obsessing over the Boston Marathon, I am still the same giant cluster of molecules and ideas…

Right now that cluster of molecules has heavy legs and junk food on the brain…my long run is waiting patiently for me to rev-up and go get it.

Anyway, sharing time: 

Know yourself, know your life, love yourself, and love your life. Everything else is a bonus.

There is a mantra that has been trendy for many years that I dislike. It goes like this “Do one thing everyday that scares you”. I believe Eleanor Roosevelt is the originator. She has a litany of inspirational quotes to her credit, so I don’t feel bad to admit that this one just doesn’t sit well with me. People really have taken to it though! It’s used by an athletic clothing retailer (Lululemon), a handful of bloggers, many off-the cuff lifestyle challenges, and Oprah, probably (I actually have no idea, but it seems likely).

I will agree that good things often happen when you step outside your comfort zone, but it’s a gamble, and “outside your comfort zone” to me, means “challenging”, which is very different from fear.

If something is challenging, and you fail, you’ll likely learn a few things, get up, and try again. However, if something is scary, and you fail, you may slide right down from scared, to terrified, and vow to never toe that line again.

If something really scares you, that is, the thought of doing it causes you to experience anxiety. Don’t force yourself to do it right away. It’s far more courageous to investigate and figure out why it scares you.

For example, losing weight might increase some of your health indices, and it might make you feel good about yourself via compliments from others, and you might learn to love new foods and exercises, and you might even make new friends. But if you have unresolved feelings, traumas, fears, anxieties, and other issues they will still be there, waiting for you to deal with them. You’ll just have less mass while you sort things out.

So don’t simply ignore your anxieties and go full-fledge into a diet and exercise regime, chip away at those anxieties and take the steps your ready to maintain.

This is the same phenomenon I was alluding to in yesterdays email (blog post). Focus on making your overall quality of life better now, and perhaps all those other behavior changes you desire will start to take shape over time.

Now, let’s be clear, you might also feel anxiety about going to a group exercise class, but at the same time, don’t have a clue how to workout on your own, and can’t afford a personal trainer. If you figure out that you are anxious because you think you might fall down and embarrass yourself, or people will be judging you, enlist a friend to join you, maybe a friend who has training in pratt falls, who can prove to you that everyone at the gym is only looking at themselves, and falling isn’t so bad.

In the end, I would prefer to do one thing everyday that makes me happy. I think part of the sentiment behind “do one thing everyday that scares you” is that you might find that the things you have been avoiding are actually not scary, but rather enjoyable.

Also within that phrase “do one thing everyday that scares you”, though misguided if taken at face value, is a useful lesson: Think outside the box!

If you are struggling, defy convention.

If you are stuck, break the rules you’ve set for yourself.

I think that the simplest illustration of this is breakfast.

Yes. Breakfast.

I propose that the only reason we think eggs and bacon, pancakes, muffins, oatmeal, and so on are breakfast foods while green salads, pork chops and applesauce, and chicken sandwiches are not, is tradition.

Remember the first raw-vegan recipe we shared? On January 4th? It was for ice-cream. My boyfriend and I make it for dessert just about every other night. My nephew loves to eat it for breakfast. Either way, it’s fruit, it’s delicious, and your body uses it right up! (let me know, blog readers, if you want the recipes)

We’ve all heard of pancakes for dinner, and cold pizza for breakfast, but convention is to associate these types of meal choices with children, or (hung-over) college students.

If you’ve eaten junk during the day and feel like you’re getting off track, rather than skip the healthy calories and nutrients your regular dinner would bring, how about some oatmeal, or a fruit (or green) smoothie?

If you’re in a rush to get out of the house in the morning, have that leftover turkey-burger from last night, or how about those veggies and hummus you prepared for snacks? There is no logical reason that such nutritious food isn’t a great way to start the day. It is certainly better than the sugary muffin you end up getting at a coffee shop at 10am because you’re starving! Let’s be honest, a muffin like that is really cake with a different label.

Which do you think is a better way to get your brain and body ready for a busy day; cake, or lentil soup (or pot roast, or chicken and rice, or whatever healthy dish you enjoyed yesterday)?

The same “thinking outside the box” approach can be applied to exercise, meditation, stretching, and any other goal you have!

Breakfast Chili? Sure!

Go on, rearrange things a little today and see if it moves you forward!




One response to “Do things that scare you? Screw. That. Deconstruction is more useful.

  1. Very cool & interesting! I’ve recently started experimenting with the idea of more veggies at breakfast, just a few times. You’ve given me some great ideas for ways to incorporate veggies & protein into a time-crunched morning routine!

    Also: I tagged you in a post on my blog today. Feel free to participate if you’d like!


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