Think like an Athlete

Today begins again another attempt to start the restart.  I have been planning for days and working on getting my mind and my motivation ready.  I have cleaned out the house, prepped my food, and moved my mind into a place of submission (for now). But I just can’t help feeling like this is just another futile attempt at something that can’t end in anything but failure. 

What a Failure

How do I ever get back in the game?

And not just one of those I gotta B instead of an A types of failures.  No I mean the kind that brings hopelessness, chaos, discouragement, fear, and “who cares it doesn’t matter anyway” type talk. This kind of place got me thinking about that impossible hopelessness feeling…

I remember those days when it was drilled into my every waking moment that CAN’T was not a word.  It didn’t seem to matter whether it was from school, home, or sports; it was a belief that was spoken with power and conviction.  I am beginning to believe that this life philosophy whether societal, academic, or athletic driven it truly planted a deeply rooted attitude in me.  It didn’t matter what I felt, thought, desired, or believed the meer idea of CANNOT, COULD NOT, UNABLE, IMPOSSIBLE were simply a lazy man’s vocabulary.  All the talk about winners never quit and quitters never win is something I KNOW pushed my average life forward towards an above average goal.  But I sit here wondering where that philosophy went in my life.  I don’t hear myself saying those words of push and promise and drive and ambition and goal focused. 

Instead, I hear myself giving me permission to be less than I can be.  Giving reasons and excuses to why I can’t do this or that.  I have been putting in my resignation before I even TRY to be sucessful and make a difference.  Regardless of the type, if I feel the smallest amount of resistance and I reach for the towel.  I don’t even try to push through the discomfort.  I am convinced there is no gain after the pain.  I am not reaching through the pain or seeing the beauty through the sweat; I am definitely not realizing the Prize of Achievement. What happened to the girl who would run laps because the coach said so.  The girl who wanted the best time even though she had no chance of beating the top swimmers.  The person who went to speech events with horrible material, yet pushed to make finals and walk out with a ribbon.  The woman who wanted to grow more, learn more, know more every day.  Not to mention the Soul who wanted to change the world… where did she go? 

Even thought this simple area of my life seems to revolve around food and exercise with plenty of plans, techniques, promoters, and know it alls; I find it reaches deeper into my soul and identity than a simple choice between a donut and an orange.  With every confusing step I take these days, finding the right motivation, right feeling, right method, right attitude seems to be the only way I find success.  But this has only led me to temporary victories and marginal successes (yes I will agree 93 pounds is a touch more than marginal); but alas it was still just temporary. 

So as I begin the CHOICE today to resume my plan, submerge my feelings, and focus on the goal; I was asking for the key.  The key to knowing how to make this stick, unlock the deep dark love affair I have with food, push me kicking and screaming through the tough times.  Knowing that in the past my emotions always seem to win out in the end, I was struggling to find the reason the motivation the desire the TRUTH to why it is more important to be healthy than happy (doesn’t that sound like a blog post all by itself. )

I prayed for some point of reference that would make sense to me.  Trying to find some real world example where someone continued to try and try and try even after repeated PUBLIC, HUMILIATING, and DISCOURAGING failure… And in pleading for an example, I received the image of every athlete I have ever watched in the Olympics.  So many of them were NEVER brilliant from birth, they did not arrive at the Olympics after years and years of perfect execution of their event.  athletes are the prime example of constant failure, yet that never stops them.  They miss their mark, come in 2nd place or last, drop the baton, hit a pole, miss a turn, slip and fall, or just get BEAT… and with all the press and cameras and people commenting on their every move along with showing it on the instant slow moe replay for 100 times; they still get up and try again and again and again. 

I recently watched a documentary on Chris Evert (one of my hero’s growing up) and Martina Navratilova and their rivalry.  I was reminded of their continued competition for years they would compete.  But for a series of 3 years Chris could not beat Martina, losing 13 consecutive matchs-TALK about discouragement.  Listening to Chris talk about that time, she tried everything she knew to do to try to compete with Martina.  She struggled and struggled but just could not beat her.  In that moment, I heard myself whisper, “Why keep playing if you know you could never beat her?  Why not just take the successes of you youth and walk away?  Why is it worth all the fight knowing you just can’t beat her?” 

I can't do this anymore its too hard

And there it was… the evidence that the fight in me was gone.  That competitive fight I had when I was younger was replaced with the resignation of taking the easy road because victory was impossible.  Yet, Chris didn’t do this.  She kept playing, training, fighting, competing and even though it took her time to achieve her victory over Martina; she did it.  So as I was mentally trying to prepare for the long game of this competition between me and food I was drawn back to my sports days of running laps, fielding grounders, and doing suicides on cement (love softball in California) and asked myself does that girl still live?  Isn’t it time to find take that girl back out onto the field and remind her that a competitor doesn’t quit when they fail.  An athlete doesn’t determine they have lost based on the score, this time they are fighting for the win.  This time could be the Hail Mary pass, this time the record could be broken, this time I could be the winner…. and that only works if I’m in the game. 

Alrighty friends and fans… June 6, 2011 begins the first inning… first at bat… first stretch… first swing… Today I made it through on plan. 🙂

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