Relapse

Just the other day I was coasting along through life doing absolutely fantastic at identifying when my inner critic chimed in and started leading me down a path, or when my anxiety was starting to flare and cause panic, or even when I was about to go down a road of fear, misunderstanding, and old habits. I was fucking rocking it. I’m rocking it right now.

But I hit a week where that was no longer true. This was a week of confusion, what felt like extreme exhaustion, bickering because I couldn’t put myself first no matter what Eddie said, staying inside feeling trapped, and so much more. I was struggling but I wasn’t able to identify it. I didn’t identify it until one morning after we had our worst bicker in so long I can’t even remember how long it has been.

This week was the first week I was home, restricted from traveling, restricted from going to yoga, restricted from buying groceries because people cleared the stores out, and the weather was gray and dreary. This was the first week that the COVID-19 panic truly set in. This was also the week that the largest earthquake in 10 years hit Utah.

It was a funky, weird week. There was nothing normal about this week and it truly showed in my mood. And my emotional reactions. Thank God I was not on my period during this week, Eddie would have lost his mind.

I am calling this my relapse week because I lost all knowledge and connection to the work I have been doing over the years. I didn’t really even know who I was. I was merely going through the motions, barely getting by each day. Have you had a day like this recently? Or even a week?

How do you handle your relapses? I assume this will happen more than once in my life. I assume I will encounter this discomfort again in the future. I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I would say this probably wasn’t the first time that I got to this point. I relapsed when we were going through infertility treatments. I relapsed when I couldn’t barely walk before my spinal fusion. I haven’t even been on this good track for a year. But this relapse was the shortest.

I was able to identify that something wasn’t right after we had a pretty bad bicker. It was the end of the day and I was chillaxing on the couch. It was weird that I started to realize what just happened. I literally had this “what the fuck” moment. I felt blindsided that this relapse had happened. But then I started to think through the progression.

I worked through identifying how the spiral happened. I identified what the warning signs would have been. I discovered what the triggers were that sent me to the full relapse point. I pretty much retraced the entire week. Then I made a decision.

I decided that the following day would be a fresh start. After all, each new day truly is a fresh start.

So I did. I started fresh. I woke up early like I normally do automatically. I had my morning doing my Start Today Journal and Planner, I had lots of coffee, meal planned, paid bills, and set my intentions for the day. I started fresh. I started the day just as I would any other day that is a good day.

And you know what? It worked, mostly. I was struggling to come out of the mood, but I was controlling all of my thoughts. I was identifying my feelings. Then we went off-roading. My mood wasn’t the best when we started, but after sticking with the truck at the bottom of a trail that I didn’t want it to go up (hey, it’s perfectly capable, I just don’t like pin striping and I’m not ready to put a scratch in her), I had some time to just gaze into distant mountains and to walk around the hills we were in. This alone time in nature was a Godsend. I needed it. My mood completely changed.

How did I get out of this relapse? I pulled myself out of it by doing the things that enrich myself. I pulled myself out of that relapse by realizing that that person who was showing up that week was not the woman I know that I am. I pulled myself out of that relapse because I’ve been working my ass off to grow emotionally.

I am going to continue to work my ass off because maybe next time instead of a week, my next relapse might be just a day.

I Don't Know How to Set Goals

I’m not a goal setter.

Goals are too restrictive.

I was never taught how to set goals.

Goals aren’t achievable in my life.

I’ve set goals before but have never accomplished them, it’s no use.

Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking any of those? I have. The one I used to use the most was “I’m not a goal setter.” I would come back to that over and over again. I look back now and see that it was just another excuse to stay stuck, to not do hard things.

I wasn’t ever taught how to set goals, but for some reason, that was never an excuse for me. I actually didn’t learn how to set goals until within the last couple of years and it still took me time before I set goals.

In my opinion, goals require feeling behind them. If I set a goal and I am not emotionally vested in the outcome, I’m never going to do the work required to reach that goal. If I set a goal that I’m kinda invested in, but am not sure how I truly feel about it, then I’m still not going to do the work. I have to feel into what I want the outcome to be before I will actually put in the work.

Goals can be huge or they can be extremely simple. It doesn’t matter. One of my goals right now is to get through this social distancing a stronger person. Most days have been downright difficult. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Especially because I’m an introverted homebody. But I hit a low point and it took a day or so to realize what the hell was making me forget ALL of the work I’ve done.

