Change is something I have learned, you either LOVE or you HATE! Those who love it embrace it. Those who hate it need to find something within before they will adapt.
I do not wish to force change on other people. I have no desire to drown my energy in helping someone who genuinely does not want to be helped. I don’t judge those who aren’t like me because we are all very different. My lifestyle and my choices have evolved from several years of slow progression into healthy living. It started with physical activity. Following that was integrating food that was slightly better for you or even just “not quite as bad”. That turned into healthier and healthier foods more often, and now I make better food choices. Lastly, I have been working on conquering mental health. Not to any extreme, any diagnosis, any labeled syndrome, just pure and simple mental health. This is something we all take for granted.
As I said before, I have no desire to try and change a leaky tire that will soon inevitably run out of air, because the driver knowingly refuses to stop the car. I will however gladly help the person on the side of the road making the effort to change their own tire. That person who has thrown the hopeless poor me attitude out the door and owned up to the fact that they need to get home and can’t do it on a tire with no air. This is the person I want to help.
I was recently watching a Brendon Burchard webcast and he said something that really hit me and helped me realize how far I have come, but before I tell you what it is, let me give you a little background.
As a professional in the fitness industry something very difficult is not having a transformation story. People like to know that someone was in their shoes, understands them, and mostly that this person proves that there is hope for them. While I certainly understand that feeling, I also look at it from my end and think, but I have studied this, made it my mission, obtained experience in this field, and I love the subject. Why is that not enough?
I don’t have a weight loss journey, I don’t have a rags to riches story, I don’t have a substance abuse habit that I kicked, and I don’t have a tragedy that I was able to miraculously overcome. Honestly, if I gave you my life story it would probably be similar to everyone else’s and therefore a little boring. I was a tomboy, my parents divorced when I was young, I was a hockey player and a dancer, I beat kids up, I liked boys, I had my heart broken by boys, I broke a few hearts, I was never hurting for anything growing up, I went to college, I hated college, I felt obligated to stay in school and complete my degree, I owe a bunch of money in student loans, I travelled abroad, I did things I never thought I could do, I learned from every relationship I have ever been in throughout my life be it boyfriends, friends, family, co-workers, etc., I got a job, I left a job, I met a boy, I moved away, I had babies, I have a family, I want what’s best for my family and that starts with the best me😊 Boring right? So here’s the thing. When you are trying to start a business or be in the business of being your best self, you need to market that business and relate to people. So for the longest time I thought I could never relate to people because I don’t have a story. I don’t have a change and that’s what every person is looking for. Little did I know I was wrong. I actually had a significant change, one that many wouldn’t notice.
I went from this person who was ALWAYS worrying about things. Insignificant, ridiculous things. Everywhere I went I wondered what the people around me were thinking. Were they judging me? Did I care if they were judging me? Why did I care? What did I look like? Was my outfit ridiculous? Did my hair look funny? I have a very large extended family and I used to worry every time there was a family function. Was I doing enough? Was I holding up my end of the relationship? Did they want me there? Did they care if I was there? Did they like me? Was I good enough? I would worry to the point of never really being present in a conversation because I was wondering if I looked funny, or was interesting enough to talk to, or if I sounded funny, or if I was boring them. Then I would replay every situation in my head wondering how it sounded to the other person. I mean these things are all super ridiculous and make no sense. But that was my day to day. Replaying conversations in my head and wondering if I looked like or sounded like a goober and if that person would likely never want to have a conversation with me again. . . Apparently it never occurred to me that they likely wouldn’t want to have another conversation with me because I really wasn’t listening to the first one!
That was who I used to be. I did not enjoy life in the moment, I stressed life in the moment. I stood physically in conversation, but mentally in Megan world thinking about myself. I constantly worried about whether what I was doing was enough and whether or not I was living up to the standards of the people around me, my family, my friends. Was I doing things the way that they would do them and would they think less of my because I wasn’t glamming it up enough. Thank goodness this is only who I USED to be, because that broad is EXHAUSTING. Constant worry, constant selfishness, constant am I good enough. GIRLFRIEND, GET A LIFE . . . . YOUR OWN LIFE.
