June 20, 2011

Fresh Starts!

Image: Plan59

Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Helloooo... Um, is anyone still out there?

I'm thinking it's a long shot, what with my semi-abandoning the blog and all. But on the off chance there might be a few old friends and followers still lurking out there, I thought it was about time for a new post. (And if you hang in there, or skip straight down to the end, you'll find out the sneaky secret mission behind this post. You may even score a semi-valuable service for free!) But, putting hidden agendas aside: let's talk about: Starting All Over Again, Damnit.

(Hmm, SAOAD isn't a very catchy acronym, is it? I don't envision going viral with handy SAOAD tips. And sadly, "Fresh Starts" sounds too much like a fruit-flavored laxative or a meth rehab clinic).

So... have you ever worked really hard at something, gained a lot of ground, and then for whatever reason, found yourself right back at the beginning again? Perhaps you lost 30 pounds, hooray! And then gained back 45 pounds, not-so-hooray! Or maybe you took a job at a big company and worked your ass off for decades, gaining massive expertise, taking on more and more responsibility, until management finally recognized your enormous contributions by shipping your job offshore and laying you off.

There are lots of reasons for having to Start All Over Again, Damnit, and many possible happy outcomes. Haven't we all heard the stories about people who were plucky and they never gave up finally one day they invented gravity or became invisible or dug a hole clear to China with their bare hands? (OK, so maybe not those stories exactly).

The problem? If you're an over-thinker like me, you may have to deal with a couple of stubborn mental obstacles in order to get from Starting Over Again Damnit to Happy Outcome.

1. Shoulds and Shouldn'ts
These are potent de-motivators in any situation, but they're particularly tough to avoid when you're trying to accomplish a goal that you've already achieved.  "I shouldn't have to go through this again, I already did it once!" "I shouldn't have to respond to 500 job postings to get one measly interview, last time I landed a great job at the first place I applied!" Or, "WTF? I've been starving myself and working out like a maniac, and I've only lost 5 pounds--I should be WAY thinner by now!"

Thing is, an aggrieved attitude, even if perfectly justified, is rarely helpful. (And this is coming from someone who has studied and perfected whining as an art form). Sure, sometimes it's great to vent and commiserate with others. But at some point, it's worth shaking off the self-pity and trying to deal with sucky reality in a constructive way.

Hey, here's a happy thought: people all over the world are being tortured or are dying of horrible diseases or are suffering from actual, not self-imposed, starvation. If you're not one of them, do you really want to spend much time pondering what "should" and "shouldn't" be happening to you? Chances are there lots of things you are grateful for, and plenty of accomplishments you are proud of, and even some silver linings to your current unwelcome situation. And so if you can catch yourself descending into a cycle of "this shouldn't be," try thinking: is there anything good that might come of this? Am I learning and accomplishing anything different, or deeper, the second time around? And if you can't find anything at all to celebrate, are there any other ways in which you're still a pretty darn lucky person?

2. Been-Down-This-Road-Before Buzz-kill

It may be hard to recapture the innocent enthusiasm you had about your goals a second time around. You got there! You ran that marathon! You wrote that novel! You met the perfect person and found the perfect house and started the perfect family!  But then maybe you got injured, or your masterpiece was roundly rejected, or your scumbag husband squandered your life savings at the racetrack and ran off to Albuquerque with a cocktail waitress. Now how are you ever supposed to feel that same sense of drive and motivation to achieve your dreams, knowing that you did it all before and yet here you are back at the starting line again? It can be easy to sabotage yourself with an unconscious "what's the use" defeatism, even as you are going through the motions of working towards your goal.

