I’ve been working like a dog, or busy bee, or a chicken with its head cut off? Yeah, it’s like that. And there’s some hard stuff– the kind that comes with being a living, breathing person and loving other living, breathing people. Life, y’know? Yes, yes… I bet you do. You’ve been a caregiver. You’ve watched people you love sit in some hard places and not be able to fix it for them. You’ve felt like a hamster on a wheel at times when you really just needed to make some magic happen. It’s kind of the human condition.
Still though, some good things are coming out of what turned out to be a harder, busier, non-stoppier November. On the upside, I’ve got something exciting in the works and I’ll share it with you soon!
On the not-so-up side, I’ve been sitting on my butt. A lot. I’m doing the best I can to eat well in the real world, and I’m practicing what I preach about rest, listening to my body, and training, but I’m feeling kinda blah. And grumpy-ish. Since I’ve been doing that kind of work that doesn’t exactly require thought but is important nonetheless, I’ve had the TV on in the background, which has given me the opportunity to “watch” lots of Hallmark Christmas Movies (Love!) Today, though, as I was finding something to which to work, I came across the movie “Rudy”. If you don’t know Rudy, you should. The first time I watched it I was with a group of teenagers who were in group care because their parents weren’t able to love them well, adequately, or appropriately. I remember thinking that it was a fantastic movie for them to watch because it had so many life lessons packed into it. But, all these years later, it was what I needed to watch too.
“Rudy” is the story of Dan Rutiger, the son of working class parents in a steel mill town. Rudy had one giant dream– to play football for Notre Dame. Lots of fellas dream of playing college ball, but Rudy had a lot working against him: less than stellar grades, not much athletic ability, and being about half the size of the other players… nevermind that most of the people in his family and town didn’t go to college. You should watch the movie, but Rudy kept putting himself in opportunities that might lead to him being part of the team. Over and over, things stand in his way, but he keeps showing up. He keeps his chin up. He won’t be beaten, even when nobody but him believes that he can make this dream happen.
There is an image that plays throughout the movie: a sign that hangs in the stairwell that players touch before each game. It says: Play like a champion today.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the movie, and that sign. I’ve been thinking about Rudy and his dogged determination to make his dreams a reality and how in so many ways, that’s exactly what it takes to achieve the radical change that so many of us want so badly. Being healthy and feeling great and confident in your skin doesn’t require the extreme. It requires the consistent. I tell people that in some ways losing 100 pounds has been easier than I thought– I ate real food in reasonable amounts (and didn’t feel deprived), and while the workouts I did were tough, they were never as awful as I’d imagined they’d have to be. But in other ways, losing 100 pounds has been much harder than I ever thought. And it’s because of the day in, day out relentless pursuit of it. (Seriously. Get a trainer who won’t let you quit on yourself. I would have quit 1000 times by now if not for my trainer/ best friend who knew that I wanted this more than I’ve wanted about anything else in my life.)
Here’s how, at least right now, I think playing like a champion looks:
- Keep showing Up: Even when life is handling you, instead of the other way around, stay focused on who you are becoming. Can’t make your scheduled workout? What can you do? Didn’t get a chance to cook? How can you make the best choice with what you have? View every decision that is related to eating and exercising as an opportunity to become more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
- Don’t Stop Believin: Journey had it right. Believe that you will get there. Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” There are several scenes in Rudy where we see him acting as if he has already made the team, even though reality says his dreams are still a way off.
- Eat and work like you have a dream: In a perfect world, you’d cook all your meals from whole ingredients and sit down to a relaxing meal. Your workouts would be great every time you walked in the gym, and you’d never miss one. If that’s how your world looks, this probably isn’t the blog for you! But when real life happens, ask yourself if what you are doing is bringing your dream closer or pushing it farther away.
- Live in the moment, but don’t live FOR the moment: Be present right where you are, but recognize that the choices you make right this second have long term consequences. You’re stressed out and craving crap food. It won’t undo all your progress to eat a candy bar every now and then, but what happens when that becomes your go-to?
- Be on the field with your whole heart: One of the things I love about “Rudy” is that people around him keep talking about his “heart”. That is, his passion for his dream. It influences everything he does. Be that guy. Be that girl. You’ll never get there with lukewarm.
- Annnnnnd This:
Don’t let life keep you from your dreams! Keep showing up, keep believing, keep making the best choices you can in every situation. You will get there!