Too much of anything is not good
I spent the first half of my life procrastinating. In college and even grad school, I did the minimal amount of work, skating by, finishing assignments at the last minute. I did all of this because I subconsciously did not think I was worthy of succeeding (among other things, like drinking too much beer.) Feeling unworthy of success is discussed in my last post.
Cut to my mid 20’s, when anxiety hit me like a freight train, I lost 20 lbs in 2 months as a result, and decided I had to change some things or I would have to live in this fearful state of flux for many more decades. That felt unacceptable to me.
So when I started digging in deep, I started to crave rather than fear success. Cut to my 30’s when I went back to school for my massage license, and spent 2 years getting all A’s. In every single class. I began having nightmares in which I forgot assignments or classes (BTW these dreams still visit me from time to time to this very day.) I became very rigid, very scheduled, very anal. Being places on time was of the utmost importance. This all set me up to start my own business successfully. This mindset worked for a time.
Cut to my 40’s, when the rigidity began to wear thin on my psyche. Whenever I could not do the things in a day I set out to do, it would bring about frustration and anxiety. I had two small kids. I kept them on a tight sleep and eat schedule. I ran my business successfully. I ran my life like a drill sergeant. It looked good on paper. In reality, I was driving my family and myself a bit nutty.
Cut to my late 40’s, when after a time of not listening to the subtle messages that easing up control may be better for me and everyone around me, the universe began to send me scenarios that knocked me completely off my game. Out of my routines. Out of my comfort zone. Things that defied scheduling, planning or any forethought. Things that forced within me a new flexibility, a new perspective on what was a profound and productive day.
Structure is awesome, especially if a lack of that has been your main obstacle to good health. Creating good habits and sticking to them creates a beautiful new way of being. However, we often create a fear-based relationship with these practices, particularly when we have not been doing them our whole lives. I.e. If I don’t eat an apple in the morning, my goals for the day are worthless. Creating a level of flexibility around our journey to good health is better. Eliminating the all or nothing perception- the “unless I do everything on my checklist all is lost” outlook.
Balance is best. So creating a day that is full of structure and allows for some free, unscheduled time should be the end goal. Creating a space in your mind to allow for unforeseen circumstances, slight changes in routines will actually bring you closer to your intentions. Too much of anything creates rigidity and fear, even when those things that you are doing too much of are geared towards health. These things can trigger our nervous systems into a state of chronic stress and thus deplete us. This actually causes us to move further away from our goals. Because I have lived both lives, one without any structure and one with too much, I am here to tell you my new goals in my 50’s are just about being flexible with the things the days bring me. Despite what I previously believed, this framework has not had me fall off from healthy routines, but keeps me on track even better.