So how did I change? How did I get over it? Great question. I GOT CONFIDENT! Let me explain.
I am a firm believer that confidence can be a cure all. By gradually doing things that built up my confidence in myself, I was able to change my perspective. I gained energy and I gained confidence with little changes.
Change #1: MOVE
I got active. I started with shorter 30 minute or less workouts. I got up earlier or snuck down to the basement during nap time. I knew I didn’t have much time with the kids, but I had to do something. The old physics lesson is 100% accurate – A body in motion stays in motion. By getting active on purpose for 30 minutes a day, the rest of my day became more active. I wanted to move more and more. Gradually my 30 minutes a day turned into almost an hour of a workout on purpose, and active activities with the dog or the kids, or just myself on top of that hour.
I learn as I try different workouts or activities which ones make me feel best at the beginning of the day, at the end of the day, which ones are best for stress relief, which ones are best for clearing my mind, etc. This helps me to know what I need most to stay mentally well and when I need it.
In getting more and more active I started to like my body more and more. Don’t get me wrong, I am lucky enough that I have never struggled with major body image issues, I have however gone through the same minor details that most women go through . . . I don’t like my legs, I’m too pasty to show skin, I have no boobs, I got a zit, I have bags under my eyes, I’m bloated today, why do I still look pregnant 2 years after giving birth, there pants are saggy around my butt, yada yada, yada. After getting active more and more of these things seemed to just fix themselves. My legs gained some muscle and started to have a shape, my skin started to glow because I was actually taking care of it and getting outside, my upper body started to form muscle making my flat chest not look so ridiculous, my skin was getting fresh air and my stress was reducing therefore helping my skin stay clearer, I was sleeping better helping the bags under my eyes, and I was consistently working my abdominal muscles helping that endless baby bump stay hidden.
This was the best first step because it led me straight through the rest of the steps with a clear mind.
Change #2: FOOD
I changed my nutrition, my eating habits. This was something I had never incorporated in the past. I was a personal trainer at one time and constantly told people that eating healthy was a big part of their healthy lifestyle, but I was not practicing what I preached. I was not a huge fan of fruits or vegetables. I ate a lot of frozen pizza, mac and cheese, and white bread sandwiches. I also ate A LOT of sweets and thought nothing of eating cake or cookies for breakfast. After educating myself a little on foods, I struggled with the how. I knew I wasn’t doing it right, but because I didn’t know how, I just figured I would keep on the path I was going because I felt fine (knowing what I know now, knowing how I feel now, my definition of FINE was way off, I felt shitty, just disguised shitty). I was lucky enough that a friend sent me something and said just try this. If you like it great, if not no biggie. What she sent me was shake powder. My initial reaction was, I don’t drink shakes, I can just eat healthy (because that was working out so well for me already). I tried these Shakes, a bit reluctantly, and quickly realized that I had a lot more energy getting me through the day. I decided to give these things a shot for a month. During that month I realized that while I used to make cookie dough and then bake myself cookies after dinner every night (and enough for lunch the next day), I wasn’t doing that anymore. I didn’t crave my chocolate chip cookies twice a day. So I continued drinking these for another month and felt even better.
Since I was cutting out my sweets, I decided I would get better educated on the other things I was eating. I started looking at recipes for healthier foods and making those. I did this even for desserts and the BEST thing that did for me was cut out refined sugar! After doing this for a while and making, AND FAILING MIGHT I ADD, at many different recipes, I decided to start reading labels before buying foods at the grocery store. Again, the best thing this did for me was to cut out more and more sugar.
