What would you like your word to be for 2016? Why?
I thought long and hard about this, folks. I had an hour and a half commute to a meeting today, and I spent the entire duration of the drive, there and back, thinking about my 2015 and what word I would use to describe it.
The word I finally settled on? Endurance.
There's a reason I chose this word over similar words like perseverance or resilience. For most of my life, I absolutely hated running, in any form. I remember having to do the mile run in 7th grade and I was near tears. My good pal at the time told me to pretend like there was a sale at the Gap at the finish line. That didn't work. I was the last student to finish. I remember telling my friend "I just don't have any endurance!". That mindset stuck with me for several years. Not just in regards to running, although I did continue to "fail" at that through my high school sports, but in several aspects of my life.
2015 was the opposite of that. One definition of endurance is:
the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina:
I relate this definition to my weight loss journey. I started 2015 off on a good note. I was already down about 90 lbs. There was no turning back. But I made damn sure of that. I didn't quit, no matter how frustrated I was with a weight loss plateau. I put one foot in front of the other, and I kept going.
I also took a new position in 2015. I had so many doubts about even applying for the position. I doubted if I was "good enough" for it. I was terrified of failing. But something kept bringing me back to it. I applied and got the position. I absolutely love what I do, but it is certainly not easy. There are challenges and surprises and changes each day. I have two choices: I could let it overwhelm me, or I could endure....press on, and keep going. And that is what I have chosen to do.
Here are some ways I believe I have embraced "endurance" in 2015:
I practice visualization in nearly everything I do. When I am running I imagine the end of the run, or I recall past accomplishments to help keep me going. When I am boxing I imagine being in a ring. When I am in a meeting I visualize myself speaking up with confidence, which then, in turn, gives me the confidence to speak up. Taking the time to visualize has been incredibly beneficial to my life.
I don't think I would have had the same endurance if I had not planned so accordingly. I plan my meals and my workouts, I plan my meeting schedule and my office time. I even plan my "down time". I realize this may not work for everyone, but for me, in order to feel at peace and accomplished, I need to plan.
Taking Care of Me
Obviously being healthier and more active have helped me to have more energy and tackle life's challenges in a healthier way, but I also take care of myself by sleeping more, taking breaks from working out when my body aches, doing more yoga/stretching, etc.
Endurance does not come easy, but it is something we can all achieve. It takes focus, hard work, and a little self discovery. If I could go back and talk to the 7th grade version of me who did not believe she had enough endurance, I would tell her she's wrong. She had it, she just didn't know she had it.
As far as 2016 goes, I've chosen the word ENGAGE. And no, I'm not talking about Tom putting a ring on it. I mean to truly engage in the world around me. I'm certainly not going to lose focus or my drive, but in the midst of putting so much focus on my weight loss, I sort of forgot how to just be present. But it's more than being present and just "being" and appreciating life. It's about engaging, having meaningful experiences and conversations. It's about putting my phone away sometimes and talking to the people in the room. It's about calling up old friends to check in. It's about noticing the beautiful things in life as I run by them. I also tend to focus too much on what's next for me instead of enjoying, and engaging, in the current life. I'm aiming to do that in 2016.