A mantra I’ve come to embrace, especially as I try to live the life I want rather than the life I think I’m expected to. Everything out there has rules. Do this not that, or vice versa. Sure some of it is legit, but honestly, I’ve been finding that an unseemly amount of it is either pure bullshit or guesses. Also, we are all different people, different things will work for different people. Generally there is no one solution to every single person's potentially similar problem.
For what feels like forever I’ve lived my life looking for the rules. What’s appropriate. Every time there’s something new I’m always trying to feel out what can and can’t fly. The moment that I realized this was kind of a strange moment for me. Granted, I had the notion that I was always trying to follow rules and/or regulations but I didn’t realize how deep it went.
I was reading some Facebook post of a friend who had recently bought a cute house somewhere in the south. They were talking about all the things they were doing with the new house and property and I heard myself think, clearly for the first time, do they have permission to do all that??
And suddenly I was in the midst of this big aha moment where I was realizing that I was always, or maybe more realistically often, looking outside myself for permission to do just about anything. Even though I, as I was absolutely sure, was a grown woman with the authority to do all the things I was looking to others for permission to do.
So where does the mantra “something is better than nothing” come into this? Well, I’m so glad you asked. My previous aha moment led to me having many little moments of realization in a lot of areas of my life. A bunch of places where I wasn’t allowing myself to have permission to do it my way, the way that would inspire me to keep going. The way that would allow for me to live happier, and healthier.
So let’s take exercise, for example, I would get all gung-ho about a new workout but it would eventually peter out. More recently, I was looking at starting to lift weights but I was overwhelmed and daunted by all the (sometimes differing) rules/regulations/guidelines/recommendations. The main thing that has kept me motivated is my mantra that SOMETHING is better than NOTHING.
If I can only remember to do the thing for a few minutes when the recommendation is to do more (sometimes waaaaay more), that is a-OK. If I’m only working on it for a few minutes right before bed, that’s great! Because if I’m doing it, that’s what really matters, not necessarily how, when or where I’m doing it nor the frequency.
I mean, all of those are good things to consider but I was finding them to be restrictive rather than helpful, deterring rather than inspiring. Allowing myself to say that a 10 minute (or less) run is all I have time for and/or all I can muster has allowed me to love running again. Not pushing for what’s recommended/required by someone else's standards or rules has given me a better idea of what I am actually capable of, what I actually want to do.
And physically I’m in the best shape of my life, like ever. The last week and a half I’ve been running over a mile three times a week and lifting weights the days I don’t run. There are a lot of other factors but really living the mantra that something is better than nothing has really helped me shape up.
Can you benefit from paring down that expectation you have regarding some activity to something much more manageable and realistic? Is there something you’ve always felt you’ve wanted to do but were too overwhelmed by the recommendations? Do what you can, something is better than nothing at all!
—A Recovering Design Imposter
PS. Here is a picture of me and (one of) my tiny 5 pound weights...yup only 5 pounds but spread over 20 reps and 5 different exercises it's what I can manage and at least I am doing it!