After many months of mastering these things, I decided I was ready to take on a meal plan. I chose a meal plan that came with recipes, easy recipes. Recipes I thought I could make and I would like. I was able to stick with it for the most past and did great with the recipes. By taking on this meal plan, I gained the confidence (there’s that word again) to eat healthy in general, without the meal plan guidelines. Sometimes I do really well and other times I end up on the struggle bus with my eating habits. I can always tell the difference in my body, my energy, my skin, my everything when I am not eating quite right. And I now know the difference between fine and shitty!
Change #3: AUDIOBOOKS & PODCASTS
One of the last changes I made to my days were audiobooks. I knew for a long time that I needed to start doing more personal and professional development in order to continue educating myself. I was stuck however because I just didn’t have the time to read. My family lives about 2.5 hours away from me so before one of my trips to see them I thought, hmm . . .everyone keeps telling me to read this book, what if I listened to it on the way down. So I did! I was almost instantly hooked. I felt my mind working again. I remembered what it felt like to learn again, take in new information, and gain new knowledge. I finished that book on the way back home, and immediately found another, and another, and another. I finally signed up for audible on amazon! These books changed my way of thinking. They changed my mindset. They ignited my confidence (theme?). I learned little bits and pieces that I could implement almost immediately from each book.
I quickly realized that my audible credits came through once a month and that just wasn’t enough for me, so I turned to other forms of personal development. I found podcasts that were equally as intriguing and educational. I learned from those and then ended up getting my next audiobook ideas from them. I found YouTube trainings on different topics that I could learn from by either watching when I had a few quick minutes or just listening to in the car.
All of these things helped me to be stronger and wiser. A main theme in many of these books, podcasts, and videos was to learn from those who have succeeded in what you want to achieve, and not to take advice from those who continually fail at what you want to achieve. This is highly logical and much easier said than done. Let me explain: When you love someone, it can be very difficult not to take their opinions or unsolicited advice into consideration. Unfortunately, with loved ones they often have lots of advice to give you even on topics they themselves have no knowledge or experience in. They don’t do this to sabotage you or to make you feel bad, they do this because they love you and genuinely feel like they are helping. So for your own benefit and success, surround yourself with those who have succeeded in what you want; find mentors, friends with similar interests and achievements, and a coach if that’s a possibility. Think about it this way: Do you want marriage advice from your brother who has been divorced and remarried 5 times, from your two friends that have been unhappily married for 6 years and spend most of their time arguing with each other or complaining about each other, or from your grandparents who have been happily married for 40 years and spend most of their time enjoying life and reminiscing about all their best memories? Similarly, would you want career advice from someone who drags themselves out of bed in the morning dreading the day ahead, and spends their work day miserable and cranky because of their job, and then comes home and complains for hours about why their job sucks? Or would you rather take career advice from someone who leaps out of bed on Monday morning with excitement and can’t wait to get started because their job is that fulfilling? Do you feel that you are being the best parent possible by hanging out with deadbeats who buy beer with their grocery money and hope that school feeds their kids that day? Or would surrounding yourself with people who have their kids help them in the kitchen so they can learn about healthy foods, coach their kids’ sports teams, and take their kids on walks to the park be a more effective way to learn better parenting skills? Okay last one, hopefully this one drives home my point. Would you take advice about farming from a wall street broker? Point & Match!
Change #4: POSITIVELY POSITIVE
Changing my mentality. Creating a positive environment.
Step one – cut out the news! Today’s media is unfortunate. They survive on human being’s natural instincts to get drawn in to disaster. Because of those instincts the media turns everything in to a disaster, a tragedy, drama. As people see this in the news so often is sparks unhappy people to create more drama and tragedy because that’s where the attention lies, and that’s how they can get people to hear their cause. It becomes a domino effect with no end to the dominos. For that reason, I cut it out. I often don’t know what’s going on in the outside world, but the goings on in the outside world don’t often directly affect my life, and this allows my bubble to positively encouraging and joyful.