Well, here's one idea: make it a slightly different goal.  Make it bigger, or broader, or more meaningful.  Or, hey, remind yourself that "it's all about the journey, not the destination." (Which, while it's a tedious cliche, is actually kinda good advice.) For example, that marathon?  Perhaps it could be a triathlon. Or it could be about being in the best shape of your life, and still enjoying most every run or workout.  That new job? Perhaps it won't be the same as your old job. It may be that in discovering new priorities, you're now looking for a better job: one that may not pay as much money, but is more creative or satisfying.  Those 45 pounds you gained? Maybe they're not about the scale anymore, so much as regaining your strength and vitality.

So Why All this Talk of Starting Over?

Well, as you may have guessed, I'm currently in "Start Over" mode myself, on several fronts. Physically, I'm only recently back to weight training, after a hysterectomy and a broken elbow. I'm trying hard not get discouraged at the huge amount of ground I need to cover to get back to where I was last fall.  (One goal on turning 50 was to be able to do an unassisted pull-up, and I got to FOUR!  Now, I can only hang from the bar helplessly like a 125 pound sack of very, very sad potatoes).

And another way I'm starting over?  Well, here's where we get to the "hidden agenda" part.  Before I became a lazy ill-tempered health and fitness blogger, I was a licensed psychotherapist with a practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Sadly, it's not really possible to live in two different states and maintain a psychotherapy practice.  But a Life and Wellness coach?  Much more portable!  The field of life coaching has its origins in executive coaching, and unlike therapy, is typically done at a distance over the phone.  And now, with Skype and email etc, a long-distance coaching relationship is even more feasible.  Plus, huge bonus: coaching, because it isn't therapy, will let me work with mentally healthy folks who don't need "fixing," but who want to focus energy on making their lives better.

The upshot:  I've retrained as a Life and Wellness coach, and I'm starting up a coaching practice. And I'm hoping to use Cranky Fitness to pimp for it! 

And so what does this mean for former Cranky Fitness readers?

1. More frequent Cranky Fitness blog posts.  Nah, not daily, but maybe once every week or two, not just a few times a year.

2. The same 'ol Crabby McSlacker, complete with swear words and whining.  Are life coaches allowed to be cranky, skeptical, irreverent, and even, on occasion, clueless?  Or do they have to be relentlessly well-informed and upbeat?  I shall find out, I guess!

3.  A blog that will shamelessly direct readers over to my life coaching website.  There will be ads for "Live a Little" Life and Wellness Coaching.  Also, Cranky Fitness blog posts may start with just a teaser here, and then end up over at my life & wellness coaching website, because I'm sneaky that way. And say, did you notice the annoying way I stuck in keyword links?  Expect a lot more of that sh#t.

Due to a way heavier volume of responses than I counted on, I'm afraid I have no more free slots right now.  But check this updated post if you're interested in heavily discounted life coaching after the first round. So sorry!!!! And thanks to all who commented or offered to be guinea pigs!

4. Discounted or maybe even FREE life coaching for CrankyFitness readers!  I figure if you've read this far, you're probably someone who is Cranky-Fitness-compatible, not some weirdo googling in hoping to find a colon cleansing cure that will magically eliminate 25 pounds by Thursday.

Here's the deal:  I'm trained, qualified, and ready to start life coaching, but I'm brand spankin' new at it and need some "beta" clients to work out the kinks before I officially open for business.  Ideally I'd like to find some easy-going, patient, highly motivated clients who are ready to make some changes in life, but feel like they'd have a better shot with a personal coach to bat things around with.  (And if the whole notion of Life Coaching sounds weird and confusing, check out "What is Life Coaching?" for some thoughts on that).

So, is anyone interested in an intake session plus four free life coaching sessions?  (Further sessions would be deeply discounted off normal rates if there were any interest in continuing).   Note: There's no guarantee we'll be compatible, so I'd reserve the right after our intake to refer you elsewhere if I didn't think we were a good match).  I'm also hoping to find some clients willing to do sessions by Skype or email too, not just by telephone.

Curious? Or just wanna be nice and check out my website and give me some feedback? It's at www.livealittlecoaching.com.  Email me here or there if you're interested in the possibility of some free coaching.

