Putting Yourself first, because you have to.

4 Apr

I had been getting hints here and there for the past few months that I have not been putting myself first.

You just have this feeling like something is off, something is out of balance with where you truly want to be.

I have chosen the Tough Mudder as my current goal.  I was super psyched (talking about past tense for time being) and really stoked to have a different type of goal, one that would require lots of hard training and some added cardio, the thing I had been avoiding for some time.  I’m not completely sure why I was avoiding it, but thought that I could get to my goal without doing all the sacrificing, dieting, two a days, extreme cardio, etc.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Me” update.  I think it’s very important, for me, to always be open to sharing my health goals and even my struggles with you because we’re all human and I’m just striving everyday to move forward, just like everyone else.

So it had been some time like I mentioned above that I did cardio and I finally hit a breaking point where I was not seeing progress in my body.  None like I used to see.  So I stopped and thought about what I was doing when I was seeing progress, aside from the dieting period in between the start and now.  I took myself back to my first year I dropped all the weight and realized I had been doing mostly cardio, (lots of stairmill) some weights and eating healthy but balanced, not crazy strict.  And in 8 months I had cuts in my obliques.  I truly believe if I would never have done my first competition, I would have kept moving forward in the right direction, but at the same time, this competition is what catapulted me to “want more” out of myself in this Industry and really, to realize my potential strength of character and that opportunities are MADE, created and worked for, not handed to.

So here I was the past 6 months, trying to recover from my string of dieting and lifting heavy and not performing any cardio!  I’m not quite sure what I was thinking except that I put myself on the back burner while I put my focus into my work.  I’m sure many people can relate to this, as it’s not uncommon.  It is, however, hard to grasp the fact that you have to begin a new Journey, one that puts emphasis on YOU, and will be taking some time away from other things.

In a nutshell, I’ve been struggling with losing weight and getting to where I want to get.  I have been in the frame of mind that results should be seen soon and then I’d try something new when one thing wasn’t working.  You know it’s funny because I’m so adament with my clients and students to ‘be patient’ and here I am, not taking my own advice, as if it doesn’t apply to me!  The truth is, I don’t treat myself like a student, and that’s the problem.  Lately, I’ve been really great at being resourceful, making connections, making things move forward with my business but honestly, have put myself and my own personal goals on the back burner, which ultimately go hand in hand with my business goals and really, only help strengthen other areas of my life, if I am happy in that area.  One of the biggest things I preach is about persistence and patience…..and well well well, lil me forgot to take my own advice!  They say teachers teach what they themselves need to learn.   Below I’ll tell you what my new path entails and what I’ve learned from this hiccup.

The past two years after the initial transformation stage, I developed some new practices…..not good or healthy, but things that came with the package and the move of competing and dieting.  But from these things, I found clarity and an understanding as to how I must move forward.

1.  Did I develop body image issues?   Yes.

2.  Did I tamper with my metabolism in a harmful way by dieting for too long?  Hell Yes!

3.  Did I create food allergies by eating chicken, egg whites, asparagus and tilapia way too much?  Yes.

4.  Did I ever want to give up?  Too many times to count on my hands.

5.  Did I ever give up?  Not once.

6.  Will I persevere forward and make it past this struggle?  Absolutely.

7.  Is it just a matter of working on my mindset and sticking to one thing and being patient?  110% YES.  This is all it comes down to people…..keeping it simple, eating fresh, healthy whole foods your body uses and desires for energy, putting the work in in the gym and building a strong character that will move you forward towards whatever you want in this life.

I BELIEVE IN SIGNS and I was running on the treadmill the other day, picked up a “Yoga Journal” and began reading to pass the arduous feeling of lifting my muscular legs and repeating thousands of times.  lol   I’m totally open here, running is my nemesis, but I’m open and working on making it mi amigo!

I found an interesting article that really moved me to realize what I need to begin practicing, day by day, in my move forward on this new path.  Here they are laid out:

1.  Solid Ground

    Whenever you undertake anything new, recognize that there is going to be some effort involved  (ding ding ding).  Realizing that what you are undertaking cannot be perfected overnight, that you have to commit over time to get lasting results you are happy with.

2.  It’s All About the Attitude

   An attitude of friendliness toward those who are happy, compassion toward those who are suffering, pleasure and delight at those who are doing good deeds in the world, and an attitude of non judgmental watchfulness toward those who do harmful deeds will help us to attain a peaceful and balanced mind.

3.  Core Strength

   We must cultivate self confidence and conviction to help us maintain our persistence and strength, and to remember our direction so that we may attain our goal of a focused mind and clear perception.

*I really connect with this one because I began to just Feel out of balance and out of align with how I knew I should be feeling.  and honestly, I forgot my direction.

