“Remember to engage your core.”
I hear these words for an hour twice a week now that I workout with my trainer, H. Dedicating two hours a week to exercising with the guidance of a trainer is helping me improve my physical health, but focusing on my physical core made me think about my core in a mental sense. What I mean is that for my body to work better, I need to engage my core to support the rest of my body no matter what exercise I’m doing. It’s also my mental core that needs engaging as well these days.
The past few weeks I felt unfocused, like I was going through the motions of life, but not really feeling it. I have all these goals in my head, but I wasn’t working toward any of them. Sure, I’ve been eating better and exercising more, but I still didn’t feel fulfilled. It wasn’t until my training session last Thursday when H. reminded me to engage my core muscles that it hit me. I’m not engaged in anything.
Now, I’m not saying I’ve just ignored my family, friends, and my life in general during here last few weeks, but I haven’t felt involved. Besides the goals of being healthy I have other goals, but I haven’t made them important. If I don’t make my goals a priority, how will I accomplish them? Unless there’s a magic wand somewhere that I don’t know about, I need to work toward my goals instead of talking about them.
The first step in the new engagement of my core, i.e. my life, is to stop talking about them and start doing them. Here’s how I’m beginning to be more active in my life goals:
*Being confident in my physical self is a must, no matter what happens. As I mentioned in my last blog, I do feel stronger and more confidant in my athletic abilities, but I took a step, well, a run back, two weeks ago. I was doing fast laps around the YMCA and my first one went great. The second set was two laps, but halfway through the second lap I just stopped. It felt like my body couldn’t go on. I was winded and my legs cramped. I was angry with myself. I finished the training session, but it bothered me the rest of the day. Normally, I would have let it go and just waited until my next training session to try again. Instead I went to the gym early the next morning and ran without stopping for a mile and a half like I’ve been doing. Instead of acting like I was going backwards in my training, I tackled the problem head on. I was engaged. I will continue to be engaged in my athletic endeavors no matter if they’re good or bad.
*Making my goals a priority, even if it means saying no. I’ve put off building a new career for the past year. Sure, at times, I had to put my goals aside to work on immediate issues like moving to a new state and setting up our new life in the Pacific Northwest, but we’ve been here almost six months and we’re pretty settled. Each day I come up with excuses not to make the time to work on my writing with the exception of a blog entry here and there. No more excuses! I am now scheduling in time to work on my writing which includes my blog and my fiction writing. I’m doing this even if I have to say no to meeting a friend or pushing housework aside for another time. As I type, I’m at a café while my daughter is at a theater class. This is my dedicated writing time; no running errands or playing Words with Friends. I am engaged in my writing, which in turns means I’m engaged in my personal and professional goals.
*Spending time with friends and family is essential. I realize that I’m with my children a lot, but I’m not always “there.” While I’m not quite sure which games my kids are talking about, I am trying to listen intently. If it’s important to them, I need to make it important to me. I’ve realized if I’m not engaged when they’re talking about everyday things, I might miss the important life stories they’ll share. And with my ever-supportive hubby, I need to be with him in addition to our time as a family. We’ve made the effort to go out to dinner and breakfast on our own and having this time alone with him is necessary. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our lives as parents, so to spend time as a couple keeps us engaged in our marriage. I can’t forget my friends, either! So many of my friends are far away and while an email, text or Facebook post helps enormously, FaceTime is my new favorite app. During a “woe is me” moment, I texted my constant cheerleader, N., to see if we could schedule a FaceTime appointment. We video chatted yesterday and it really lifted my spirits. Seeing her face while talking was just what I needed and I realized much of it was because I was focused just on our conversation. I wasn’t texting in between loads of laundry or running out the door to an appointment; we were focused on talking only. When I am focused on the person I’m talking with and not trying to multitask, I am engaged in my life as well as this person’s life.
Now that I’m focused on engaging my core physically, I am going to engage my emotional core. Sometimes, multi-tasking isn’t helpful. As a lifelong multitasker, this is going to be a challenge. Just from the small changes I’ve made over the past few weeks though, I can already feel some of the physical and mental weight being lifted. There really is something to be said about slowing down and focusing on your goals. Now that I’m making my core muscles stronger, I am going to make my figurative core, meaning my heart and soul, stronger. I am engaged as I continue my journey Down the Scale…