I’ve wanted to write this for a long time. Years actually. And it’s finally time. It’s time to practice what I preach and let you follow along on what may be my greatest personal transformation to date. I’m planning to lose roughly 70 lbs and ride two (because for some reason one wouldn’t be enough) 500-mile bicycle rides. And as a final coup de gras, I’d like to find a life partner too. Hell, while we’re at it, I could use an income of some sort.
Don’t judge. I had to work up to it.
This is a story about my personal transformation for 2023. And believe me when I say, it’s not my first rodeo (that’s what we say in the Midwest) when it comes to completely changing my life, overcoming obstacles, and basically, getting out of my own way. But this year, the goals are not only bigger than I’ve attempted for many, many years, I’m also announcing it to the world, which kind of, you know, scares the crap out of me.
How I Got Here
If you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll have ascertained that I left my corporate career a few years ago. I’m not wealthy nor do I have someone supporting me through this. I have been fortunate to have had a good career that allowed me to contribute quite a bit to 401Ks, etc. And before leaving my corporate job, I paid off all my debt and bought a small home in a rural town. Then I freelanced for a couple of years, lived well below my means, and I’ve been living off my savings and consulting. To provide perspective, I drive a car that is 15 years old and still runs great, and a truck that is 25 years old and awesome for hauling my dog around in. Article: Money Saving Hacks – 13 Tips to Get Out of Debt
Why did I leave that lucrative career?
I was burned out. In a big way. And knew I needed to rest and figure out what to do with the next stage of my life. Maybe it was a mid-life crisis. Or maybe I just needed a chance to breathe and was finally brave enough to quit worrying about surviving. I knew I needed to thrive again and honestly, I’ve been working my butt off (unfortunately, not in the literal sense) since I was 15 so, I think maybe I was just tired.
I also had this burning desire to create this content, this website. It felt like a life purpose to get the information I had spent my life learning out to as many people as possible.
Will I go back to working a corporate job? Maybe. If the right opportunity comes along.
Tools and Techniques I Used Along the Way
For two years I journaled, gardened, studied the words of those who had figured “it” out, and hiked 2 hours a day. I delved deep into my past and unearthed all the trauma I had compartmentalized. I knew something was stopping me from realizing my full potential but couldn’t figure out what it was. Keep in mind, that I’ve been studying and putting into practice everything I’ve learned for 30 years. By all outside accounts, I’ve had a successful career and life. And I’m not complaining. But something was missing and I didn’t know what.
I knew I wasn’t done yet. I wasn’t done living, contributing, or experiencing. Not only that, but something was holding me back from being the best I could be. I still had so much more to give to the world in the time I had left yet I wasn’t mentally in a place to give my best.
Intuitively I knew the only thing stopping me was me. But I couldn’t figure out why.
After two years of self-reflection, journaling, and problem-solving, I’m finally ready.
Wow, that took so much longer than I thought it would. I guess I was really tired.
My hope is not only to put into practice everything I teach but also to inspire you in some way that you can also make changes if that’s what you want to do.
Weight Loss Personal Transformation
While I’ve always been active, my weight has been an ongoing struggle. It seems every year I set a new goal that I haven’t hit. This makes no sense to me because I’m so goal-oriented! It stops me in so many ways. While I’m very confident professionally, it stops me on a personal level. And I’m tired of being stopped. My personal transformation isn’t so much about the weight loss as it is about me being my best self. I see it more from the perspective of I’m not showing up in the world as all I could be and I’m also hurting myself by creating an environment of unnecessary risk.
I know if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting the same results. Therefore, my strategy and approach this time are different. I’m going to listen to my body and treat it with love.
I can get very obsessive about scales so they will be used sparingly. Mostly, I’ll be gauging things by how I feel and how my clothes fit. The 70-lb. number listed at the beginning of this post is a generalization. I’ve got a general idea of a number I’d like to reach that is reasonable and healthy for my height but it’s about fitness and health more than a number.
The approach will be to do physical things that I love doing, riding my bike, hiking, and weight training. I’ll provide all the details as to the progress here in my updates.
I know the first step in this process has to do with my relationship with food. It’s not a healthy one.
