Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011: The Year of Helen

On Tuesday, I mentioned that I want to make 2011 The Year of Helen.  Almost immediately I got comments and emails asking me how I intended to do that.  Guess what?  I hadn't really thought about the steps I would take.  I just know it is past about time for me to woman up.  Maybe I didn't come up with a plan, because I had also decided that I wasn't going to do my usual 1, 2, 3, A, B, C list of goals/aspirations/resolutions, whatever you want to call it.

On Wednesday I shared about how I have a "stick-to-it-iveness" that I can credit my parents for.  In fact, my personal mantra could be "Never say never, never say die, never, ever quit, just keep on."  There's a runner's message board that I participate in and my signature for that board is "Just Keep Running" which is the mantra I've used in every single marathon I've participated in.  If you just keep running, you make it to the end, no matter what.

So while I have not had the quick success I would have liked to with weight loss, I have never quite given up.  Thank goodness because God only knows what size I would be by now if I had.  Long time followers will remember the many rants I've posted about my thyroid.  It is so freaking frustrating that I work so hard to have only minimal results.  Yet, do I really work hard enough?  Additionally, for the last couple of years it seemed like there was always something setting me back - the latest thing being my athletic injury that is making it hard for me to exercise as vigourously as I would like.  While I do not intend for 2011 The Year of Helen to be strictly about my weight, I've got to address this weight issue. Like it or not, it holds me back in many ways. 

So how do I translate my stick-to-it-iveness into kindness and caring enough for my body that I get some weight loss results?  To be honest, I had no idea. Then as I was perusing blogs I ran across two that sent my head into a spin and made me realize what my first step can be.

First, I read this post by Anne, "frustration tolerance".  Anne is giving up Monster drinks and she shared that she did not wait until the last drop was gone and in fact, still has some in the house.  But she still likes them and wants to have them. She is in the process of tolerating her frustration over the fact that she shouldn't drink them.  She is willing herself into doing what she knows is best for her body.

Then I read MizFit's blog on Willpower vs. Willingness and this statement really stuck out: "Are you, as I am, simply willing to do what it takes to reach your goal/achieve your personal mission statement because it’s just that IMPORTANT TO YOU?"

Which made me think... is it possible that Willpower and Willingness
are different sides of the same coin?

When it comes to running, I have a high level of frustration tolerance, no doubt about it.  When I first started running, I literally willed my legs to keep going.  Over the years of running, through all sorts of weather and all sorts of injuries, I have willed myself to keep going.  But was it willpower or willingness?  I believe at first it was willpower.  Now, I know it is willingness to do whatever I need to, to achieve what I want, because I've seen the positive effects and benefits running has brought to me.  So just like a coin with its head and tail, my running coin flipped from willpower to willingness.

Lightbulb moment?  Take the lessons I've learned from being a late in life runner and run with them to meet other goals (including but not exclusively weight loss) and make 2011 The Year of Helen.

Willpower + Stick-to-It-Iveness = Results = Willingness = GOAL MET



  1. Love it all. And also that you're resisting your usual methodical listing/itemization in favor of reflection. Planning is one thing - we have to do that, and establish some guidelines. But also staying open to how each day and effort plays out...if something isn't working out legitimately then we don't need to bang our heads against walls forcing results when there may be other paths. Not as a cop out (I said legitimately not working out) but as a bridge to flexibility and going with the flow.

    It'll be fun watching how it plays out for you - I predict success, but who knows what that will look like?

  2. Good thoughts.

    I have that feeling about making to my actual weight number goal. I seem unable to quite get there for some reason. I think it is more unwillingness on my part than anything else. I have an inner 5 year old that I listen to more than I should.

  3. Great post Helen! I know I haven't been working hard enough and spent the last year playing around. There's no other way of saying it for me.
    I'm with you on making next year a much better year. I'm going to hit the big 50 in September and I've been trying to get to my goal since I started this in 2009 (or was it 2008?... sheesh) - hence the name of my blog - fitnhealthybyfifty - ha, I'm pretty fit and healthy but I still weigh WAY TOO MUCH :) nufs enuf

  4. Miz's post really got me thinking too:)

  5. Well said. Interesting thoughts.

    I am willing to do whatever it takes to reach my goals. The only thing holding me back As I always ask my kids when they are ready to quit or give up: "decide now how much it is worth to you. If it's worth it, you'll do whatever it takes."
    The excuse of "I don't have time" for something (exercise, etc) doesn't cut it either because we always make time for what's truly important to us.
    Ready to welcome 2011 with open arms with ya. Here's to a happy and successful new year.

  6. lovelovelove this.

    you are wise.
    I need to unplug and sit and focus on what I want and am willing to do in the next 365.


  7. Interesting post, while reading it it made me think. I've set my goals for 2011 and I look forward to trying to achieve them. Tomorrow I'm going to post my results for 2010 and I can already say it's been a success. If I can continue this in 2011 I'm satisfied, if I can do better I would be happier. So I'm going to give it a try.

    And I will do anything I can to help you make 2011 the year of Helen. I look forward to following you next year.

  8. I predict 2011 will be a magical year for you - in many different ways. :) Glad you plan on taking us along for the ride!

  9. what a great post Helen! I need to step back and start thinking of myself. I love my children to death but it in 2011 I really need to take some time for myself and my health. I look forward to next year and I look forward to reading about your journey as well!

  10. Thanks for sharing your light bulb moments. That is brilliant!

  11. Sounds like this is going to be the Year of Helen, I need to make it the year of Ron too!!! Great post!

  12. Thanks for entering my life in 2010! I look forward to much more in 2011

  13. I loved reading this post - it's inspired me to just make each day the best it can be. You should be so proud of yourself Helen - you've had a rough 18 months, and I wish you nothing by health and happiness in 2011!


  14. I absolutley will!!! You know; I've never thought about the willingness side of the coin. You're right; I do have to be willing to do what is necessary to be come fit Corletta! Thanks for the reminder!

  15. Happy New Year - the Year of You!

  16. I am SO looking forward to the Year of Helen. You do have amazing determination and grit, and that translates both into willpower and willingness. You CAN do anything you set your mind to! Just believe in yourself, and stop discounting YOUR needs and allow yourself to go first sometimes, and you will get wherever you want to go.