Ashley Peterson, LPC
Looking back on 2020..
Guess who finally showed ready to post a final 2020 blog? Me! I feel like I always say I'll do better and I have the intention to prioritize this blogging, but for whatever reason topics to write about only come to me when they comes to me.. so here we are with a topic, thus new blog post! I wanted to share some realizations/ thoughts/ reflections that I had this year in the hope that they could help someone somewhere. Let me know what you think!
This is the initial thought that inspired this post: I’m leaving the survival mentality I’ve become accustomed to in 2020 and stepping into a thriving mentality for 2021. If what I seek is success,then I have to free that space that fear holds so I am able to grow into what I desire.
Exercise has been my saving grace in 2020. It’s taught me a lot about myself; it’s taught me how strong my mental constitution is and how easily it is for me to convince myself that I’m not able to do something and also how easy it is to change self-defeating thoughts by just trying. I have always believed in myself but with a small amount of doubt. I am walking into 2021 relying completely on my belief system which is that I can do anything.
Outdoor exercise taught me the value in planning and preparation, as I would have to check the temperature to ensure that I was dressed correctly whether for biking or training for the 5K. I also had to learn how to control my breathing, navigate different terrains, and trust that I could do it. Often I would set small goals for myself, just making it to the next lamp post and then reevaluate. I also learned that if I hyper focused on the fact that I didn’t want to do something or that I didn’t think I could do something ,that tended to be exactly what happened. When I allowed myself to focus on the possibility that I could indeed set out to do anything that I had identified ...it was easy and it felt great and that possibility then became a fact.
Something else I did that was helpful was checking in with myself every morning before I went out for my work out. I would do a physical assessment identifying anything that was different, did I get enough sleep? Am I sore? Am I tired?, or do I just not feel like doing it? I allowed myself to acknowledge that any of the answers were valid. When I validated how I was feeling, that wasn’t telling me that I couldn’t push myself , but it just reaffirmed to me that not feeling like it, is OK , and it was helpful for me to separate a healthy work out from a punishment as the two have always been so closely tied to each other. Once I was able to gain familiarity with my surroundings and get comfortable, I was able to then decide how and where I wanted to challenge myself, and if I wanted to do it with speed, distance, or even an incline. Learning that everyday I controlled my ability to change paths , to ask for something easier, or to offer something more challenging was such an affirming experience for which I’m so grateful.
I started out 2020 with the goal of improving my physical health, and also wanting to feel more comfortable in my clothing. What started out as a journey with my bike has turned into an amazing outlet that I appreciate , especially, in quarantine since I had to cancel my Orange Theory membership. I always thought that my motivation came from outside forces as I grew up playing group sports. I was so shocked to find out that if I could motivate myself even when I didn’t feel like it or when I didn’t see the immediate unrealistic results that I wanted ,I could in fact, achieve any and all goals that I set for myself.
With my bike and a goal of riding one mile and now I am able to ride for 10 miles! With my training for 5K, I started out walking for 30 minutes with five minute warm ups to start and end with, but now I’m comfortably running for 28 minutes straight! Some people may like to qualify that statement by saying it may not be a lot to some people but I don’t care if it is or if it is not because my success and my pride aren’t rooted in what other people can do but what I am able to do and I’m always gonna be proud of myself whenever I allow myself to try something new.. while always remembering that I deserve to be proud of myself and I can do hard things and no matter how big or small it’s always worth celebrating.
Wishing you all the opportunity to thrive, reach new goals and celebrations of all of your wins along the way! 2020 was hard, but we can do hard things :)