The One Right Thing
I am one of those people who is constantly, narcotically thinking about self-improvement. It’s exhausting. So naturally, I’m also thinking about how to improve on being a person obsessed with self- improvement. I recently made a breakthrough about my improvement systems, if you will. It’s not new, I just remembered it, again, finally, thankfully.
Ever since having a child, I think about how I’m not doing the things I used to do that led to me to be my best self. I got so overwhelmed by the length of the list of things I wasn’t doing, that I got paralyzed and didn’t know where to start. Then, one day, totally out of the blue, I got sick of my internal spiraling of self-condemnation and just went on a frickin’ fifteen minute run to quiet my brain. I used to run marathons, so this run felt like an embarrassingly tiny jaunt. Laughable. There’s no way it would lead to self- improvement. But then it did.
The skies opened up, and things started falling into place. Like, everything fell into place, and without any effort. I realized that running makes me a better person, but it also makes me do other things that make me a better person. When I run, even for fifteen minutes, automatically:
-I eat better
-I sleep better
-I poop better
-I have better blood circulation
-Get less headaches
-I drink more water, less coffee, and less alcohol
-I write better
-The same voice that says, “Your tummy is fat” starts saying, “You are a strong, gorgeous, powerful goddess woman” instead.
Those things, then, lead to other good things happening. I’m happier, clearer in the head, more energized. I go outside more. I don’t spiral. And so on. So I didn’t need to focus on working on all of these things all at once and so actually not do any of them. If I just prioritized one thing. I made sure I went for a run when I could. The other things just happened. Prioritizing one thing was so much less overwhelming than trying to address everything every day.
My dear friend Kevin, in an amazing blog post, admitted that he had wanted to start yoga for 6 or 7 years but didn’t because he didn’t have the right pants. When it dawned on him that the lack of pants was the one thing holding him back from doing the right thing, a thing he knew would be good for him, well, he just bought a pair of pants.
Exercise is my pair of pants. It was the one thing holding me back. I just started to do the one right thing, however small that first step was, and I was back in the game. I started scheduling runs in my calendar successfully, taking it seriously as a priority. The rest, so far, is taking care of itself.