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Is there any point being here unless we are trying to be the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be?
Although that is a rhetorical question, the answer is pretty complicated for me – and probably for most of us.
I have the best intentions. I know exactly what I must do. Why is it so difficult to get on with it?
Here’s a simple list. If I crack all these, and find a way of maintaining them, then I’ll be happy – with myself and with my life:
1. Eat healthy, whole and clean. Just stop with the family size packets of crisps, for god’s sake.
2. Exercise every day – crossfit twice a week, bodyweight exercises at home, brisk walks.
3. Start a proper regime of piano practice again. Every day.
4. Be a fabulous, supportive, loving parent to BOTH kids EQUALLY, all the time.
5. Be an inspiring, passionate teacher – keep up to date with educational developments and keep your teaching inventive and challenging.
6. Be kind to yourself, and forgive yourself when you fail – and you WILL fail - no one can possibly achieve everything in the list above, because frankly, it’s ridiculous.
Sometimes I do manage most things on the list above – for a few days, or even weeks. But I can’t maintain it. And when I fail at one thing, even if it’s a tiny thing, I throw in the towel and let everything else slide as well. If I can’t drag myself to a 7am crossfit class when I had planned to, why, then I might as well eat a whole pack of butter and lie down on the couch like a hibernating slug for the rest of the day. And after a shameful day of laziness and gluttony, I might as well write off the whole week…and so it continues, until I find myself AGAIN at the bottom of a very familiar pit of self-disgust.
It makes no sense – even to me. It’s like stubbing your toe, and thinking, ‘Oh well. I’ve stubbed my toe! I might as well stab myself in the eye, and then set myself on fire while I’m at it.’
I read a quote one day that said, “Don’t aim for perfection. Just aim for a little progress every day.”
Yes! I thought. What a great attitude! Thinking about progress is the way forward! I don’t have to be perfect!! This is going to change everything!
But there was a problem. I didn’t make progress every day. In fact, some days, I’m sure I took several steps backwards. Time to get out the oversize packet of crisps.
What I need is not a pithy, motivating quote – I need to learn how to reset each day. How to wake up with a clean slate. How to move on.
How can I be the best ME, when I drag around all the other MEs I have ever been, in a huge suitcase? How I can I make any sort of progress, when my memory latches onto every failure – every inadequacy - and keeps them lovingly in a huge box labelled, ‘Reasons You Will Fail Again’?
I need to find a way of being happy in the moment – in the NOW. Academically, I know there are hundreds of reasons I should be happy at any given moment but, somewhere along the line, I have learned to change the goal posts for myself and transform happiness into an impossibly distant prize.
Well, I am hoping that what can be learned can also be unlearned. It’s a new day, I’ve made good eating choices so far, and it’s not raining.
I might even go for a brisk walk, whilst planning a healthy meal and thinking about an educational activity to do with the children this weekend...