Bloom where you grow–then take over the whole yard!
Be Like a Dandelion.
If you’re in the military, you’re probably aware that April is the Month of the Military Child. If you’re not in the military or affiliated in some way with the military, you just learned something new!
Throughout the month of April, different memes dedicated to military children circulate through social media, many of them featuring a dandelion. The dandelion is the flower of the military child–and for good reason.
Dandelions, among other things, are tenacious. Tenacious might actually be too gentle a word to describe them, actually!
Have you ever tried to rid your lawn or garden of dandelions? Each spring, it’s a war in my little backyard, and I hate to admit it, but the dandelions are slowly winning…because of their tenacity.
Dandelions just don’t quit.
Despite the war I’m waging against them, I really admire dandelions. They grow wherever they’re planted, they reach for the sun tirelessly, they spread what they have to offer prolifically, and they never stop trying to come back.
So what the heck does this have to do with fitness??
One of the challenges we often face where our fitness is concerned is not being tenacious enough when things aren’t easy.
A kid gets sick. We get sick. Our schedule changes. Work becomes more demanding. There’s a crisis in the family. We develop an injury. Our workout buddy moves away. WE move away. All of these events can happen, or have happened, at some point, and they can really knock us out of our workout habits and practices. A short break becomes a longer break, and pretty soon we’re so far ‘off track,’ we don’t know how or feel we have the will to find our way to get back ‘on track.’
This is where being like a dandelion comes in.
This is where developing and maintaining tenacity
The main reason I wrote ‘Your Plan B Playbook’ was to create a tool by which others could develop and foster their own tenacity.
Being an Army spouse, now living overseas, has presented me over the years with a slew of challenges. In the early years of being married to the Army, these challenges DID knock me off track–and that made me sad, angry, resentful, hopeless, and generally feeling like a failure. I could not see a way out of my situation or any alternative by which to reach my health/fitness/weight loss goals.
Then I took a nasty fall from a friend’s cranky barrel racing horse. Well, the fall wasn’t so bad–it was kind of a graceful dismount actually–but the landing messed me up. I landed full PLF-style on my right side on some very hard Louisiana clay, causing trauma to my lumbar spine, both SI joints in my pelvis, and two broken ribs.
In the weeks and months after that accident, I had to decide whether I was going to live as an injured and inhibited person, keep taking painkillers and buying into the belief that I was ‘broken,’ or do what it took to get better, to get stronger.
It took a year of physical therapy and diligent work with a personal trainer, but I did get better–and stronger, and more resilient.
Tenacity is defined as being ‘persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.’
But how do we get or develop tenacity when we feel like we’re on the ropes?
Over time, I’ve found three things that help develop and foster tenacity on the fitness front.
1. Have a backup plan (or multiple backup plans!) ready to go.
‘Your Plan B Playbook’ was born out of a need to have a backup workout options ready to go for all those times where one of my kids was suddenly ill, my husband was deployed, or other life circumstances messed with my plan A workout. Knowing I had a plan b, c, d, e and even f ready to go alleviated a ton of stress and kept me consistent with my workouts. Being able to workout despite unpleasant circumstances also helped me cultivate tenacity through self-confidence: every time I got that workout in during a challenging time it made me more confident I was capable of continuing on and doing it again the next time things got challenging.
” The more I accomplish, the more I know I’m capable of accomplishing.”~ Tawny Lara
2. Be a part of a ‘tribe.’
Being a part of something bigger than yourself can bolster your will and determination when you’d rather just skip a day or quit.
Social media offers a way to find and connect with like-minded people who can serve as a support network or accountability group. Recruiting friends on Facebook to be a part of an ‘exercise tribe’ with similar goals or lifestyles can be a great help–you’re there to both encourage others when they need it, and they’re there for you when you need a pep talk or a kick in the pants 🙂 Having a workout community can be the difference between ‘I give up’ and ‘I can do this.’
3. Dedicate your workouts.
When you don’t feel like working out or going for a run, dedicate that sweat session to someone.
I started doing this in 2011, but only privately–as in my own head, not through any official organizations. I often choose to dedicate that workout to either those who have passed or those who would love to get up and move, but can’t. It changes I ‘have to workout’ into ‘I get to workout.’
There are many different organizations where you can connect with a cause or an individual and dedicate your miles/sweat sessions to them, such as IRun4 . Or you can create your own dedications and even wear them, such as with grace bands.
When you struggle to get out the door, or into your workout clothes or to the gym, take a moment and dedicate your workout to someone who can’t. It may change your ‘task’ into an experience of gratitude and appreciation.
Be like a dandelion.
Every year, as they consume more of my grass, I admire dandelions a little bit more.
And I strive to emulate them–to be tenacious, to grow where I’m planted, to seek the sunshine and stand tall, and to spread what I have to offer prolifically.
When you’re struggling, or someone near to you is struggling, scrounge up that tenacity…and be like a dandelion.
Those things don’t quit.
Talk to you soon,