It’s 2017, many people have made resolutions circling around wellness, a ‘new year, new you’, but how about letting go of your past self? When I started to write this blog I was solely focused on fitness new year goals, but the ever popular ‘new year, new you’ tagline kept popping up in my head. Even though the endpoint of this post changed, the examples stayed the same.
I’ve been working through an issue for the last few years, and I’ve come out on the other side with some clarity. It took me far more than a year to be a ‘new me’. And no, I’m not going to tell you how to completely change everything you do to become the ‘new you’ you’ve always wanted to be. Sorry! But I do have some nuggets of truth for you that will help you start.
The issue I’m talking about is letting go, the fear of letting go to be exact. I’m thirty, and I love to try new things. So at this point in my life I’ve had a lot of different hobbies, jobs, and hairstyles. Some good, others terrifying. As someone who is not afraid to step out of my comfort zone (to a certain extent), I’ve developed a strong passion for variety. But there have been many activities and behaviors that I just couldn’t kick. Things that took a lot of personal work to literally let go of. Because they were no longer serving me, or my body was no longer agreeing with, or even the fact that those things were hurting my personal growth.
For example, I used to pride myself on being a swimmer, runner and triathlete. This was my drug of choice for many years. The perfect introvert excuse, ‘I can’t come because I have to keep up my training schedule’. Not that I had a ton of social invitations, but if there was any hint of forced social interaction I would do everything I could to avoid it. So I would sign up for races every weekend, training constantly, buying the gear, racking up my personal records and medals/trophies.
Ohhhhhhh the medals and trophies. Guys, this was a huge part of my life for so, so long. As a child I was a talented athlete, especially in the competitive swimming world. To be the best was definitely a goal and taking home that hardware was the biggest motivator. If I had proof that I was successful, then I truly was, right? Yikes! I wanted to be fast so I could win the race and hop out of the pool before the rest of the competition finished. I thrived on dominating in the water and would always record my personal best times.
These confessions may shock some of you, others may think ‘she was just a good competitor’, but I had those feelings as young as the age of eight. Up until I stopped competing as a high school senior to switch to coaching, and then again as an adult in Masters Swimming, the unhealthy side of competition continued to shine through. Slowly and surely my go with the flow attitude started to take over, but I still loved the act of winning, the thrilling feeling of superiority. The medals and trophies were a crutch, I gained them to boost my confidence, but the high didn’t last for long. There was still a deep void within me even if I stood at the top of the podium.
I would use my time to train for race after race, simply looking for praise from others. I wanted people to know that I was a hardcore athlete who just naturally thrived at eight percent body fat. Most of the time I did enjoy the training, it was my therapy (because I feared going to actual therapy)! But I began to realize I was just going through the motions to keep my race calendar full. Had to get that post race picture for Facebook! Sigh.
Soon my started body turned on me, every sign saying that I should stop. Injury, mental fatigue, and there was certainly a lack on inspiration projected onto others. I was still putting myself on a pedestal, ‘I’m a triathlete, and you’re NOT’. I did my last olympic length triathlon and half marathon back in 2014. After that I officially quit it all. I was no longer the runner, the swimmer, the triathlete. But I was still ‘Alli’, though. I am much more than boxes full of medals and trophies. After many years I did finally get rid of the hardware…tear.
Did any of your new year’s resolutions include going back to an old version of yourself? Did you want to get back into your skinny jeans? Get back at your ex by living the fab life? Be carefree like you were in high school?
But you’ve grown and matured over time. Why go back? Likely because you remember being happy then. And who doesn’t want that? You are reading a happiness blog after all! Please know there is more merit in your future self. Letting go of the past is the only way to move forward with your life.
I know this is a common issue, letting go of your past self. Former victories, feelings, and jean sizes. I’ve been a personal trainer for many years, if I had a dollar for every time I heard about the skinny jeans folded up at the top of the closet I’d be flush with cash! If you’re not actively involved in an activity or behavior, stop claiming it. You will survive without the title. Titles don’t even matter!
Let it go.
There is something better waiting for you. If you put in the work, you will see results. Whether it be with your personal relationships, mental health or physical well being. It is the holding on part that brings us down.
Let it go.
Let THAT go too!
Yes, even that.
Let. It. Go.
Stay giddy, friends.