You know those mystery stories that start out with a man who has worked hard his whole life and waits for retirement to take all the trips and pick up all the hobbies he never had time for while working, but is then murdered one week prior to retirement? Yeah, so do the people who write the Precision Nutrition curriculum. In fact one of my last lessons was titled “One Week From Retirement” and focused on a similar idea: many of us wait until we are are good (a.k.a. skinny, successful, rich, skilled, confident, etc.) enough to do the things we want to do and they never get done because whatever we are waiting for still hasn’t happened.
I felt that lesson. There is a long list of things I have been afraid to do because I didn’t think I was good enough to go after them. As I have reflected on the painful things I went through a couple years ago, I have realized part of what lead me into a funk was waiting for the perfect moment to make a change, instead of making it once I realized I wanted it.
The PN lessons ends with the point that we can’t wait for the perfect moment and if we really want something we have to go for it now. Then it asked me to come up with something I have wanted to do for a while and make a plan to do it. This sounds silly, but every summer the number one thing I always want to do, but don’t do, is go to Denver’s biggest water park, Water World.
Why is going to Water World hard? Partially because my summer weekends fill up so fast I have to ask for a day off work and partially because the idea of hanging out in a swimsuit all day is daunting. Are those good reasons? Not really, I have always had enough PTO to take one day off in the middle of the summer and it isn’t worth while for me to give up a day of fun just because I am a little uncomfortable in a swimsuit. This summer I asked my friend Alexa if she would go to Water World with me and she said yes. After Alexa and I picked a date I asked my boss for a day off and she said yes. I also bought a cute swimsuit top last summer that I never wore, so now was the time.
Alexa and I had a great day! It had been a long time since I had experienced the suspense of going on a new ride or spent a hot summer day by water. Alexa and I don’t get together often so whenever we do we have incredible conversations. Once we got to the water park and I saw everyone else in their swimsuit I didn’t worry about how I looked. I also managed my workload well enough there was no issue taking one day off.
Though this one act of taking the day off work to go to the water park with my friend and enjoy life in a swimsuit seems minor, it started me on the track of saying yes more. So much in fact that when I came across “The month of Heck Yes!” in my favorite guided journal “Let That Stuff Go” I decided to make August my “Month of Heck Yes.” in order to embrace the idea of saying yes to more things in spite of my insecurities.
So far my yes actions have been small, but yielded big results. For example, the afternoon of my birthday my friend Shaun sent a group text asking if anyone wanted to go for a walk. I had already gone on a walk, it was 95 degrees out and I had a party to get ready for, but I said yes. As we walked around the park we talked about work and I told him about a challenge I have been dealing with in my role. Shaun has another friend with a job similar to mine and offered to introduce us via email. His friend and I spoke Monday and she offered me a few tips and suggestions to help resolve my issue. Simply by saying yes to a walk, I found an opportunity to do my job better.
Last Saturday was my big Stop-Waiting-For-Retirement/Month-of-Heck-Yes adventure. I hiked a mountain that goes 14,000 feet above elevation, also called a 14er. I have always wanted to climb a 14er. It is one of those Colorado badges of honor I feel compelled to do. It is also a huge test of fitness and endurance, which is what makes it appealing and terrifying. I would love to hike all summer long, but life gets in the way and I have never felt I in shape enough to try. When my local OrangeTheory Fitness studio planned a group outing to hike Quandary Peak I wondered if this was the time to do it.
Hiking Quandary Peak was by far one of the most physically challenging things I have ever done. I certainly struggled on my way to the top and about a quarter mile to the summit an unexpected snow shower came in and we had to head down.
Not reach the summit really put all that I have learned from Empowered Nutrition Coaching to the test. Despite all the work I have put into my health and nutrition over the past year, I still didn’t fully complete an item that has been on my bucket list and I am disappointed. As Kaitlyn’s client I have learned that sometime factors out of our control throw off our plans and that doesn’t make us dumb or unhealthy or failures, it just makes us human. Once the weather turned bad the risk was too great to keep going up and while I don’t control the weather I do control my safety, which mattered the most. The mountains are not going anywhere any time soon and I can attempt another 14er another day. My health will only improve between now and then which makes my likelihood of making it to the top even greater. I also won’t feel so insecure when I try again, because I know deep down had the weather stayed sunny last weekend I would have made it.
Empowered Nutrition Coaching focuses on how important it is to celebrate your success, every day, no matter what. On Saturday I hiked over six miles and gained an elevation over 14,000 feet. That is still an accomplishment. The hike was physically challenging without the quarter mile I didn’t make. Had I stuck to the excuse I wasn’t in shape enough to try, I most likely would have gone to an OrangeTheory class in the morning and then spent the afternoon on the couch watching TV - and while that is a great Saturday, it wouldn’t have been an adventure and I wouldn’t have seen any mountain goats.
I don’t know what else the Month of Heck Yes has in store for me or where my new “stop waiting for retirement” perspective will take me, but I feel more energized and hopeful because of them. I believe good things are on their way simply because I have opened myself up to them. It seems crazy a nutrition program could lead to such an adventurous outlook, but it has and I am excited for what is ahead.