I recently pulled out my “Hard-o-Meter” and took a fresh look. It has been years since I last thought about this . . . Where exactly are my limits? What can I really do, in all areas of life? (Gotcha, didn’t I? You thought this was something dirty, didn’t you?)
For years I have settled into a reasonably comfortable pattern with my workouts. I did not think, “I am soft on myself.” I just thought I was doing what I could “at my age”, which I felt was “not bad at all”. This is true – it was not bad – but I had lost my perspective on what is difficult. My “Hard-o-Meter” was stuck, locked in place at a set challenge level I accepted years ago.
Now, energized by the knowledge that I really do not have a clue how fast or how far I can run, each workout is a new opportunity to stretch the limits. It is empowering! I have even started playing with the level on my stair-climber. I have not changed that in years – just grabbed my coffee and a book and started climbing. I guess the fact that I could still read and drink coffee should have been a clear sign that I was slacking!
When I was younger, I experienced similar feelings in other areas of life. I was a very shy, introverted adolescent and young adult. I remember my mom’s account of a parent/teacher conference, during which my 7th grade teacher had told her he wished I would just pop out of my seat and yell “Yahoo, Mountain Dew!!” That never happened. (Phwewww! I’m not sure I could have lived that down.)
Over the years I continued to push my “Shy-o-Meter”, taking chances a little at a time – nothing crazy, just a small personal dare every now and then to answer a question in class or talk to someone I didn’t know well.
Over the years, I upped the ante, so that in college I was volunteering to be the first to make presentations (knees shaking, and voice cracking . . . but I did it, mainly to get it over with). Later, in work situations, I began to accept public speaking opportunities that honestly scared the $%^* out of me at first.
At first . . . and then I actually started to enjoy it. Imagine that! I felt so limitless, knowing that I could do that. Thinking back to high school, I marveled at how terrified I was in speech class. I would have paid someone big bucks to take my place in front of the class. I have come a long way, and it feels great!
It is no coincidence that I am beginning to question other limits in my life as well. If I can push my workout beyond what I thought possible, I wonder what else I can do . . . .
Do you really know where your limits are? When people try to change eating habits, it is usually true that huge drastic changes are not sustainable, but it can be empowering to see what is possible, even briefly. You say you can’t eat 10 servings of vegetables a day – it is IMPOSSIBLE?
Re-set your “Hard-o-Meter”, even if you can only do something once. Can you do it for one day? Although 10 veggy servings may not be a realistic long-term goal, being able to do it even once will change the way 5 servings look, and 6 may become your new reasonable goal.
Perceived limitations are . . . well, limiting! The more you can check things off your personal list of impossibilities, the better. Knowing it’s possible doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. It simply means that now you can choose to continue with it or not, instead of thinking it isn’t even possible.
Some things belong on the impossible list. Please don’t try jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. Survival is not possible. Eating an “impossible” number of vegetable servings, or having one day without sugar? Those are within anyone’s grasp. Try it. It’s like a shot of kryptonite! You’ll feel like Super-You.