The other day I went to lunch with an old friend from high school who is going through a divorce. As we sat there and talked I realized that what (I thought) she needed was some success. In something. In anything.
Sometimes in our lives we go through phases where it seems like the world isn’t on our side. It seems like we can’t do anything right and we begin to feel really hopeless.
I get this… I’ve been there. I think most of us have at one time or another. And for some of us it is worse than for others. For me it got really bad a couple of times. I felt completely hopeless. The things that saved me were a combination of things.
For one thing, a healthy diet means the world to me. Cutting sugar and gluten out of my diet made a world of difference. It definitely made me more focused, I had more energy and was generally happier.
Exercise made a big difference, too. Getting my blood flowing, pushing myself, letting the endorphins kick in and finishing the workout strong made me feel like I had accomplished something. And that feeling of accomplishment is what it all comes down to.
For each of us, successes are a little bit different. Most of us are worried about our health, so diet and exercise are obvious goals for most of us. But there are a lot of things that can be successes. Maybe cleaning out a closet or writing in your journal or organizing your desk.
Some successes mean cutting out – less wine, less tv, less sugar. These are all good things, but sometimes they leave us feeling a little bit denied and depleted at the end of the day.
Other successes mean adding – add a delicious salad every day, try a new healthy recipe every day, write down 5 things we are thankful for every day, read a new book a month, join a book club, volunteer, join a workout group, say something positive about yourself every day, do an act of kindness every day, clean a closet a week. Sometimes adding something will change our perspective so that we feel like we are gaining something good instead of losing something we enjoy.
I would suggest to anyone fighting the feeling of hopelessness that they write a bucket list. Write down as many things as you can possibly dream of doing in your life – get creative, surf the internet, and dare yourself. Go crazy! Then pick a few little things that are achievable in the here and now and get started working on them. Accomplishing a few of those things can make a big difference in your day and in your life and how you feel about it all.
And make sure to make your bucket list about you – not the people in your life. By doing good things for yourself, you will be doing good things for them – after all, they want you to be happy, just like you want them to be happy. Think about the line from the flight attendant on every plane trip… “if a breathing mask falls, put it on yourself before applying it to anyone else in need” – that is because you are no good to anyone if you haven’t taken care of yourself first. Also, if you take good care of yourself, they will follow your example and do the same – and that is what you really want for them.
So start taking care of yourself and your wants and desires and give yourself some success. Soon, some of the bigger accomplishments will start falling into place because you will be so excited about the little accomplishments. And I know I say it too often for your ears… but do clean up your diet and do exercise! It will make you feel a lot better! Remember, dead last in a workout is much better than did not finish, which trumps did not start – and the same goes for everything else in life – just make a start!
Here is my bucket list. I wrote it a few years ago. I’ve changed it a few times, too, as I change. Some of these are very small, achievable goals, and some are pretty huge. Some I have accomplished and some I may never accomplish… but I HOPE that I accomplish them all… and I hope that you accomplish yours!
Tough Mudder (September 23rd, 2012) Be able to do 10 pullups without stopping
- Do a muscle up
- clean & jerk 150lbs. (now at 120)
- deadlift 250lbs. (now at 185)
- back squat 200lbs (now at 175)
- handstand walk 100 steps (now at 14)
get my CrossFit certification teach CrossFit get my CrossFit kids certification teach CrossFit kids
- get my black belt in TKD
- compete in a full triathalon
- run a half marathon
- come in top 10 in a 10K
learn self defense
- drop my body fat to 15% (now 18%)
- make the masters qualifying round for the CrossFit Games
- go to The CrossFit Games
- finish… or even start… Alexandra’s Christmas stocking
- organize the kids’ baby books
- audition for a musical
- audition for a play
- star in a play or musical
- audition for a tv show or movie
- sing the National Anthem in front of a crowd (and do it well)
- learn to tango
- learn to swing dance (well)
- get my masters
- get a puppy and a kitten and raise them together
- go to Italy
- Washington, DC
- a ranch in Montana
- New Orleans at Mardi Gras
- Southern France
- Berlin, Germany – see the wall where I saw it in 1987
- The Great Wall of China
- Australia – opera at the Sydney Opera House
- Brazil – during Carnival
- take a cruise
- kayak the Napali coast
- see the volcano on the big island of Hawaii
- see the planetarium in Hawaii
- go to a luau
- San Diego Zoo
Sequoia Forest Yosemite
- see the Olympics
- Burning Man
- go on a safari
- Havasupai Falls
- hike the Grand Canyon
- raft the Grand Canyon
- ride in a helicopter – a fear of mine!
- see the Northern Lights
- Taj Mahal
- The Pyramids of Egypt
- Mount Rushmore
- Take my kids to Disneyworld/land
- experience weighlessness, zero gravity
- zip line
- learn to surf
- go on an all girls vacation
- sing in the church choir again
- have my own garden
- live entirely off my garden (veggie-wise) for a growing season
own my own business
- build my own home
- have a country home
raise money for a charity I believe in… ongoing
- learn about Buddhism
- Learn to meditate
- learn to speak well publicly
- learn to play golf
- play golf with my Dad
- join an adult sports team
- learn to cook extremely well
- go Christmas caroling
- write a book about a dream I had
- write a book about my travels and friendships
- keep bees
- join a book club
- win the Chili cookoff
- give up tv for a year
- see a psychic
- write down 5 things I am grateful for every day for a year
- send my kids to the colleges of their choice
- speak French in France and have them understand me
- teach my children to go for their dreams
- travel the country hiking and biking
- Be able to afford to do everything on this list!