Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Run your own race

I’d never been a runner, even though I’d always wanted to run. I thought running was not something I was able to do because every time I tried I gasped for air and felt like I’d pass out. photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

But I decided to give running another try. Nothing about it was easy for me. I was slow and struggled through every mile.

While out running, I’d often see other runners who made it look simple. They seemed to run effortlessly, with perfect strides, breathing easily, even smiling.

Inevitably, I’d compare body shape, size, and age. I’d think, “Oh, my goodness! I’ll never be able to run like that.”Photo by Mark Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

I’d feel so discouraged. But then I thought,

What does that have to do with me?

I was running 7 miles when only a few months before I couldn’t run 2 minutes without stopping. It didn’t matter what anyone else was doing. I had stay focused on what I was doing.

That experience taught me some important lessons, not just about running, but about life.

Run your own race.

When faced with a challenge and you’re tempted to compare yourself to some one else, focus on your goals and don’t worry about anyone else’s progress.

Keep working on yourself and strive to develop your abilities. Make your only challenge to be better than you were yesterday. Do your best. Give it your all. And keep moving forward.

Self-image run your own race published on strong-woman.com
Run your own race.

Strive for progress, not perfection. Even if you have to start very small. A little progress every day adds up to big results.

It’s tempting to compare yourself to others, to want to give up when it seems like everyone’s making great progress except for you.
Better to run your own race.

Understand that your struggles are a chance for you to learn and grow. In the end, it’s your determination to continue that’s going to benefit you the most.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Mindset Monday – Attitude is everything

Years ago I had a well-paying but unfulfilling job. Every day, every hour of every day was difficult. I felt like I belonged someplace else, doing something other than what I was doing. The daily grind and long hours made me feel I had very little control over my day to day experience.

Stairway photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

I wanted to leave that job. I wanted to quit. Check out. Explore other opportunities. There must be something better for me out there, but where?

The job wore me down. I felt desperate for change.

And then one day I realized I had a choice.

I asked myself Why do I continue when I feel so unhappy?

At the time, my kids were elementary school age. I was a single mother and I felt to my core that my most important job was to be their mother, that God had given me the responsibility to care for them. At that time in my life, that was my purpose.

The job helped provide: food on the table, a comfortable home, vacations, and clothes and shoes for them. It provided stability and continuity for us.

Photo published on strong-woman.com
My kids and me years ago.

The job wasn’t fulfilling or satisfying, but it afforded me what I needed. It was like a safety net when life felt a little shaky. Maybe I could’ve have found something better suited to my strengths, but I had two good reasons for staying.

Coming to this realization helped shift my attitude and the job became so much more bearable. I showed up every day knowing why I was there and it helped. A lot. I still had my struggles, of course, but at the end of the day, I was grateful for the luxury of choice.

Whenever I feel stuck, I remember that experience. What are my choices and why am I doing what I’m doing? What’s the underlying purpose of my actions?

Do you feel stuck sometimes? Is what you’re doing driving you crazy with frustration?

Here’s what I learned:

1. It’s a choice.

You may feel like you don’t have a choice because the choices don’t seem very good. In that case, make the best choice available at that time. And keep moving forward.

Crossroads photo courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

2. Be grateful for every day.

Just a little bit of gratitude spills over into all things. In my case, it calmed me down and helped me be a better mom and a happier person.

3. Take a big-picture view.

Your options may not be great. You may have to make the best choice depending on your long-term goals or immediate necessities. Take a step back and get perspective on the big picture.

The only thing that changed was my attitude.Courtesy of pixabay published on strong-woman.com

These 3 things – knowing I had a choice, being grateful, and taking a big picture view – helped me change my attitude and my outlook even though my circumstances were the same.

Same job, same schedule, same juggling of work, kids, and home – everything.

When I realized I had good reasons for choosing to show up to the job every day, my whole disposition changed. I was happier, more calm and relaxed, more grateful.

Sometimes you have to make the best “bad” (not-ideal) choice. That’s life. That’s the human experience. And you don’t know where your choices will lead or what awaits you on your path.

Choose love and it’s easier to keep a positive attitude. And attitude is everything.

Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

Don’t Let Self-Doubt Kill Your Dream. Keep At It!

Starting a new venture can be overwhelming. When you set out to do something new, you make yourself vulnerable. You put yourself out there. Your confidence ebbs and flows and you start asking yourself, “Can I really do this?”Photo from Flickr.com the commons project published on strong-woman.com

Maybe it’s something you’ve put off doing for a while because you know it’s going to be tough, like finding a new job, quitting smoking, starting a business, losing weight, training for a sporting event, or learning to play an instrument.

You decide to go for it. You’re committed.

Things move slowly at first. Maybe so slowly it feels like you’re not moving at all. Doubt sets in:  “What was I thinking? Why did I ever commit to this? I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. Is this even worth it? Why am I putting myself through this?”

Shake off the doubt. Remember why you started, why you wanted it. Re-commit.

And then keep at it. Keep moving forward, little by little.

One step at a time

Photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.comIt takes a while to gain momentum.

There’s so much to learn, so many setbacks, and things rarely go as smoothly as you’d like. Just when you’ve leaped one hurdle you find another one waiting for you.

“Why bother?” your inner voice says. “There’s no way I can do this!”

You’re not alone

Everyone battles doubt, even people who seem to get everything so easily.Photo by Ruby Montalvo published on strong-woman.com

When you’re attempting to do something different that gets you out of your regular routine and puts you at risk of failure, it’s normal to doubt yourself.

Steven Pressfield calls it “Resistance” in his book The War of Art.

He writes, “Any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long term growth, health, or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of our lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.”

Doubt is Resistance

Resistance is anything that makes you want to quit in the face of challenge. Doubt is resistance. Most resistance falls under the umbrella of fear.

Take care of yourself with a quiet commute published on strong-woman.com

Fear of failure, alienation, change, pain, the unknown.

When it’s tempting to quit, remember why you started. Look at how far you’ve come instead of how far you have to go.

Whatever the challenge, whatever the obstacle, keep at it. Keep moving forward, little by little.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Put Yourself on Your Priority List

As women, we tend to put everyone else’s needs before our own. We have commitments – things to do and people to see, and we put all those things ahead of taking care of ourselves.

Sure, we have a lot going on these days. Schedules are packed. We get busy taking care of everything and everyone and we just keep pushing through no matter how we feel.

photo courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.comIn between taking care of everything you have to take care of, remember to put yourself on your priority list and take care of yourself.

But there’s no time

I understand. People need you. That’s a good thing.

Just remember, people need you.

In order to be able to do all you need to do, you have to take care good care of yourself. You’ll be better off and so will every one who loves you.

How you feel affects the way you move throughout the day and the way you interact with others.

Eat, exercise, sleep

You don’t have to be perfect and eat super healthy food all the time, or exercise an hour a day.Salad phot courtesy of pixabay.com published on strong-woman.com

Do what you can to make good food choices and make sleep a priority. Exercise a little most days. Even a 10-minute walk is better than nothing.

Going non-stop all the time will take its toll. If you don’t slow down, your body will slow you down. It’ll send you a message that enough is enough. You’re more likely to get sick or just feel run-down.

People love you. They need you. Your health and well-being matter to them.

Put yourself on your priority list and take care of yourself.

For easy nutrition and exercise tips, see Take Care of Yourself.