Thursday, 29 May 2014

On reflection

The last year has gone by so quickly.  I find time always does fly by, but nothing compared to the last 12 months or so, I literally don't know where it has gone.

And it's been not just a very fast year, but a very busy year, full of newness and change.  Fast change, but change that felt so painfully slow at the same time somehow.  I don't know how that works, but that's just how it felt.

It's been a relentless year of ridiculously hard work.  It's been hard for many and often unexpected reasons. Harder than I expected in some ways, but easier in others.

It's been uncomfortable and challenging and at times made me question my sanity. 

But worth it.

And this is only the beginning.

Yet as I approach July, two programs I embarked on at the same time are drawing to an end and, as part of the process, both are calling on an element of reflection, a moment to look back and consider the progress made, the changes, the journey and the next steps.

Anybody who knows me will know that one of these areas is of course the on the job teacher training I started last September.  But very few people know that at roughly the same time I signed up for a 12 month online fitness coaching program as well.  Which might not sound very significant, but it was more than a fitness program, it has been a proper, full blown soul searching, sort your life out inside and out coaching program.  So as well as 6 trips to the gym each week there's also been fortnightly habits to learn and daily lessons to complete, tantrums to be had and all sorts.  On top of learning to become a teacher, planning, completing my assignments etc etc.

So yes, it's been busy.  And having not blogged about either of these things at all, I now feel like I have about 800 posts swirling about in my brain desperate to come out.

For now though, on the subject of reflection, I can't help but notice how different my reactions to both courses seems to be.  

From a teaching point of view: I know I'm only just starting out, I know I have loads left to learn and to experience but I am super proud of how well I'm doing so far and know I have loads of potential to be a really great teacher over time.  Sometimes I catch myself berating myself for not being better yet, for not knowing it all yet...but mostly I am very forgiving of myself, I'm not too hard on myself.  I am still a perfectionist and practically kill myself trying to do the best lesson ever in the whole world for every observation and then get frustrated afterwards with all the ways it could have been better...but that's just because I really want to do the best job I possibly can at this and because I'm just a very reflective person always wanting to learn and improve for next time. Exhausting way to be, but that's me.  On balance, my overriding sense at the end of this course is achievement, pride, excitement and hope for the future.

However, when it comes to the online coaching side of things, the same feelings are there but totally skewed in the other direction.  I have glimpses of pride, of feeling strong, of recognising my progress, of revelling in how much I can lift now compared to a year ago, but there's a bigger part of me that says I haven't done enough. I haven't made as much progress as I wanted. I'm not as strong as I wanted. I can't lift as much as I wanted. I haven't lost as much weight as I wanted. I don't look as good as I wanted.  The results have been amazing.  But not as amazing as I wanted.  Which is just ridiculous because actually, the results have been awesome (it's an American program, it's compulsory to say things like 'awesome') body is a whopping 50cm smaller than it was last July, nearly 20cm of that from my waist.  What's not to love about that!?

It seems to me that I see my teaching thing as something I am doing, but the other is still more intimately linked with who I think I am...uh oh, issues alert.

This is interesting to me.  It throws up several questions:  Did I just want too much?  Were my expectations too high? Undoubtedly yes.  Did I actually give it my all and follow all the lessons to the tee?  No, not really.  I especially had a massive blip in March that I'm only just starting to claw my way back out of.  Does that matter?  Does that make me lazy and useless?  Well, actually, no.  It makes me human.  It shows me that actually this past year I've had a ridiculous amount of stuff going on and at times some of the other stuff just had to take priority.  Am I scared of what happens next when the program comes to an end? Yes.  Do I still have issues around my self image and especially body image?  Clearly...or I would be just as proud of my transformation there as I am of my journey towards becoming a teacher.   

But I'm getting there.

And I think my reaction to this reaction says the most about how far I've come.  Am I going to say oh sod it then and disappear into an ice cream fuelled misery fest?  Nope.  That's what the old me would have done. The new me puts her pink trainers on and gets back into the gym, lifts heavier than last time and keeps on going.  The new me realises you just can't control the results, but you can control the decisions you make and the actions you take. Keep taking those actions and the results will come.

So if that's what I can control, actually, that's what I should be measuring progress on...hard work, good decision making, not my warped view of the end result...there is no end result anyway, it's a lifelong process.

And there's where my two courses collide.

In teaching you're taught to promote and congratulate good decision making in order to effect behavioural change. You're taught to praise the process not the outcome..."oh you've worked so hard on that and kept on going when it got difficult" versus "gosh, what a pretty picture". You're taught to refer to behaviour as just that, not an inherent part of the person..."do you think that was a kind thing to do?" as opposed to "you're so naughty".  I know that, I do it all the time with the children.

But perhaps it's about time I learnt to do it with myself as well.

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