Summer Reset!

So much has happened since the last time I wrote. I graduated from nursing school, passed the NLCEX and secured my first job as a registered nurse. I am really excited to begin working as a nurse. My first day is July 7th! Yay!! In the meantime, I have been catching up with all the household related things that got pushed onto the back burner when my time was consumed with studying, or at least with feeling like I should be studying. :D In addition to some household chores getting pushed off, exercising became less and less. First the times I was exercising got shorter. Then it became a sporadic activity at best. I was feeling so great when I was exercising regularly in the fall. Unfortunately, I just wasn't able to keep it up during the winter and spring months. I spent most of the last 6 months studying, shoveling lots of snow and sleeping. I am finally starting to feel like things are leveling out again (just in time for another major shift when I start working!) and I have noticed that I really don't feel that great anymore. Physically, I'm feeling a little too soft for my liking. Mentally, I'm short on patience most days. And emotionally, I'm feeling a little down. At first I thought I was feeling down as my body and mind reacted to the lifting of the major stress that I was under while I was in nursing school. But it has been 6 weeks since I finished school and 1 month since I passed the NCLEX and I am not feeling better. At times, I'm feeling worse.

I thought that once I had more time, I would jump right back into exercising. I mean, why wouldn't I? I felt so great when I was exercising regularly before. But then I realized something. Could it be that I am afraid of committing to exercising regularly because if I slack off I no longer have an excuse like when I was in school? Now if I don't keep it up, it is me "failing" at achieving my goal. The thought of failure is something that I have long struggled with. I don't like to fail so maybe if I make excuses and don't start then I can't be disappointed with myself when I fail. Here's the thing though. I will fail. We all fail. Sure, not all the time and with everything we do. But the truth is that if we put ourselves out there and work toward a goal, we risk failing. But if we don't risk failing, we will most definitely achieve NOTHING! Whether I fail and disappoint myself is not a guarantee, but not risking failing by doing nothing and I am guaranteed to not meet my goals.

July is a big month of change for me. I am about to embark on a new career. I am going into this new job knowing that the first 6 months, maybe even first year, I will feel out of my element and like I don't know what I am doing many times. That is just how it is starting a job as a new nurse. That is a very common feeling. Also, I am going to work outside the home for the first time in 10 years. TEN YEARS!!! It is going to be a major adjustment for us all to say the least. And I know that as I adjust to my new role as a new nurse and being a working mom I am going to make mistakes, hopefully not too big of mistakes. ;) But does that mean that I shouldn't try my best? No, I know that I will make mistakes or not know some things; but I will get better. With each day and each experience, I will become a skilled and experienced nurse. And I am excited to begin the journey, mistakes and all.

So why can't I apply the same logic to my personal goals? For starters, I realized that when I am referring to what would be an expected learning curve, I called it mistakes; but when I am referring to not meeting my personal goals, I call it failure. Hmm...that's interesting...maybe it's time for a language shift...The other reason is that I am still holding myself up to a high (sometimes unachievable) level of perfection. When other people are setting the expectations I am finally able to measure myself against those standards instead of my own impossible ones. But when I am making my own personal goals I still set the standards at too high of levels at times. Then sometimes this stops me from ever even trying to achieve my goal because I know the goal is too high from the get go. Maybe it is something I could achieve in steps over time but instead, I create too high of a goal then don't attempt it because I don't want to "fail" and disappoint or embarrass myself. Another reason that I struggle to meet my personal goals at times is self-sabotage. For whatever reason, if I start to feel really good about how I am doing, I find reasons or excuses to stop doing it. Why?? That is a question for the ages because I don't think I am alone in doing this. Why do we self-sabotage ourselves? Do we not think we are worth it? Do we think we are going to "fail" big if we keep going so instead we stop before that happens? I could spend a long time thinking about this and trying to figure it out; but quite frankly, I don't really care too much why I do this. I care more about changing these thinking patterns and taking action to feel my best again. Sometimes we don't need all the answers; sometimes we just need action to shake us out of our stagnation.

My birthday is coming up in July and I will be 34 years old. I decided to give myself two gifts this year. I am going to give myself the gift of feeling my best again and the gift of learning that it is okay to make mistakes. I decided this morning that for 34 days I am going to exercise 20-30 minutes a day and feed myself balanced and nutritious meals. This isn't a diet; I will eat snacks (ahem, ice cream) too. :) And I will be completely honest about my exercise and my eating. My hope is to get back to the more balanced eating and consistent exercise that I was doing in the fall when I felt so great. Over the course of these 34 days, I hope to make this balanced eating and exercising a habit. That is why I decided to do it every day for 34 days. I also know that there is a very good chance that I will have days when my eating isn't as balanced as I am striving for or may have days when I don't exercise. I almost made my goal to exercise 4 or 5 days a week because of this. But then I realized that by setting every day as my intention I am giving myself the chance to learn to roll with the days that don't go according to plan. This gives me the opportunity to challenge this faulty thinking that "I can't fail". I think that giving myself the gifts of good health and of making allowances for myself to make mistakes and then keep going are the best things I can do for myself this year. So for my upcoming birthday these are my intentions for myself.

What are some intentions you want to set for yourself this summer? It doesn't have to be big. Start where you are at and think about that you would like an area of your life to look like by the end of the summer. Why not going on this journey with me? You can follow along with me as I go through the next 34 days. I plan to blog each day and giving a honest summary of the food and exercise that was apart of each day. Some posts will probably be short and sweet, after all I will be starting a new job and adjusting to working full time during this time too. Other posts will probably be longer and include recipes and anything else fun I want to share along the way. I will be posting pics on twitter of my meals throughout the day with the hashtag #SummerReset. Then at the end of the day I will blog about it in more detail here. It's going to be a fun, challenging and rewarding time. Summer is a great time to hit the reset button with its longer days, more sunshine and abundance of fresh food available. I hope you join me on this SummerReset. Post your progress on Facebook or twitter with the hashtag #SummerReset and let's work together to feel our best!

Update: I made it through 12 days (only wrote through Day 10) of my summer reset until my new job started and consumed all my time and attention for nearly 2 months. I did learn a lot from this Summer Reset though, even if it was not the full 34 days as I had originally intended. I'm glad for the time I did spend reseting my exercising and eating habits. It made me keenly aware of just how much of an impact exercising and eating well have on my overall wellbeing. Now that I have started to settling into my new job and new routine, I aim to make exercising and eating well a priority again. (Sept. 4, 2014)

Summer Reset!