I had high hopes for the month of August.
August is my birthday month, and usually because of that I normally get a touch of the “fresh start” vibes that typically light up the new year for me. It’s usually a month of big emotions because birthdays make me existential and a little bit weepy, but all in all, August is usually a month of big productivity and lots of check marked goals.
This August… was not that.
The month was such a blur that I actually had to pull up a calendar before I started this review to remember WTF actually happened. I think a past version of me would have avoided reviewing August all together, and dismissed it as an unusual or chaotic month, but if there’s anything I’ve learned by reviewing each month of the year so far, it’s that I’m ALWAYS learning – and practicing what I preach and what we encourage Alliance Coaching clients to do (reviewing, frequently, with compassion & curiosity) is something that is not only important to me, but seriously benefits me as much as it does our clients.
As always, let’s start with the data that I have, no matter how limited it might be:
- I completed 5 workouts in the month of August.
- I have record of waking up before 7am on 4 days of the month
- I don’t have data on walks or tidiness
- I drank a gallon of water on 16 days of the month
And to review, here were my goals for the month of August:
- Workout a total of 12+ days
- Pursue Peace
- Complete core four on 28 days
To be honest, I look at the comparison between those two things and I can’t help but giggle a little bit.
This was NOT the month I thought it was going to be… and while a past version of me would have been FILLED with shame seeing that data, the work I have done with my own mind management and behavior change allows me to laugh a little bit at the situation, and sigh, and then dive curiously into what went “wrong” this month.
Let’s dive, shall we?
First, some context: On the first Thursday of the month, August 4th, I had a really terrible night of sleep because of some italian food that I ate which did not sit well with me. I spent the entire day on Friday in bed until around 6pm, when I frantically packed & left for a family reunion at my mom’s house in Pennsylvania.
While at the reunion, I picked up some virus like situation that was not COVID but certainly turned out to be awful. I haven’t felt that sick in YEARS, and I was pretty much in bed, down for the count from when we returned Monday until that Friday, August 12th.
I remember on that Saturday thinking to myself — I need to reset. I need to get everything in order so I can have the best week ever and have a new clean slate and get back on the wagon after being sick.
And looking back, I think THAT is the moment where I went wrong.
Instead of a compassionate, realistic re-entry plan which took my wacky sleep schedule into account, I over-committed to being “fully back on track” in the span of 24 hours. This was ESPECIALLY unrealistic considering that my habits, routines, and circadian rhythm had been derailed from being sick, and I was entering the week of my giant birthday sale which, albeit fully of joy, was also full of stress.
Here’s a reminder for you: Intense moments of joy can be as mentally & physically taxing as intense moments of stress or sadness.
The week of my birthday was exciting and fun and filled with gratitude — but it was also a LOT of stress. The constant slack notifications coming in indicating that people had purchased things from our sales were spike after spike of dopamine for my brain, and so OF COURSE, that messed with my brain chemistry a bit.
And, predictably, the next week was the post-birthday slump.
I spent the week of August 22nd going through the motions, feeling the lack of energy and self-regulation capacity but too stuck in my head to work myself out of it. On top of that, it was period week… cue LOTS of crying.
Reminder: We cannot expect to self-regulate our behavior… if we’re not supporting the systems in our brain that CREATE self-regulation.
Looking back, it doesn’t surprise me that I was procrasti-scrolling, skipping the gym, sleeping in, and generally feeling totally funky…
My sleep schedule was wack & my brain wasn’t getting consistent or helpful fuel (food).
I’m reminded in this moment that for me, the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR that allows me to feel my best self is getting to bed before 11pm and waking up before 8am. That’s it. The end. Trying to change my behavior and “restart” without that is like trying to get a car to drive uphill without any gas. It will not work. Period.
Not-so-coincidentally, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend.
And after two nights of back to back sleep routine, voila! A miracle! I’ve clicked back into gear, I’ve gotten two workouts done, I’m walking and tidying and eating protein and drinking water just like I know that I’m COMPLETELY CAPABLE of doing.
We can make our past behavior into drama, or we can make it into a kind & caring reminder.
Consider me reminded, body. <3
Okay, so…. what’s next?
September is just around the corner, and given the month of August was hard on me, I’m scaling back and focusing on ONE thing:
GOAL #1: Wake up every day before 7am.
That’s it. That’s all.
And just as a reminder, setting ONE goal doesn’t mean you CANNOT do anything else. Lots of you have SO much resistance to focusing on ONE thing because you think that if you don’t focus on all 8 habits you think you need, they won’t happen.
First of all… they haven’t been happening when you WERE focusing on all 8… so maybe it’s time to try a different approach?
And second of all… focusing on being up by 7am DOES NOT mean I’m going to stop doing my core four. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop tidying or quit walking or not workout this month at all.
It simply means that I’m deciding ahead of time what the SINGULAR priority is for my brain.
And that is going to help my brain make the decisions it needs to make this month. (And I guarantee, it’s going to help everything else happen, too).
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tiny glimpse into my brain.
And if you did, and you’re curious about developing your OWN protocols, self-awareness, mind-management and self-compassion skills, just a reminder that we do have client spots open in Alliance Coaching.
We’re actually running a special in the month of September – you’ll be able to make a 6-month commitment (or pay in full for 3 months) and get coaching at a 10-15% discounted price. (You can go ahead and apply now, if you’ve been waiting – we are ready for ya).
Reminder: Developing a kind, compassionate, and supportive self-coaching “voice” (like the one I’m writing with here) takes time. (6 months is a good start).
But I can promise you — it will fundamentally change your life.