Another goal I have is to plant and truly take care of some herbs. I have these cool planters, but I always let the herbs die. I don’t plan enough meals to use the fresh herbs. Now I’m looking to find more meals to make that use the herbs that I plant.

A big goal that I have that I keep having to come back to is to become debt free. It isn’t an easy goal to achieve, especially when there is so much to buy and make life easy. Or food to eat. Or cute clothes that can make me feel better in my own skin. Or, or, or. To accomplish this goal, I’ll have to make a huge mindset shift. And I have, but then I get lax on my mindset and it goes to hell. Each day I am closer to achieving my goal, the more I feel the feeling of relief and joy.

So how do you set goals?

You have to have things that you are emotionally invested in achieving. Did you read my last post I Don’t Know How to Dream? If you haven’t, go back and read it.

To know what goals to reach for, you have to know what your dream for your life is. You have to sit down and truly look into the future and what you want out of your life. You cannot just simply set a goal and hope for the best. You have to be invested in the goal.

Setting goals just to set goals doesn’t work. If you set a goal to run a 10K but have absolutely no interest in running or physically cannot run, you aren’t going to achieve that goal. If you set a goal to become a millionaire but have no interest in working your ass off, then you aren’t going to reach it. If you set a goal to pay off your debt but keep spending frivolously, you are never going to pay that debt off.

Take all of the dreams you wrote down from the previous post and break them down into action items. Some with have high level action items that break down even further. That’s good. Those are your stepping stones. Keep breaking these steps down until you have actionable steps that you can achieve one after the other. You just set goals. Each of those actionable steps is a goal.

You can set goals. You just have to get out of your own way and allow yourself to dream and become emotionally invested in those dreams.

What are some goals you are working towards right now?

I Don't Know How to Dream

This is not an uncommon thought. I was one of the people who didn’t know how to dream for many years. At least, that is what I thought. I was wrong.

I may not have thought that I knew how to dream, but I knew I was able to push forward. In all that I accomplished up until realizing and truly beginning to dream, I simply pushed forward for something better. I knew I wanted more, even if I wasn’t sure what I truly wanted. I knew I couldn’t stay stuck, that wasn’t the life I wanted to live.

Do you want more? Are you refusing to stay stuck by pushing forward through anything?

Girl you are dreaming! Seriously. You are. You might not have direction towards those dreams, but you are dreaming. Just like I was. You are already one step closer to opening your mind up to big dreams.

That one step for me was to sit down and write out who I saw myself being in ten years. I learned how to do this best from the Start Today Journal practice. I had heard multiple books or podcasts explaining this process before, but Rachel Hollis explains it so well and lights a fire within me that helps me to open my mind. Every time I do it, I dream bigger and more clearly.

Rachel goes into depth in one of her podcasts and in her Start Today Journal, I’m going to summarize what I learned here.

Rachel asks a few key questions that get you started on envisioning yourself ten years from now. Why ten? She does this ten, ten, one process. Ten years, ten dreams, one goal. I’ll let you listen to her podcast to learn more, but here are the key questions I absolutely love.

  1. Who do you want to be in ten years?
  2. A decade in the future, what is the very best version of yourself doing?
  3. What’s a bigger version of the best version of you living every day in the best state that you know how to be?

There are many other questions that she poses, but those are the three that prompted me the most. The next step is to write it all out. Write out everything that comes to your mind, even if it doesn’t seem realistic. As you are writing, do not judge anything that is flowing, just write it down. Do not hold anything back.

This is how you open up and prompt yourself to dream. Now that you have it all written out, you can see what dreams you truly have. Your dreams are there, you just have to stop burying them. You have to open your mind and emotions to letting these dreams come out of hiding.

It’s okay if you don’t get much written down the first time. I didn’t. I had hardly anything. But I do this dreaming every three months. Every time I do it, my page gets fuller, my mind opens more, and I feel more and more connected to what flows.

Now you have a starting point of how to set goals to become the person you dream to be. Yes, you can be a goal-oriented person. This is another practice you have to open your mind to. You already did the hard part of opening your mind to your dreams. Now you get to turn those dreams into reality.

Let Your Inner You Come Out

Let your inner you out to have fun and come alive.

I’m not sure where I heard this, but it immediately resonated with me. I am one who has been extremely rigid in my way of living in the past few years. I cared so much about other people’s opinions that I didn’t let myself be myself. I wouldn’t laugh at some things, I tempered how loud I laughed, I let go of all of my sarcasm and wit. I became a person who didn’t want to offend or be considered weird or even stand out.

I boxed myself up and shoved me deep inside. I wasn’t living.