So, back to the topic of  "starting over "--anyone have any thoughts? Frustrating experiences, inspiring stories, or just wanna say hi?  I'd love to hear from you!


  1. Welcome back, Crabby and best of luck to you in your new endeavor. It sounds very interesting and if I ever figure out Skype, (probably post-summer) I may just put my hand up one day and say "pick me, please!" It sounds like a truly great idea and I wish you much success.

  2. Crabby, great to read you again. Your new work sounds wonderful. Best of everything for you with it.

  3. Wonderful to see you back, Crabby!

    Pick me, pick me! (jumping up and down and waving chubby hand) Oh, wait, you said life coaching, not reincarnation.....

  4. Crabby's Back!!! Great to see you. I'm looking forward to seeing more of you and your life coaching. I've missed having Cranky Fitness in my life. Welcome Back!

  5. You're a hoot! lol
    I wish you the best on your new endeavour. It sounds awesome. As for starting over... me too! I'm trying to get back on track with my life and my body starting today.

  6. Welcome back, Crabster. Good luck with the life coaching gig. I would let you practice on me, but I don't wanna make you pull all your hair out right from the start. ;)

  7. Don't be silly, no one with an RSS feed is ever truly lost!

    I'm not sure I qualify as a toe-in-the-pool beta client: I have that creative, less-remunerative job, and I've been desperately trying for fifteen months to find another so I won't lose my house. And I'm terribly horribly Upbeat! and Cheerful! about it.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  8. oh my gosh I woke up to a flat tire and thought my day was going to have tremendous suckage and then I see you post!! I'm excited for you & your new endeavors! I will be waiting patiently (more like on the edge of my chair) for the next post! Never can get enough of the Crabby! :) 5 exclamations in this comment #justsayin

  9. Just hi! (disqualified from life coaching under your mom-screwed-up clause.) Best of luck to you, and I look forward to more Crankiness in my life!

  10. of course you still have followers! hope you keep posting! dont worry about slight abandonment of the blog, i do it to mine all the time!!


  11. As solarity said, no one with an RSS feed can be permanently lost!

    I would also put my hand up & wave it about anxiously hoping to be chosen! I feel that I am mostly non-screwed up. :)

  12. Yay!!! So glad you're back. The life coaching sounds incredibally interesting. I have always wanted a job where I get to tell people just exactly why it is that they are wrong :) (or maybe that is exactly why I shouldn't be a life coach) Good luck in this newest chapter of Crabbiness!

  13. yay! welcome back! and if you need a guinea pig, sign me up! heading to your new page now!! :)

  14. Yay, Crabby's back! Awesomeness.

    Congratulations on your newly turned leaf. I'm definitely looking forward to approximately weekly as opposed to approximately annual posts. =) Also, yours is the only blog where I've entered to win a giveaway and actually won it, so I'm looking forward to more winning! j/k

    My life is actually pretty darned excellent right now (the sun even came out...in SF...in summer!), so I'm not sure I need life coaching. But if you're looking for people who are pretty much not messed up, I guess I qualify.

    Welcome back.

  15. Erm...I clicked the link to your site and my office NetNanny blocked it for "potentially damaging content." I'm not sure what's tripping the sensors (censors?) but just FYI. I can look from home, but if other NetNannys are similarly configured you might get blocked more than you care for...

  16. Went off to do some errands after posting, and look what lovely people stopped by! And is it just at Cranky Fitness, or are Canadians always overrepresented in the awesome-bloggers department? I could swear 2/3 of the folks here hail from up north. Thanks so much for the comments!

    I'm getting more emails re: free coaching than I expected, but will do my best to get back to folks with more details over the next day or two. Really appreciate everyone's support and interest!

  17. Hooray, you posted! Yes, i will continue to look out for your updates and posts.

    Congratulations on starting a business! It's tempting to think about, especially since i want to do something more with my life, but i'm not sure where to go. See how i vacillate? Maybe i need someone else to whip me into shape.

