Tuesday, 17 January 2017

What if?

This is a few days late...I've been struggling with migraines and computer screens are not my friend right now.

Anyhoo. I had the idea for this blog post about two weeks ago whilst I was washing my face. It suddenly occurred to me 'I wonder what would happen if I actually kept up this routine all year rather than forgetting a month in?' And that simple thought expanded into 'I wonder what would happen if I built a healthy lifestyle and stuck to it?' Suddenly my lifestyle change became so much more than simply 'drop pounds, lift heavy things, run faster' and became an experiment of what my life would actually be like. This got me thinking about how I'd thought about these things before and I realised that, overwhelmingly, my thought process has been retrospective rather than forward thinking. And honestly, I've DONE the past. I don't want to waste today thinking about yesterday when I can be working towards tomorrow.

I know this might seem painfully obvious but I can honestly say this is the first time that this kind of thought process has occurred in terms of lifestyle change. I've never been particularly positive when it comes to my what ifs. Usually it's 'what if I hadn't done X? I might be so much further along', 'what if I'd kept up with ballet as a child? I could be a prima ballerina by now' or just 'what if I hadn't been too embarrassed by my weight, body or just had believed in myself more? I might have gone to that party or told that guy how I felt or...' And when I realised this, I was struck by how disappointing this was and ultimately how negative my world view has been well...forever.
Motivational things! (http://hub.n2growth.com/the-power-of-what-if/)
In rediscovering the idea of the 'positive what if' I felt like I'd (re)discovered that quasi-childlike wonderment. What happens when I get to the top of that tree, I wonder if I can do a cartwheel or what happens if I mix the yellow and the purple play-doh (don't, it turns shit brown). And actually that really excited me. Because humans, whether we like to admit it or not, are curious animals. It's the reason that our ancestors spread out from Africa and came to live in just about every part of the globe (whether it's strictly habitable or not). It's the reason that one of our ancestors went 'I wonder what happens if I squeeze that cow's udders to collect milk?' (That literally makes my mind boggle, someone decided to milk a cow). Every scientific discovery has come from a simple question of 'what if?'

Now, I'm not suggesting that my 'what ifs' are particularly profound but in a world where we are bombarded with negative media, negative marketing and attitudes and approaches that are purely here to exploit our lack of confidence and human weaknesses; we have to cling on to anything that presents itself in a positive way. For me, this is especially important when I'm losing weight, upping my fitness or simply just trying to create a more balanced lifestyle. I do not do well with negativity. Being made to feel inferior, whether by my own mind or by others, is a sure fire route to failure. Of course, there might be SOME successes along the way- I know that I have had some exceptional weight losses when I feel awful about myself because I am at my most restrictive and most punishing in terms of calorie counting and activity- but it is certainly not sustainable and you end up far worse off than you may have started. For me, it presents as a significant drop in weight followed by a plateau which frustrates me into a) overeating b) purging or c) excessive exercise to the point of injury and illness. As if those three things weren't bad enough, you're left with the negativity meaning that absolutely nothing good has come from it. No. Thank. You.

I really just wanted to share this particular thought process because I know that there are people who will have thought about change the same way I was. I.e. thinking about it in terms of what has already happened (something we no longer have control over) instead of what could happen. Too often we live in the past at the risk of missing the present. I, for one, intend to make a change in my thinking by simply asking 'what if' more often.
Erin Hanson. Courtesy of pinterest...woohoo motivational quotes!

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