Then I heard this statement and I knew I needed to hear it in that moment. I immediately wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to my monitor. Then I made a phone background and it is still there. I need a reminder every day to let myself be myself. I haven’t fully broken through the fear of leaning into who I truly am in every single situation. I’m working on it, but I have a long way to go.

I’ve been louder, I’ve laughed more, I’ve been sarcastic more. I’ve been open and honest with coworkers that I’m working on growth and that I appreciate and need their constructive criticism for the work I’m doing, even if I don’t change anything.

If you are anything like me, let yourself out. Have some fun. Fuck what other people say. You are a wonderful person that has hidden all that wonderfulness for far too long. Try a little each day to bring your inner you out to have some fun. And if you need a daily reminder, here is my phone background. There’s a lot of empty space because my main screen apps are around the text. I literally fit it to my app layout. No matter your layout, this will be a wonderful reminder for you too.

What would you do differently if you let your inner-self out to have some fun?

Dreams

There is so much programming out there telling us to “follow your dreams” or “let your imagination run wild” or even “you can be anything your heart desires.” The problem with this programming is that it isn’t universal. Depending on where you grow up and where you come from, you might not have dreams, an imagination, or even know anything more than the small environment that you are part of. Dreams are not universal.

I was one of the kids who didn’t actually hear any of this programming as a child. My programming was more along the lines of “graduate high school before getting pregnant”, “anybody better off than us are assholes”, or “so-and-so should be taking care of us because they are better off.” There was no hope, no dream in the future that was being programmed into me. There was nothing bigger than living off of family who made a life for themselves. Doing more, being more was never a thought.

My imagination as a child was very limited. I didn’t know anything outside of the small town and poor life I was growing up in. I didn’t have good examples in my everyday life of following dreams or even dreaming big. Goals were not something that ever crossed my mind.

Today I am living a vastly different life than the one I grew up in. Why? Because I took the glimpses of life outside of the poor situation I was in from what little TV and movies I watched and books I read and knew there was more out there. I didn’t know how much more. I didn’t ever consider that I would be where I am today. I just knew I wanted more.

My first real dream I followed was going to college. It was never a consideration for my parents to even encourage college, but I knew I wanted to go. I figured going to college would give me an edge on living a better life. Once I was in college, I started seeing more and more of life outside of living a poor life, counting on everyone else. I knew before college that I wanted to live my own life and support myself, but my eyes were being opened and my mind was learning.

I never dreamed of getting my MBA or becoming a project manager, or being a traveling professional. I never dreamed of making the salary I do today or buying a home. I never dreamed of sharing my life with random people or becoming an overlander who has gear to travel to places most vehicles can’t make it. I never dreamed of working from home from a mission-driven company. I never dreamed of most of what exists in my life today.

I did dream of being a writer as a kid, but thought that would never happen because I wasn’t rich enough. I attributed everything to money. Yes, money does provide a lot, but so do goals and dreams.

Today my dreams are bigger than I would have ever expected growing up. I wouldn’t have even imagined my dreams were a thing. That’s the difference of the environment that we are in.

I frequently question why people don’t get off their ass and do something about their situation. I did, why don’t they? I’m learning that it isn’t that easy for some people. The programming that we receive during our formative years can and will determine everything about our life. Some people don’t have the mental acuity to look outside of the hear and now. I frequently lose my patience when people limit themselves, then I have to remind myself that I have limited myself in various ways throughout my life.

Not only does it take hearing or learning about what else is out there, it takes desire to do more. For those of use who come from places where dreaming isn’t or wasn’t a thing, it isn’t just about the dreaming. It is about what we have access to. Some people don’t even have the limited TV or movies that I had. Some people don’t even have books. These people may have a burning desire for something more, they just don’t know what that is because they are in a place where their imagination and ability to dream is limited.

Unfortunately in our world today, there is still so much limitation on the ability to dream and imagine a different life. We have a long way to go.

I am sharing my story because I hope that if you are reading it and you are someone who is in a position that doesn’t have access to anything that will stoke your imagination and dreams, it will give you a little bit of hope for something more.

Growing up I didn’t dream of a better life without the input of TV, movies, and books. I thought the only way to get a better life was to be born into it. Today, I work on my thoughts, dreams, and overall knowledge every single day. My inputs have changed my life tenfold. I am where I am today from one little dream, living a better life than what I grew up in. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I chased it.

What did you dream of when you were a kid? Did you have big, audacious dreams? What life did you dream of?