  18. Glad to see you are back Crabby. Best of luck with your new venture and I look forward to reading more.

  19. Welcome back Crabby! I have missed you.

    I am totally on board with the awesomeness that Canadians are!!!

    I can be a beta!!!

  20. I'm so glad you are back Cranky Princess! I've missed you! Reading the title of your post has been what I've been struggling with for a long time now. I fell off the wagon hard and not only gained back everything plus 20...now I'm in such a rut with work (despite also sending out tons of resumes and never getting interviews) and spending close to 400 bucks a month on gas...I sooo need the motivation to get back into working out, so I have SOMETHING to be happy about.

    If I could afford too, I'd totally pay you to by lifecoach...but since my father is currently on the "lecture" tour due to my paying my student loans late and causing his credit to be affected...I'm thinking no. HA!

    Welcome Back...

  21. What's up with only wanting non-screwed-up sane people to life coach....aren't they the ones who need it the least? And would give you the least amount of challenge/accomplishment?

    I totally disqualify according to your checklist of acceptable patients, which really sucks, because i could really use something to help me right now as I float along in a new, undefined life.

    I hope not all life coaches are as picky/lazy, and that I have a shot at finding a guide.

  22. Crabby - you are back!!!! Yahoo! I sure hope you are physically better soon! AND, I so can relate to the Corporate crap & starting over & all that good stuff. I am trying to find myself right now but I am NOT easy going! ;-)

    I am going to check out your site tomorrow & let you know if you should consider me for this beta client. I don't know what it entails until I read BUT I had to say HI when I saw your post pop up! I think of you every time I see a cupcake!

  23. What a wonderful way to end a crappy day -- a Cranky Fitness post! And timely, too. Only yesterday I was thinking the topic of why some people seem stuck in the win some, lose some scenario.

    I think you will make an Awesome life coach! See how many comments you already got? People love you! You have followers and minions galore :)

  24. Beautiful Fun Surprise! Wonderful to see this in my Feed tonight!

  25. I enjoyed looking your new site. Your humor shines through there as it does in your blog. The only thing missing is contact information!

    I'm in the paying rent and buying groceries camp, but best wishes for your success.

  26. Great to have you back! It always feels good to come back reinvented!!

  27. Welcome back!! It took me back a moment when I saw your coaching site with "Jan." But guess it wouldn't work to call yourself Crabby there. Hee. Good luck with the coaching. Your clients are lucky, indeed!

  28. Long time lurker, first time commenter.

    So glad to see you back. Best of luck with the new venture!


  29. I would be genuinely interested in the life coaching opportunity if you are still looking for guinea pigs. My email is nicole.f.jones@gmail.com

    I have always enjoyed your blog!

  30. This is a great idea for you. I know you're more than qualified and you've been giving us all advice for free thru your wonderful blog (for years). It's great to have a crabby post to read and admire; one that's so carefully thought-out and well written. Your offer to offer advice to guinea pigs is really kind.

    I visited your blog yesterday (both of them) and meant to leave a comment here but was prevented by confusion over whether I should volunteer to be a client. I also loved that you somehow wove into your post something about laxatives.

  31. Congratulations on your new endeavor! It sounds like a meaningful and fun way to get to work with great people, and make a real impact!

  32. Glad to see you back on the web, Crabby!!

  33. I just found you when Googling beginner weight loss routines? Rather fascinating that you would show up that way, but I am very happy that I did! Your sense of humor and cool way to approach real life is such a breath of not-so-polluted air. I am so looking forward to what you share with us readers/bloggers in cyber-world!

  34. Starting over sucks! I'm just recovering from an injury and while I don't THINK it set me back horribly I don't feel like certain exercises are where they were before...it's really frustrating. But, like you said, things could be a lot worse so maybe it's time to stop whining and just start over again already. :)


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