It’s a vicious, self-imposed cycle. I know you’re familiar with it. There’s something in your life – some task, chore, or even fun activity – that’s best when done regularly. As long as you stay on top of it, things roll along smoothly. You don’t mind doing it – and perhaps even find it enjoyable – and attending to it regularly keeps it from becoming too overwhelming:
Managing your RSS reader.
Calling your good friend.
Writing in your journal.
But sometimes life happens, and you start to fall behind. Then, you fall more behind. And the task keeps piling up, getting bigger and bigger:
200+ blog posts in your RSS reader…
SOOO much to tell your friend that you’ll have to set aside 2 hours for the conversation…
Three weeks of journaling to “catch up” on…
So you start avoiding it – finding excuses, filling your time with other tasks or projects. The thought of “catching up” feels so overwhelming. And just like that, something you love doing has become something you dread.
So what do you do?
You break the Cycle of Guilt.
You let go.
You start fresh.
You “Mark All As Read”. No one will begrudge you a few missed comments.
You call your friend. Tell her you only have 20 minutes, but wanted to check in and say hi.
You write down today’s date and let the words flow.
Basically, you be kind to yourself. You treat yourself the way you would treat a friend. You STOP letting your regret and your list of “should-haves” drag you down, and you START looking toward the future. You make a plan. You forgive yourself. And then, you move forward.
And no matter how tightly you were holding on to that thing you HAD TO do, I promise you’ll feel better, lighter, and freer once you let it go.
I let myself become a victim of the Cycle of Guilt far too often. But today, I’m standing up to myself. I’m making a choice – I’m choosing to excuse myself. November’s Workout Round-Ups just won’t get written this year. I’m so far behind, the notes in my workout log aren’t even familiar any more. And although I have the actual workout data recorded, I’ve lost a lot of the funny anecdotes, back-stories, and extra info I like to include to make these posts less boring. I know that none of you are losing sleep over this, so although the “completeness” freak in me is rebelling, I’m choosing to move on too.
I’m starting fresh in December – so I’ll start with last week, which was mostly November, but also included a tiny bit of December! [Spoiler: There wasn't much in the way of working out going on last week...]
Monday: Gift & Food Shopping Marathon with Dad
We have a few family members with “Thanksgiving Birthdays”, so we did some shopping for gifts, then hit up the supermarket for Thanksgiving groceries. Thankfully, living in Singapore has dramatically raised my tolerance for crowded, busy stores. Navigating the grocery store on the Monday-before-Thanksgiving felt like a breeze, compared to my weekly shopping routine in Singapore. [I had no idea that the aisles in US supermarkets were so.freaking.huge!]
Tuesday: Run (5.5 mi)
This day was pretty ugly, and what started as a gentle snow turned into pelting sleet by the halfway mark. I remembered why a cap with a brim is a good idea, even in the winter – It keeps all that stuff out of your eyes. The run was *ahem* refreshing, and I felt like I got a bonus microderm abrasion.
My sister and brother-in-law arrived late on Tuesday night, so I spent Wednesday morning hanging with them and doing some work. In the afternoon, some dear friends came over and we had a big cooking party. It’s amazing how quickly the work gets done when 4-6 adults are working in the kitchen!!
Thursday: Eating, Hosting, Partying
Yep. Besides passing the appetizer plates, pouring wine for guests, and lifting trays of food in and out of the oven, I didn’t do much physical activity.
Friday: Run (7.5 mi)
This is the one that I detailed in yesterday’s Join Me On This Run: Sussex County post. It’s also when my IT band starting tweaking a little bit, reminding me that stretching is important, even in the USA!
Saturday: Goodbyes and Hellos
My sister and BIL left on Saturday morning, but in the afternoon, we went to pick KMN up from the airport. He missed Thanksgiving, but coincidentally has business in NYC this week – so he stopped in New Jersey for the last of the leftovers. Good thing, too – he entered just as everyone’s enthusiasm for turkey and gravy, stuffing, and green beans was waning. What a champ!
Sunday: Travel & CheeseKMN headed into NYC in the afternoon, and I decided to join him in the city for a day or two. Although he’ll be busy during the week, he had some free time on Sunday night, and we snuck out for dinner at Amali. The lighting was insufficient for good pictures, but the meal was amazing. From the huge chunks of feta mixed with pistachios and grapes, served over chicory all the way to the ricotta donuts served with honey whipped ricotta, the meal was amazing. And although I am happily married, I was contemplating a proposal to whoever made the divine ball of burrata cheese we enjoyed spread on crispy toast triangles. I’m tempted to go back to enjoy a whole ball for myself, for lunch…
You don’t need an advanced math degree to calculate this one: 13 miles, just over 2 hours of working out this week (includes three days of stretching, which I don’t usually note in my day-to-day break down). Obviously, this was a week for friends, family, and eating – not a week for working out. But that happens once in awhile, and I’m not stressing over it. This upcoming week will be back to normal (at least, non-gym normal).
In December, I’m looking forward to running, getting back to spin, and setting up my race calendar for the first half of next year. I dragged my feet on this for awhile, but am now feeling excited about it – a sure sign that it’s time to pull up the race calendar and get out my credit card!!
What task/job/pastime quickly becomes overwhelming for you when you fall a bit behind? How can/do you break the cycle?
Are there any Cycles of Guilt in your life right now that can/should be broken? DO IT! [Yes, like, RIGHT NOW.] Then tell me about it, if you feel comfortable sharing.