Last week, we had a birthday celebration for mi abuela (grandmother). Most of those in attendance were vaccinated, no one had been sick or tested positive for some time before, still wore masks, and tried to keep a level of distancing between everyone. We had, for obvious reasons, not celebrated last year, and she really wanted to have something for this year. Less family in attendance and her being vaccinated was the compromise we came to. Basically, it was a small gathering with family I had not seen for several years.

Unsurprisingly, the first topic of conversation and approach my family took with me was commenting on my weight loss. Now, none of the questions or comments were mean-spirited or ill stated or harmful. Frankly, I expected it to be a topic of conversation because I have lost a significant amount of weight since most of them had last seen me. And, to be fair, it has usually been the first thing mentioned when meeting with people who I have not seen for some time. It’s natural that people would notice and discuss an obvious change. Pretty sure I could find some articles or studies about how it’s a biological, evolutionary trait, so not really a big deal for me when people comment on it; at least, not anymore.

And, that was the biggest surprise for me: the lack of issue. With other attempts to lose weight and regulate my health, comments on my progress would send me into a bit of a tailspin. Whether positive or negative, I would start to question what I was doing or how I was doing and would eventually fall off the wagon and just stop progressing, usually regressing. Obviously, other people’s opinions are not the reason why I ultimately failed in my goals. The blame for that lies at my feet, but these stimuli didn’t help in that process. This time around, however, I just took acknowledged their compliments, answered their questions, took any other comments in stride and moved on with the conversation. No fuss, no muss.

I am not sure what is different this time, but I think a large part of it is that I have internalized a lot of my motivation and process. Maybe it’s partially because I have not had to deal with outside influences as much during the ongoing pandemic, but eating well, working out, and simply being more cognizant of my body has become a habit more so than something I have to actually consider. There are still moments where I have to actively choose not to go for a slice of cake or bag of Skittles (Wild Berry is still top tier junk food), but, for the most part, it is no longer an obstacle for me and not something I think about.

Yet, this has only become second nature for the working out and adjusted diet to the point where I feel off if I don’t do something active in the day or stray to far off from newer eating habits. On the other hand, I still struggle with completing and working on other goals like this website or my reading goals or creative pursuits. It is infuriating at times, but my grandmother’s birthday party might have provided some insight. As much as the commentary didn’t affect me, it was still validating to get recognition of my progress and change. With the weight loss, I have had external evidence of my choices the entire time. Clothes that were tight are now loose. My stamina has improved greatly. My sleep is so much better and restful. I am far less tired during the day. I see and feel my muscles growing. So, even though I have internalized a lot of the motivation and reasons for these choices and changes, I had had evidence of their benefit to witness and acknowledge. Not so much for my other goals.

There is not really a way to gauge if I have grown more mindful or spiritual or have achieved a better sense of self as there is with physical activity and change, or one that is as easy to measure. I can see the books I have read, but have they helped expand my perspective or improve in some way? I have listened to differing views and perspectives from a wide array of voices, but have I truly learned or gleamed anything from them? I am realizing that it is harder for me to internalized these concepts because of the lack of concrete evidence of their usefulness. I am not saying that they are not useful; simply stating that it is harder to be motivated for something that doesn’t have concrete, physical markers to reinforce the chosen actions. Or maybe it’s just me that has trouble with motivation in this manner?

In the end, just like with previous failings, the actual outcome will ultimately depend on me and my choices. I will have to figure out a way to motivate myself and make the necessary changes to fulfill my goals or move on from them. Either way, it’s all a matter of figuring out how to

-Be Better.

P.S. if anyone has suggestions on how to be better motivated and fulfill creative, long term endeavors, please feel free to drop some in the comments. Would love to get some ideas.

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