Related: How I lost 40 lbs
Fitness Personal Transformation
I keep a list of 101 things to do before I die (a bucket list). It’s a goals list that I’ve kept up for almost 30 years. I review it at least once a year, and it is often modified based on life changes. Two of those items have to do with a long-distance bicycle ride.
Some 15+ years ago I started riding a bicycle and absolutely loved it. After months of training on my Wal-Mart special, I invested in an expensive road bike so I could complete a 100-mile race. That bike was a game-changer! At one point I was riding 20-30 miles a day. I can’t even describe how empowering that was!
Then life got in the way, I got divorced, gained weight, and the bicycle sat in the garage. . . and I never participated in that 100-mile race. I’ve been moving this bike with me from location to location for years. From time to time I might get it out and ride as far as 10 miles but that’s about it. Being overweight and out of shape is a vicious cycle. You begin to think you look ridiculous on a bicycle so you don’t ride. I even purchased a second bicycle – more of a comfort or mountain bike that I could ride around town.
And I have ridden that bike over the years too . . . around town.
The last time I rode 20 miles was in 2005, that’s almost 20 years ago.
So, I decided it was time. I’m not getting any younger. At roughly 70 lbs. overweight and 58 years old, I signed up for an 8-day bicycle ride across the state of Iowa. While my goal was a 100-mile bike ride, a big part of my personal transformation was getting out of my comfort zone in every way. This isn’t a race. It’s an event that requires riding from 55-100 miles each day. And it would include riding with 10,000 other people. Hell, I haven’t seen people in years! You can google the ride if interested – Ragbrai 2023.
Did I mention, camping each night?
Yeah, after riding 50-100 miles, I’m gonna lay this body down on the ground with 10,000 people I’ve never met, in a sleeping bag, and call that good.
Let’s be clear, I feel ill-equipped to do any of those things at the moment.
A personal transformation requires getting uncomfortable.
Article: Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
A Training Plan
As soon as I paid the entrance fee, my entire body shook with fear and I immediately started thinking about a training plan.
BTW, the image on this post is most certainly not me.
I texted a friend to see if she could keep my dog for that week and simply mentioned I’d be doing a bike ride. She asked if I was doing the Bike across Kansas.
Hmmmm, Bike Across Kansas (BAK)? I hadn’t thought about the Bike across Kansas and that might be a great way to help me get in shape for the Iowa ride. . . .
A simple Google search revealed the BAK happens a month before Ragbrai 2023, also lasts 8 days and so, what did I do? I paid that hefty entrance fee before I could chicken out.
And then I thought maybe I had lost my mind.
The kids will surely have me committed.
Almost the moment I hit the send button on my registrations, the panic started.
Was it too late to cancel?!
No, keep it together. You’ve got this. It’s time. It’s way past time.
I don’t know about you, but I have a voice in my head that I’m continually learning how to deal with so I told him to shut the hell up, and then I got busy.
It’s time for a strategy.
It’s February as I write this. The day after signing up for the BAK 2023, I took both my bikes into the bike shop and made sure they were in peak condition because I see a whole lot of training in my future. It was 35 degrees outside, and I had no appropriate attire to wear, but it was time to get busy.
Update: I feel like I’ve learned a lot about cycling in the past year and now have a gear list. If you are interested in riding a bicycle, you might check out My Favorite Bicycle Gear on My Amazon Store.
I haven’t slept very well in the past few days. Not from fear so much as excitement. I’m excited that I’m finally doing this! No more talking about it or reviewing it on a list but not taking any action.
Why This & Why Now
Since you’re still reading, allow me to tell you why this is so important.
If you want a different life (or a personal transformation), you have to do different things. You can’t do the same things and expect a different outcome. I think they call that “insanity.” I’ve been playing it very safe the past few years – hanging out in my little space, basically in hibernation, without any fear of anything. It’s a very cush life – nobody expects anything of me and I could sit here and eat cookies and ice cream for the rest of my life.
But that would not be living.
I wouldn’t be making good use of my time on earth nor would I be fulfilling my purpose.
It’s time to get back to living the life I’m supposed to be living. And I know my personal transformation requires doing different things.
Taking risks and challenging myself in any area of my life, results in more confidence to try things in other areas of my life. It’s all interconnected.
I’m ready. I’m ready for the next amazing stage of my life on earth.
Put me in coach.