I needed to stop letting negative things get to me. Full disclosure I am still working on this one. I am certainly not saying that life is always going to be sunshine, butterflies, and rainbows, but what I am saying is that it’s certainly more enjoyable when you can see the sunshine. By looking for the good, or finding motivation in unpleasant situations, you can drastically change the remainder of your day, your week, your year! Things happen in life that we may not agree with. There will be situations, events, and other humans in life that we don’t agree with, that we don’t like, and that make flames burn inside our ears. By allowing yourself an outlet, or a way to stay on the positive side and refuse to be sucked in to the misery, the rest of your life is forever better off.
Those are the changes that helped me get to a better me.
So what did Brendon Burchard said that hit me. He said there was one major difference between successful people and unsuccessful people. Then he said, successful people bounce back faster. This was when I realized how far I had come. Things that would knock me out for weeks or even months before barely phased me now. Where I used to worry, I would now figure out how to do better and implement immediately.
So all in all, I am finally comfortable in my own skin! I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It’s hit me more and more recently as I become comfortable just being me. I was at a wedding just a few weekends ago and realized a few days later how present I actually was while I was there, and how much fun I was having because of it. I wasn’t worried about who was “watching me” or why or what someone might be thinking about me mid conversation. I was listening, I was talking with people about their lives and learning about what makes them tick. I was hanging out with my family and simply enjoying myself.
I had to plan a birthday party very recently. Instead of stressing about having matching decorations and themed plates and table clothes, and scheduled activities for the kids to do, and picking a time when everyone could attend without ruining their weekend or night or plans, I kept things simple. There were non-matching lawn chairs and a couple random kid tables in the yard. There was a swing set, mini trampoline, batting machine, soccer balls, and toy trucks out in the yard. The kids all did their own thing and had a blast while the adults hung out nearby. There was no scheduled dinner or themed plates, it was eat when you’re hungry. There were no rules. The kids played inside with whatever toys they could find, and outside just running free through the yard. It was simple, easy, and no one missed the theme or the scheduled events.
There have been other random happening that I’ve stepped back from recently and said, “damn I’ve grown up”. But I won’t make you sit through them all. My point here is that I am learning who Megan really is. Not who Megan’s parents, high school friend’s, college teammates, coworkers, or bosses want her to be or think she should be; who she really is, and I like her. I think she’s super fun.
I am loud (unknowingly at times), not in a loud and obnoxious way but simply a, I’m excited and my volume just went up kind of way. I am energetic. People constantly ask me how much caffeine I have had or what’s in my shakes, but they don’t realize or fully understand that I just enjoy being, period. I try to make everything I do somewhat joyful because otherwise why do it. I am a dreamer and sometimes my actions get ahead of current status. I am ambitious and giving. I enjoy helping other people grow because I know how awesome it makes me feel. I am not afraid to admit my mistakes because I know I make them often. If I didn’t I would never learn anything. I’m not great with numbers, and I’m not always great at explaining things. I kick ass when it comes to being active, and finding exercise to fit people’s lives. I never thought I would be, but I’m actually a pretty decent parent. I love dogs (sometime more that humans), and I will forever wish that I were a cowgirl. I have pale skin and a flatter chest than a piece of plywood. I would never intentionally hurt someone’s feelings and I will always feel some amount of guilt when I am the cause of someone else being sad. I am unapologetic of my life style and life choices. And while I could go on and on about the things I have learned and accepted about myself, I will leave it at this. I may not always make the smartest decisions, but I always make decisions with the best intentions in mind. My words aren’t always understood in the way they are intended. I have learned that as I accept the consequences of a decision made incorrectly, or words misunderstood, I will know my genuine intentions and meanings of my words. This is what matters. If my intentions or words are interpreted differently when read, seen, or reviewed by someone else . . .it is none of my business as my business is only to originate them. This all comes back to having confidence in myself, my actions, and my purpose. Confidence. Do yourself a favor and don’t leave the house without it. It’s dangerous and necessary. Don’t have any? CHANGE SOMETHING.