To measure or not to measure. That has been the question I’ve had on this intervention. On the one hand, measures are useful indicators. On the other hand, for some of us, they come with a whole lot of feelings. So much emphasis can be put on our weight or our jean size that we can lose sight of wellbeing as a lifestyle in exchange for “why can’t I just be skinnier?!”
Sometimes I can get too preoccupied with these measures and view them as a kind of “grade.” I get really frustrated when the results don’t match how hard I feel like I’m working. So, sometimes I avoid obsessing over these measures so that I can recalibrate my intentions. I want to live a life of wellbeing that reflects my values. The rest should follow that. The lifestyle of living well should come first; the measures should be used appropriately as mere indicators of how well that quest is going. Too often I start with the measures, working backwards, trying to live my life in a way that will produce certain numbers (weight, jeans size, inches lost, running pace).
Stepping back even further, health per se isn’t where I want to start. I want to examine my values and begin there. What matters to me? Being a good mom, for example. I want to be active, fun, and free of the preoccupation that comes with not feeling fit or good in my own skin. I want to be able to just fix it and forget it, so to speak. I want to live well in all areas of my life so that I can focus on loving my children in meaningful ways that require LOTS of attention and energy.
Likewise, I want to be attractive and know that I still look good to Collin. He’s a fine looking fellow, and he still catches the ladies’ eyes. I like knowing that he still finds me attractive…and while he says he always would (gotta love that guy), I also would like to feel attractive. I also want to be able to climb more mountains and have more adventures with him my whole life. So, even when I am older and greyer, he will still have flutters in his heart because I am his favorite mountain climbing companion (a definite love language for him).
And also, I love climbing mountains just because I do (even apart from the fact that I’d follow Collin up any peak to have all that time with him), and I love running because it syncs my mind and body, relieves stress, and gives me an amazing endorphin rush. I love being strong so I can do the kinds of activities that require fitness and strength.
So, all that to say, getting my priorities set with my internal compass properly calibrated has been a struggle at times.
I do love seeing my progress; don’t get me wrong. I am one of THE most goal oriented people on the planet. It’s precisely because of that that I’ve had to set the measures on the back burner from time to time because I want to learn to appreciate the journey. It’s just like when I’m hiking. I can sometimes get so caught up on getting to my destination that I miss the spectacular beauty during the hike. Collin will have taken hundreds of photos and I’m like, “wow. Those glaciers were pretty, huh? Hmm. Kinda wish I would’ve looked around a little more.” I’ve worked really hard at correcting that through the years.
So, while I do love seeing my progress over time in terms of performance, for example, I have had to set my runkeeper to the private settings because I was getting too preoccupied with my stats. I wanted to get back to the heart of running because I love it. So, I spent some time not using runkeeper, using runkeeper on private, going at a really comfortable pace even when I could’ve gone faster…all this to remember that I love running. And I have really fallen in love with running all over again. It had been a while since I used runkeeper and checked my stats, so I decided to do so last night. It turns out that ever since going off runkeeper grid, my running has improved significantly. I’ve shaved a minute per mile off my running pace in the last month.
And likewise, I had to physically put the scale in a cabinet and not weigh myself for a while because I’d get frustrated when I wasn’t seeing what I wanted to see. After taking some time to stop obsessing on the number and instead focusing on living intentionally, eating well, and enjoying my life, I got out the scale this morning. I was happy to see that this was another measure indicating that my intervention is going well.
So, while I do love my measures (when they are giving me A+’s especially), I try to remember that they are not everything. And they are not where I want to start.