Bloggers’ note: Today is a wrap-up of our Last 90 Days experience from both Lowi and G.
“Should I stay or should I go now?” The Clash
This is the question we should be asking ourselves as we prepare to begin a new year. Are we going to stay on this new path that we have forged over the last three months and see where it takes us in the new year or are we going to go back to what is comfortable; our old habits and way of doing things?
It’s really the essence of these last 90 days. We have made small changes that have made a big impact if you’ve let them. If you saw this challenge as a checklist to do for 90 days then you may be ready to check out. If you came to realize that making yourself a priority in your own life and being grateful for this life you have were life-changing then you might be looking at this as springboard into 2020.
I am here to tell you about MY experience not force you into my way of doing things or shame anyone for NOT feeling the same way about this challenge.
You might be wondering how getting up early, drinking water, giving up Diet Pepsi, working out 30 minutes each day and keeping a gratitude/ goal journal could have changed anyone. I get it. When I started, I thought, “cool, this would be a nice way to end the year.” I honestly dreaded some of the things on the list, like getting up early. It’s crazy to me, but that has turned out to be the single biggest change. I don’t want to give this up. The corner of the house that is all mine for one hour, no noise, no interruptions, getting centered before the day starts has been life changing. My life isn’t even that chaotic anymore. I don’t have 3 daughters fighting for the bathroom before school. It’s relatively quiet but there is still plenty of internal chaos with planning a wedding, Christmas, family, graduations. My brain is full. This single change of getting up before everyone else has actually altered how I feel in the morning. It’s like I have had my morning meditation without actually meditating. I feel clear headed and more organized most days.
After making these changes over 90 days, I realize I want more for myself. I don’t want to go back to my old ways. I want to live a fuller life and make choices regarding how to get there rather than letting the days slip away. Choosing to evolve means doing things differently, not just talking about it.
I’m not going to sit here though and tell you these last 90 days have been nothing but motivational and inspiring. They haven’t. There have been difficult days and weeks that have made doing these things HARD. There were many days where I missed the mark and didn’t get my workout in or enough water. While I love this new habit of getting up early, there are still a lot of mornings I have to talk myself into it. This challenge hasn’t made life suddenly easy. All the things that were difficult before, are still difficult. There have been bridal showers, travel days, surgeries, illness, holidays; life has kept moving at its normal, crazy pace.
What has changed in the last 90 days? A million little things. I found out I like getting up early simply for me. I enjoy allowing morning to dawn with me as a witness. I find the quiet brings me a peace and a focus to the day I hadn’t really known before.
But I kept asking myself: What is it that has made this challenge different? Lowi and I have collectively and separately participated in many a challenge in our lives. And I’ve never once kept one around after the challenge ended. Not once. But this one is different for us. Why?
After much pondering, I realized part of what it is: expectation! I didn’t have any expectations of what this challenge would do for me. There wasn’t the promise of weight loss, instant zen, an increase in blog traffic. Nothing. I thought I’d be better hydrated, sure, but that consisted of an expectation of stopping by the bathroom a few more times a day. That’s not a life-changing occurrence so …
Even giving up Diet Pepsi, aside from it feeling hard at times, I didn’t expect that to change me on any grand scale either.
And that was the key. I didn’t know what to expect so I was open. I was able to see many of the things that were happening because I wasn’t laser-focused on some outcome I was attached to.
I knew every single one of the five elements in the Five to Thrive were good for me but how that would play out, I had no idea. And I learned that these five things are a good foundation for life. Yes, I have missed one or more on some days but more often than not I am on it. And on the days that I am a little off, I am way more on than I used to be.
And the next morning I am ready to do it again to the best of my ability. And because I am not anticipating some amazing payoff and I am doing it simply because it’s good self care the pressure is off. The need to quit because I am not getting what I expected is lifted. And now I can feel how they are good for me. There isn’t one thing that I have added or subtracted that costs me in any way. I am not missing out on anything.
There came a point in this where I realized turning around at the end of these 90 days and going back to some of my old habits or dropping some of these new ones would be an exercise in self-sabotage. Only this time is was so clear I couldn’t even pretend it was a slip, or just being human. It would be a deliberate effort in staying stuck in my life. I realized that it’s not about giving up the Diet Pepsi, or even pushing myself to get up an hour earlier. It’s about being willing to give up being the person I thought I was to be the person I want. The kind of person who gets enough sleep, who eats the stupid salad, who drinks the water, who practices genuine gratitude because you get what you are, not what you want.