Embrace Your Starting Point … Even If It Sucks

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off well.

Yesterday I went back to the gym for the first time in (inaudible mumbling) days. Okay weeks. Alright, months. Let’s just air it all out right now. It’s been less than a year, so that’s where I’m stopping. And don’t ask when I was there last because I’m not even sure the YMCA computers keep records that long. Let’s just say it’s been a while.

This isn’t part of a New Year’s resolution. It’s more about spending too many hours sitting around the house every day. And that whimper I hear from the bathroom scale every morning. Last time I stepped on it the digital display just said “ERR”. I guess that beats “OUCH” but not by much.

Add in several years of lower back pain that’s getting worse with time, and the fact that I have to pay my grandson to carry a couple of 40-pound bags of salt to the basement, and it’s painfully obvious I have to do something. The only problem is they expect you to pick those weights up by yourself, and there isn’t a motorized exercise bike in the place. Only a set of pedals. Seriously?

The treadmill would be great, but you can’t just stand there. I’ve seen too many videos of what happens when people fall behind on that device, and it’s not pretty. But there is some perverse sense of satisfaction in standing with your feet on the side rails and watching the display rack up the miles. I can burn off 6,000 calories without even breaking a sweat.

Okay, we all know it takes a little more effort than that. I joke about fitness and my weight because it beats crying about it. And I think we all need to do that a little more. There’s nothing worse than trying to get out of a yoga pose as some anorexic diva complains about her belly fat. The first step toward self-improvement is accepting yourself just as you are. Only then can you get better.

We all have our own starting point, no matter what it is we’re trying to accomplish. For some, that starting point is at least a few degrees better than most of us would be thrilled with as a final goal. And that’s okay. I can’t set their goals any more than they can set mine. We can set expectations, but those are imposed. Kind of like the boss telling you when an assignment is due.

And make no mistake, those expectations have to be met. But in terms of goals, they’re little more than a mandate by somebody who’s less interested in your priorities than their own. On the job, that’s to be expected. Needs of the company have to be met. But off the job, we need to set our own expectations. And once we’ve established those expectations, they need to become goals.

The key is to approach those goals as if you’re being paid to succeed. And in every sense of the word, you are. But ask yourself at the end of the day if you met the expectations of the job. If you were paying yourself to do this, would you still have a job tomorrow? Or would you be sitting outside the boss’ office with a herd of penguins doing a Texas two-step in your belly? Be honest.

No matter what personal goals you hope to accomplish, start with these two truths in mind. First, you are perfectly acceptable just as you are. You don’t have to measure up to anybody else’s standard. And second, you have the ability to do anything you desire. Whether it’s fitness, weight loss, improved health, a stronger relationship, or increased wealth, it’s waiting to be claimed.

The ability to laugh at your predicament is a healthy start to working toward improvement, because it means you’ve accepted the reality of that situation. You’re not kidding yourself or anybody else. From there, it’s just a matter of deciding which way you want to go. The only thing standing in your way is your own desire. Okay, and a few non-motorized exercise machines.

If you want the machines (or the world) to move, you need to do the pushing. You can do this.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Some Things Really Can Wait

Good morning! I hope you had a nice weekend.

Mine was a mix of trying to cram in all the necessary errands Saturday so I could stay out of the snow Sunday, which means I probably spent more time in front of the TV than I should have. But I did use some of my down time to do a little business training, so I guess I can add that to the “accomplishments” list.

That’s not to say there aren’t things I should have done that I didn’t. Every Monday, as I drive to work, I look back at the weekend to make a mental list of the things I didn’t get finished. I’m sure we all do that at some level. There just never seems to be enough time to do all the things we need to do, plus a few of those that are just for our own amusement.

So, I begin most Mondays by adding to my “to-do” list for the coming weekend. Unless I can get lucky and knock out a few things in the evenings after work. But in all honesty, some of those things may never get done. That’s just the way it works.

And that’s okay. At least I hope it is, because there are jobs on my to-do list from 1997, and odds are I won’t be getting around to any of them this week, either. I’m pretty sure my wife gave up anyway. But the truth is, some of these tasks may not have been that important to begin with. Sometimes, we just think they are.

And it’s that way, both on the job and off – even for some of our personal goals. We’ll put something at the top of the list with all the best intentions of giving it our utmost attention. But other things can quickly take that top spot, and, after a while, we realize it may not have been so critical after all. Or we just run out of time. It happens.

And other times, we let something slide only to find later it really was a lot more important than we’d thought. And we come to that realization as the “Check Engine” light comes on, accompanied by a loud knocking sound and blue smoke pouring from the tailpipe. Maybe Dad was right about those oil changes. There goes next year’s vacation fund.

So, it’s important to revisit our to-do list from time to time. Some things can be put off a little while, and some can be erased completely. But there are some that absolutely need to move to the top of next week’s list, with no option for putting them off again.

The critical piece of the puzzle is knowing the difference. Unless you’ve got all kinds of time on your hands and the only thing on your to-do list is getting up every day for breakfast, sooner or later you’ll find yourself facing some tough decisions. Sometimes we’re aided in those decisions by something a lot more desirable, like going out with friends. But that’s not always the case.

Where it gets tricky is when we have things to do that will take more time than we’ll ever have in a single day. My garage is a perfect example of that. Or maybe I should say, the clutter in my garage is a perfect example of what happens when you put off doing anything until you can do it all. The mess just keeps getting bigger. And the sad part is, most of it can go straight in the trash.

If there’s something you need to do, whether it’s for work, a job around the home, something for your business, or a book you’ve been meaning to read (or write), you don’t have to do it all at once. But if you just throw your hands up in the air and turn on the TV because you only have six hours left and there’s no way you can do that job in six hours, guess what’ll still be on your plate next week?

Break those larger jobs down into manageable chunks, and then you won’t need a whole day (or longer) to get them done. Maybe an hour here and a half-hour there is enough. Sure, it won’t get done all at once, but unless you’re cooking dinner or performing surgery, odds are it doesn’t matter. Whatever you didn’t get done will still be waiting for you later. That, I can promise.

Make time for the things you need to do but remember things don’t always go according to plan. Other things will pop up – some more critical, some not. But as the day comes to a close, don’t beat yourself up over the things you didn’t get done. Celebrate the wins and re-prioritize the rest. And be sure to make a little time for yourself along the way. You’ve earned it!

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved