When You Aren’t Winning

It’s easy to move on. It’s easy to forget. When the success starts coming and the weight’s fallen off and the energy is back and the mood is lifted.

I had a conversation the other night that made me remember.

I remember when I wasn’t winning. When every event I had to find an outfit for was frustrating (usually ending in tears). When every night I was too tired and depressed to do anything to better my life so I sat in front of a screen. When I just wanted life to be easy but it felt so hard. When I didn’t like myself – not because of how I looked but because I was choosing daily to be someone I didn’t want to be. I was choosing the easy road to not workout, to not eat healthy, to not do fun creative things with my kids and just turn on the TV for them or numb my pain with sugar and carbs. I was BURNT OUT. I didn’t feel like I could do more, but I hated doing the bare minimum. I was in a fog. My goal was to survive the day without killing anyone (I’m not joking). I knew I was meant for greater things but I was too tired and frustrated with myself to try.

I’m not saying life isn’t still a struggle. I’m not saying that before I wasn’t winning now all I do is win. Yesterday was a pregnancy hormonal roller coaster (my poor husband)! But today is a new day. I KNOW what I’m capable of because I’ve fought my way out of those dark days, and when I see the darkness creeping in again, instead of throwing up my hands and resigning myself to surrender to it, I know I can fight it. I know I can wake up to a NEW day. I can make healthy choices, I can take the kids to the library, park, IKEA, Target, cut up some construction paper and get out some glue, I know I can hit play on a 30 minute workout and no matter how many interruptions I know it’s doing my body some good, I know that the fog that hovers over my mind and convinces me that it’s got to be complicated and it’s going to be too hard, is just a lie, and so I dive in and do my best anyway.

I am OVER living for perfection – working out 6 days a week – only eating organic everything – making my own yogurt and bone broth – I am embracing messy attempts at bettering myself, because perfection will never be me, but resignation to lazy- self-destructive patterns wasn’t getting me anywhere either. It’s not that I win all the time, it’s that I TRY all the time, and there’s some sort of magic in trying.

If you aren’t winning, if you don’t even have the strength or confidence to try, if you are in that fog, if you see my posts and roll your eyes because you just can’t…I KNOW that place. I haven’t forgotten. We all hit our rock bottom and we all realize our own strength at different times and in different ways, but let me assure you – there is a spark of the divine in you and that spark just needs to be fanned into a flame. It’s one gust of air away from burning brightly again.

I wish we could sit over coffee and I could blow on that spark, and show you how I see you, how those around you see you, how bright you shine – because I know with the sunglasses of self-doubt and the ear plugs of past failures on it’s hard to see things clearly.

So, this is my love letter to you – when you aren’t winning. Things aren’t as dark as they seem.

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My Resolution: More Failure

Before starting my at home workout life almost two years ago (has it really been that long?!) I was a hit or miss gym go-er, spending most of my time on the elliptical or treadmill and never really seeing any changes or results in my body.

After talking with my husband about how hard his Hammer and Chisel workout was last night it hit me why I NEVER saw results or pushed myself prior to starting my Beachbody challenge  and getting a coach: Failure is required for change and I hate failure.IMG_3077

These workout programs from Beachbody are HARD – some of them are REALLY hard. You WILL fail the first time you try them. You won’t last the full minute, you won’t finish with the weights you started with, you may need to hit pause at some point – you will FAIL. For me, before I had the support of a coach and was working on my own personal development, that was a big problem. It was why I gave up on every “diet” I ever tried. I couldn’t deal with failure. If I’m going to fail – what’s the point? I’m not even going to try!

It messed with my head and kept me stuck on the treadmill doing something I knew I COULD do and keeping me from progress and growth.

You CAN’T grow without failure. So what’s really keeping you and me and all of us from the results we want is that we don’t have the courage to fail. Once you get that courage, once you decide that you are going to start a program that is too hard for you or a business that you’ve never tried before and swallow your pride and decide that no matter how many mistakes are made, you are going to fail your way through it – you will FIND the success you have been looking for.

It’s true with exercise and health and fitness and nutrition – it’s true with business and relationships and anything new that you want to accomplish. Once you find that courage – once you realize that failure is PART of success and not something to take personally or let knock you off your game – the WORLD will be unlocked to you.

But this courage to fail isn’t something you have to drum up only once – it’s something you have to face over and over again. Because the things you were once afraid to try become your comfort zone and you have the choice – stay there or get up the courage AGAIN to push to the next level where you will once again fail.

The good news is, every time it gets just a little bit easier. Every time you are faced with that next step, finding the courage to fail your way toward success gets a little easier because you remember what it was like last time. You remember how much you wanted to give up, how deeply you doubted yourself and how you kept going and found success. You hold on to that faith and you jump in to the mess and the confusion and the mistakes and you GROW.

If you make resolutions every year, I challenge you to resolve to fail more this year. In doing so, I think you will find that you will GROW more this year than ever before!

(For more on this subject I HIGHLY recommend the book Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell)

The Tipping Point

My 1 year old son has a tooth that is about to breakthrough and he is also on the verge of walking. Both have him slightly frustrated. I can completely relate. Whenever I am on the verge of a breakthrough, working so hard on something but not seeing the results yet, it can have me in tears too.

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The exciting thing is – you will always feel the MOST frustrated right before amazing things burst through! The most intense pain in labor comes RIGHT before the baby. It’s terrible but exciting at the same time.

The tough thing about that moment right before a breakthrough is that when most people give up, and it’s SO SAD, because they have worked so hard, and are inches away, but can’t see the finish line, so they give up. I know how it feels, I’ve told myself, if something doesn’t change soon I don’t know if I will be able to hold on any longer. That’s the moment when you have to hold on just a little more. The breakthrough is SO close.

That is the TIPPING POINT!

Whether you are waiting for a physical change to occur, a business to take off, or a difficult relationship to be not so difficult, hang on – just a little longer, push just a little harder. The best things take a little sweat (and I can say from personal experience with natural childbirth (3x) – sometimes a lot of pain too!) but it’s WORTH IT. When you reach the peak, when you hold that baby in your arms, when you are seeing transformations and are on the other side of the trial – it will all be worth it!

If you can push through THAT MOMENT – you will prove to yourself how strong you are – and sometimes, that is the best reward of all.

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Glorious Imperfection

I have been reading the book: Failing Forward by John Maxwell for some time now. Just slowly chewing my way through it. For an over-acheiver, perfectionist, big dreamer like myself it has been a breath of fresh air. Striving for excellence is a fantastic trait, until the pursuit of it drives you crazy (and everyone else around you).

I am learning to keep my standards high, but at the same time, realize that the only way I have any hope of achieving them is through FAILURE. Try, try, try again. Learn from mistakes, don’t take yourself too seriously and be kind with others. In fact – the MORE I fail, the more quickly I will reach that ever elusive goal. I feel like this may be why so many visionaries and perfectionists are frustrated most of the time. You have to wade through the muck to get to the diamond. photo 2

Understanding this principle has helped me not only in my own simple goals, but even with my children (being a mom of three and a recovering perfectionist is a comedy in and of itself!). It’s made me more gracious and more persistent. A no, a slammed door, a failed attempt only tells me I need to try one more time – it doesn’t mean give up.

Try something else, try a different way, try to be more consistent, try to be more creative, try to get more training, try to ask for help but never NEVER give up simply because you have failed.

Move through failure, enjoy the glorious imperfection – because if you can’t shake the feeling that you are meant to do something – it’s because you were meant to do it, and if you keep moving through the muck I know you will find your diamond.
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When You Fall Down

old ways

This past week I fell – and in typical Vanessa fashion – I fell hard. It’s crazy how quickly I was able to slip back to my old habits. We’re talking Pizza and Ice Cream, skipping 4 days of workouts (in ONE WEEK!), listening to the doubts and fears, feeling lethargic and overwhelmed by life.

Just feeling LOST.

Can you relate? One bad thing happens and it knocks you down, and before you know it you are spinning out of control, not knowing how to stop and feeling too tired and lost to even figure it out. I compare it to getting knocked down when the waves are strong at the beach. Just as you are trying to get back up another one comes and drags you under. You aren’t drowning per-se but you can’t seem to get your footing. The longer you fight, the more exhausted you become, until you almost just want to give up.

That’s where I was this past week. I wanted to give up. I hated where I was, but felt too tired to fight my way out of it. I thought it would be too hard and frankly, didn’t know if it was even worth it to try. I felt like I should just resign myself to barely surviving the day, being short with my kids, feeling tired and yuck, and not being super kind to my husband either. I wanted something in my circumstances to change, someone to lift me out of the muck…but you know what,

no one can lift you out of a funk like that. It’s something you have to do for yourself…and it’s not as hard as you think.

This morning I just decided (that’s the first step) that I had had enough. As simple and as crazy as it sounds, you have to choose to change your life before you can go about changing it.

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So I decided that things were going to change. I realized that if I could just get back to basics, the small healthy steps that when compounded turn into a healthy and happy life, I *maybe* could get back to feeling alive.

– I read my Bible – for 15 minutes (the kids interrupted me and I almost gave up, but I KNEW I needed to fight for this)

– I read a personal development book for 10 minutes (I’m currently loving The Slight Edge)

– I ate a healthy breakfast (2 scrambled eggs)

– I did devotions with my kids which ended in a beautiful worship song about God being our rock, and a shield that never fails.

– I made little healthy meal choices throughout the day – I just chose not to eat junk and to eat healthy….it’s not hard, I just have to believe that it is better for me to fill my body with healthy food, and then choose to do it.

– I reminded myself what my goals and dreams are, and worked for 1 hour to push forward toward those goals. Sure, I’m still a far way off, but I pushed forward. One step at a time.

– And I exercised. I just pushed play and did it.

It’s not hard.

What you do is who you are.
and you choose what you do.

Choose to be happy
Choose to be positive
Choose to be healthy

The limits you put on yourself, the excuses you give yourself don’t need to keep you from being happy anymore.

I don’t mean to sound harsh or cold. I’ve been there! I’ve let my old habits creep in. I’ve doubted with all my heart that I could actually change, but once I let even just a sliver of hope, a sliver of determination shine through the darkness, AMAZING THINGS HAPPENED.

So that’s what you do when you fall…you get back up.

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My Transformation Story

Never underestimate the ripple effect.
A small change in my physical health gave me incredible gains in my mental and spiritual health as well.

I have never been more full of hope and excitement!
Life is not easy, but even when obstacles come my way, I find myself looking to get around and over them, because…hey, I’ve done it before!

This is my little story and I’m proud of it. I would love to be apart of yours!

Fill out the form bellow or connect with me on facebook and we can talk about your goals…they aren’t as far fetched as you might think!

The Trial of Everyday Life

There hasn’t been much time for posting these days.

I have plenty of thoughts throughout the day that I think would make lovely blog posts, but I usually have them while I’m making peanut butter and jelly for the kids, or taking a walk outside. I hope one day, when things are a little quieter, these thoughts will come back to me and I can get them out in some written form, but until then they just flitter through my mind and disappear.

My 3 year old son has been waking up at 3am every single night for the past week. He goes back to sleep eventually, but I don’t always have the same experience. So, after working on some dangerously critical projects on the computer (computer work is the hardest for me to get done while the kids are awake, some sort of computer demon seems to overtake them once I fire up my imac. Someone either gets critically injured, goes into melt down mode, or dozens of sticky fingers clamor for the mouse and keyboard) I decided, in this rare moment of quiet, to post a little update.

One of the blog posts I was going to write, was on the trial of everyday life. Regular life is tough. Surviving is not easy. Paying the mortgage, getting food on the table, spending time with the Lord, doing dishes, laundry, working, deadlines, making time for family and friends. There was a point, before Christmas break, when it just kept building up until I literally toppled over in despair. And I realized, that I was woefully unprepared to handle the trial of everyday life.

When there is a ‘real trial’ ie. someone looses their job, or can’t get pregnant, or becomes ill, the body of Christ (or at least my local body) is so excellent at providing prayer and support. When I personally go through a ‘real trial’ I tend to spend extended times with the Lord, drown myself in songs that put words I cannot, to feelings and experiences I’m still trying to figure out. I know that without taking these measures, and being supported by my family and friends I won’t make it through.

But I fail to realize that regular life is, in and of itself, a ‘real trial’. My relaxed approach to regular life often makes it suffocating and overwhelming. I feel as if I should be able to, unassisted, handle the demands and workload of a regular life. I don’t reach out for help, I am not on my knees in desperation crying out to the Lord. But as a result, I often end up growing closer to God and being stronger through ‘real trials’ than regular life. In regular life I can become so discouraged, drowsy, apathetic, and lost, and this makes me even more discouraged, because if ‘everyday life’ is leaving me feeling this way, what hope do I have when ‘real trials’ come? I feel ashamed at my lack of faith and joy. However, because I tend to throw myself more deeply into the Lord during ‘real trials’ these tend to be the seasons where I find myself to be strongest, most filled with faith, and even most effective at ministering to others.

I wonder, if I approached everyday life as a true trial, then maybe I would thrive, instead of flounder. Maybe I wouldn’t need the periodic ‘real trials’ to bring me back to focus on God and my need for Him. Because I would truly believe that everyday, normal things are more than I can handle. I can’t wake up, brush my teeth, get dressed, make breakfast for my kids, teach them scripture, do dishes, play with superheros, read books, go on a walk, soothe a crying baby, make lunch, put kids down for naps, do laundry, sweep floors, start dinner, call a friend to see how she is, return a library book, make dinner, give baths, spend time with my husband…without God’s help and power.

Beauty

As a lover and creator of beauty, this season of motherhood is hard.

It’s hard to maintain my home to the standard of beauty that I crave for my inner peace and freedom. I feel choked when things are dirty, ugly, and cluttered. But, in this season, that seems to be the norm of our home these days.

And then, there’s my body. I’m three weeks postpartum, but a long way from my pre-pregnancy state. I stare longingly at all of my beautiful clothes…still off limits.

How do I fight through the depression and haze that constantly being surrounded by ugliness brings me?

Add in lack of sleep and hormones, and you get some very difficult days.
But there has been grace.

Jesus gave up his body, and the beauty of heaven to love me. 
I can give up my body and the beauty of my little home to love my babies. 
What better way to live my life, than to incarnate a little bit of Christ in this small way.