Creating a New Normal

I've had this conversation a few times in the last few weeks and felt like it made a good broader discussion. It came up because last month I rejoined Instagram and of course, friends soon started recommending the funny meme pages that I needed to follow.

I won't lie, some of them are pretty funny. But what I realized very quickly is how all of this tries to normalize self destructive behaviors such procrastination, excessive over eating, binge drinking, being late, poor sleep habits, etc.

I saw it mirrored in the behaviors of some people I care about, a friend of mine joking that that he is overweight and yet persists in overeating. A joke as if it is funny that obesity as we age is funny - when he has a family depending on him. Followed up with a funny meme or two, he thinks he has normalized a situation that deep down depresses him.

However, aside from the funny meme pages, I also started following a few highly successful entrepreneurs and a dozen or so incredibly fit individuals who eat and exercise well. Seeing these people play their lives out on social media - lives that more directly coincide with my personal goals - has normalized a lifestyle that is more challenging and rewarding.

These folks get up at 4am or 5am for their morning workouts - making my 5am workout seem ordinary rather than extraordinary. They measure their portions, ensure they are eating enough protein, watch their sugar intake, share delicious and yet healthful meals they are eating - making the fact that I have been counting my calories for years seem the norm, an expectation, rather than something over the top.

They mostly all completely cut out alcohol consumption because it directly opposes their health goals, making the fact that I also do not drink alcohol at all seem very normal.

These are folks who wake up early with a plan, execute hard all day, see progress and earn their sleep at night. By the way, they all shoot for at least 7 hour, because sleep is important for high achieving people. And my husband has long joked that I'm the only adult he knows with a bedtime.

This is important. We need to surround ourselves in our personal lives and in the material we consume with things that reflect back to us the lifestyle we need to achieve our goals. For example, my sister runs everyday, she makes fitness a priority. Makes my daily workouts seem far less outstanding and a lot more expected when I align myself with her.

I don't want to hang around with people who think that I am "amazing" or "super human" because I wake up ready to go, never procrastinate, eat properly, or exercise vigorously. These people, in a very unintended way, are taking what I do and making it seem weird. They are not pushing me forward. They are in a way implying that compared to the average person I am abnormal and I should just tone it down a bit.

But I am creating a new normal for myself, where it is not at all weird that I know what my macro nutrients are today, or that I woke up at 4:45am and drank a liter of water while putting 5 miles in on the elliptical before work. Or that it is weird that I love my job and focus hard on it, my sister is my best example here as she is outstanding at what she does.

All my life, any time I have excelled or put in the effort I have been rejected or name called by the "masses" (aka classmates, coworkers, acquaintances) for being "a keener" or putting forth too much effort toward excellence, and I have been surrounded by people who's normal is mediocrity. But I realize now I feel sorry for those people. I was born for more than mediocrity, and I have begun surrounding myself more often with people for whom excellence is normal, and I believe this is something we all need to do.

I want to inspire others, but I also want to be inspired and encouraged, because I have a long way to go to reach my goals. Creating a new normal will help me with that.

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