4.  Make the Connection

  Knowing the Self, and finding a greater peace and ease through that connection.  Come to a place of independence from the agitations of the mind, and to a deeper connection with your own inner compass (ie…*feeling something isn’t right or isn’t in the place it’s supposed to be)  When you are connected to this inner compass, you are better able to handle the twists and turns of life.


I believe everyone has his own time of being ready to tackle something.  Sometimes it’s a matter of realizing you’re ready, or a matter of having learned what you need to learn to be ready, and sometimes it is just a moment you have that you realize you HAVE to be ready otherwise you’ll be continuing moving backwards.

I don’t believe falling or something not going the way you thought it Should go if failing.  I don’t believe in failure unless you just give up altogether and surrender.  I believe you learn from things and to each in his own time.  When the time comes that that person is ready, it’s game on and you just know it.   What I have learned the most from my experience is that wavering back and forth and not making up your mind to choose one direction….you will feel “in the middle.”  You must choose one way.  You have to choose your path, stand in it and then pour concrete over it.  Don’t leave it, stick with it and when things get tough, hold on.  Sure, sometimes you lose your way but time goes by and when you realize that way is missing, you go back to it and try again and now you have even more behind you because you carry a lesson with you!  There is no wrong way.



12 Responses to “Putting Yourself first, because you have to.”

  1. Anonymous April 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    That was a good read. Thank you.

  2. Chrystal April 4, 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    Ashley, I love this post. I have been through so much of this myself. We, as “professionals” hold ourselves to such a high standard and then turn around and don’t follow our own advice. It’s so true that we need to step back and realize what’s working and what’s not. I almost think that those of us who have educated ourselves struggle even harder with the roadblocks. I’m so happy that you have found some clarity and balance. You rock!

    • Christy April 5, 2012 at 1:51 am #

      I recognized myself in so much of what you wrote. And Chrystal (reply above mine) stated it so well – I definitely struggle, but find it so easy to help others! I need to get back to the basics myself and stop questioning what to do. I have so many hormonal issues going on that I begin second guessing what is true. Thank you, Ashley, for being so transparent.

      • fierceforward April 5, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

        It IS SO EASY to help others and then sometimes you need to realize that it’s ok to need help from others at the same time. No one’s perfect and is a rock all the time…sometimes we fall, and then just have to realize how to get back up and PUT OURSELVES FIRst!!! 🙂 let’s work more at that ladies!

    • fierceforward April 5, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

      I agree 110% as you know:) It’s sometimes nice to be heard and take direction from someone when you are leading most of the time. I think it’s human….thank you for your encouragement and helping me know I am not alone! Ash

  3. Alisha April 5, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    This is really by far one of your best blogs yet ( my opinion of course ).
    This one speaks volumes to me !

    • fierceforward April 5, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

      Alisha, wow, thank you, that means a lot to me. xoxo

  4. Michael W April 5, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    In the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey described the 7th habit as “Sharpen the Saw”. We need to take some regular time out to assess and re-assess our self, our life and the direction we’re headed to. A monthly “retreat” to do this really helps. If you can do it more frequently, the better. The important thing is to be honest in our assessment. Your self-honesty in this article is spot on! It is reassuring to find others who are going through the same struggles and are actually doing something about it instead of just rambling on and on. I especially like point #2 (It’s All About the Attitude) above. That one resonates with me. As always, thank you for this post!:)

    • fierceforward April 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      Michael, I have read that and there are a couple other books that are some of my favorite, one called, “Do” another called, “Be” and then another called, “Faith” all by A.C. Ping….they’re simple reads and amazing….I need to reread 7 habits…and those. I Find you can’t just learn something by reading it and practicing it once, you must re read and continue to familiarize yourself with it until it becomes part of your existence and your being. cheers to you!

  5. Lucinda April 5, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    You had me at the title! I struggle with putting “me” first! I have no idea when I deviated from that path. Your article made me realize that I have been so busy taking care of others there is nothing left to take care of me. Do you suppose that “givers/helpers” perceive a sense of guilt or selfishness by prioritizing themselves? I wish I understood why I continue to help other people and not myself. Your “me”ssage resonated with me. It is time to adjust my sails and take care of me and quite worrying about everyone else! Thanks for your honesty and sharing your challenges!

    • fierceforward April 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

      Lucinda, YES, I think when you are trying to be giving, you are giving some of yourself, because with it, it’s your time and energy and if you don’t prioritize importance, and put yourself up there, you can easily overlook that and then wind up (as time travels fast!) looking back at the month that passed and realizing how you have neglected YOUR needs. Then everything else around you, you realize, hasn’t gotten the right attention because you haven’t given yourself the attention you need to give fully. let’s both work on that in our lives.

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