My Body, My Way: Why I Stopped Setting Deadlines and Started Enjoying the Process

My Body, My Way - Why I Stopped Setting Deadlines and Started Enjoying the Process

“Life isn’t about ‘getting there’.  It’s about ‘being here’, and enjoying your journey”-Robert Holden

I remember telling my Grandpa that I was going to major in Vocal Performance in college.  I was so excited that I could barely contain myself.  What classes would I take?  What shows would I be in?   Where would I be in 20 years?  The possibilities! His reaction: “What’s your goal?”  The question stopped me dead in my tracks.  I hadn’t given it the slightest thought.  At 17, the only thing I knew is that I loved to sing, and that was really all that mattered.  I didn’t have an end goal, but at the same time, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.  Music has always been a part of who I am.  It’s in my blood, my bones.  I will never be done with singing.  Enjoying the process of growing and evolving as an artist was the whole point of my decision to follow my dream of pursuing a career in music.  I subconsciously knew that even if I never achieved the goal of receiving a Tony or debuting at the Met, I would at the very least achieve my goal of following my heart and the path that would allow me to live a fulfilling and authentic life.  I never envisioned a finish line.  My fellow right-brained daydreamers know that’s not really our thing.

Fast forward almost 20 years, and I am still singing and loving the process.  So why is it that when it comes to the condition of my body, and my relationship with it, I’ve always created deadlines?  Whether the goal was to lose 10 pounds for an important audition, or tone my arms to look perfect in that recital gown, I’ve always given myself clear and concise goals for how I wanted to look or how I thought I should look.  For a college audition I put myself on a cleanse for 2 weeks that could barely sustain a mouse and sure enough I lost the weight—that is until I crossed the finish line and immediately reached for the chocolate cake.  I started over again when I got engaged.  I worked out six days a week, and eliminated carbs for 6 months.  Sure enough—lost the weight and looked smokin’ in my dress.  I think I could probably fit at least three quarters of my left leg into it if I tried it on today.

Two kids and almost eight years later, I’m hitting the gym again.  In the past, when it was everything I could do to get past minute 7 on the treadmill, I envisioned the final product; myself wearing a size that was most likely 2 sizes too small for my frame.  Did I also mention the perfect blow-out, tan, and endless wardrobe that accompanied many a treadmill daydream?  (Let’s be real.  We all have.)  But this time around, something is different.  I don’t want to finish what I have recently started.  I’ve put in a lot of work into getting up and going to the gym these past few weeks and I love how I’m feeling.  Yes, I’m down 4 pounds in 2 weeks which is fabulous, but more importantly, I’m happier, calmer and have double the energy I did this winter.  When I drop a dress size, am I going to run out and buy that chambray jumper to reward myself?  You bet I am.  But it won’t end there.

Setting deadlines and finish lines are a reality of life.  Whether it’s a big project at work, or buying a house, it is human and healthy to set goals for ourselves.  But let’s stop for a moment and think big picture.  If we challenge ourselves to think outside of the daily grind of finishing laundry, preparing for the meeting, losing the weight…it becomes clear that life is all about enjoying the process.  Today I’m challenging myself to think the same way about my health. After all, the things that mean the most to us are rarely about the finished product—a lesson I learned early on as a vocal performance major.  Who said my degree was useless? 😉

What’s your process? What motivates you to live a healthy life…for the rest of your life?

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