My Journey of Self-Discovery

By , SparkPeople Blogger

Merriam-Webster defines a journey as an act or instance of traveling from place to another; the passage from one place to another. This is precisely how I describe my life--it is a passage from one place to another.

Six years ago I took one of the most important steps in changing my life. A journey that would take me to places I never imagined I would find myself. After all, it's hard to see what lies ahead of us when we can only see the past and where we are today. It is difficult to see the place where we have yet to travel because seldom in our life does everything goes as planned.

When I was well into my journey I was talking with a dear friend who had noticed the changes I was undergoing. Now mind you, I had just started running and I was still actively trying to lose those last twenty pounds, but being 60 pounds lighter, there were changes. She asked me how this time was different. For me, a lot had to do with where I was in my life. I was no longer fighting to stay in a 'normal' size, I was literally fighting for my life. High blood pressure, pre-diabetes, gall bladder issues, aching feet and knees when I stood too long were becoming a daily battle. On February 9, 2005 I began my incredible journey and this is my analogy of the journey the way I see it.

Most of us don't just get in the car one day and decide to go on a trip. It takes planning, a destination, a means to get us to our destination, a map to follow and determination.

We plan our destination (our goal), begin the journey with direction (goal setting). We then map out our trip (SparkPeople is our map). We pack the items we needed to take with us (stocking a healthy pantry, joining a gym) and then we begin the journey. The enthusiasm is high. All we can think about is reaching our destination.

We drive along the way and everything is going as planned. We are heading toward our destination, but oh no, we come across some road construction and we are forced to make a detour. Do we continue on or do we turn around and go back home? Most of us will follow the new direction, it may not have been the way we planned when we left, but nothing in life ever is. We are learning to roll with the punches.

We find our way back on the road and oh no, we have a flat tire (plateau). We can sit there, complain and wait for someone to rescue us OR we can get out of the car and figure a way to change the tire ourselves. It won't be easy, but with the right tools (message boards and teams) we can get that tire changed so we can continue on the journey.

We continue on our way and we find ourselves heading through a beautiful passage through the mountains, but instead of appreciating the scenery, we race through to get to our destination as fast as we can not realizing that we needed to stop for gas along the way (not eating enough and spending hours exercising). The sad reality the journey is not so much about the destination, but enjoying the changes we are forced to make as we travel through to get to that destination.

After days on the road, we finally make it to our destination. Not once did we turn the car around and go back home. Not once did we let the obstacles stand in our way to reach our goal. We can even stop and enjoy the beauty and appreciate how far we have come. We can celebrate overcoming the challenges, therefore once we make it to our destination, we know anything is possible.

What lesson have you learned in your own journey of self-discovery? Do you find that we focus too much on the goal and not enough on the changes we make that will ultimately get us to our goal?

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Loved this analogy....totally relatable as we have taken many such road trips! Thanks for such a wonderfully insightful post....I can see my next stop just ahead!! Report
Great analogy. I'm one that usually just focuses on the goal and doesn't appreciate all that happens along the way. This time I've taken the time to be happy with the changes I've made and seen. It has helped me stay positive and not get sidetracked. Report
Excellent blog! Thanks! I too had major health issues to get me started on the road to recovery. Your analogies brought to my mind the time I lived in a big city and had to drive 3 different destinations M-F and the traffic congestion. At first I got frustrated. Then I made a game of it. I brought that to my lifestyle change through SP. Your blog gives me new tools, the big one is responding to the road blocks. Spark on! Report
What a wonderful analogy and a reminder never to quit and never let plateaus discourage us.
Thanks for taking the time to share this wonderful blog.
The journey is the most important part. Since Maintaining has to be part of the journey, hopefully we will be on the journey the rest of our lives!! Report
this was a very good blog Report
If I get the flat tire (plateau), I know that I can't change it by myself so I call AAA (Sparks) for help so that I can continue on my journey. Great blog! Report
Two things I've learned: 1) The journey's never really over. 2) Enjoy the trip along the way. Yes, I focused mostly on the goal. Then when I reached the goal, I still had to get my head to "catch up" with some of the lifestyle-thinking changes. Report
Great analogy. It is always good to remember that this is a journey that takes time and readjusting. Thanks! Report
love the analogies! Report
I really enjoyed the way you wrote this! It all makes a lot more sense to me!
Great blog!
Thanks! Report
Wonderful reminder to not sweat the big stuff. I'm on the next phase of this journey, I feel better, look better, and I am better. I'm learning still to enjoy where I am and learn how to move forward. Report
Loved this blog. What a great way to describe this journey. AWSOME! Report
I enjoyed reading this and thank you for the little reminders... I liked it so much that I'm saving it for future reading yet again when I need the little perks. Hugs. Report
Major factors for my life changes have been: health and reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, just plain old reducing fat and having a better body for my older years. And finally, I was at a point in my life when the kids all grew up and I had no one to take care of but me! That was a large part of my process to becoming a more healthy person. Report
Thank you for this article. It just dawned on me yesterday that food has become the focus of my life. While being mindful of what we eat is important, I don't think my food decisions should rule my life. I decided I need to relax a bit and actually pay attention to other things also.
Martha Report
Thank you for a different view of losing weight and getting healthy. I have copied your blog and printed it off to re read when I need the wise words you have shared. Thank you again. Report
Thank you for the beautiful analogy. It will help me along on my way on my own journey. Steve Report
So many times, I have made a journey, and turned the car around, either, shortly after leaving home, or halfway to my destination. Then I got further and further away from my original goal. This time, I am going back and not just for a visit. I am going to really enjoy being there. I will not turn the car around, before I even have time to enjoy the destination. I fully intend to make a permanent move. I will relocate, and then maintain, my new lifestyle at my new destination.
Fabulous analogy here. One we can all relate too. And one I will save and revisit.
Thank you Report
WOW - Awesome analogies, Coach Nancy!!! I LOVE this blog and of couse am sasving it and passing it along. One of the great parts of the journey for many of us, is that while we are on our way to our destinations, we hear of many other wonderful journeys that lie beyond or initial goals, like running marathons or going back to school or any of a thousand other "dreams" that we have now gained the confidence and tools to persue. Funny part is that Sparks maps help us to stay on course for those journeys too! Report
Excellent, fantastic, wonderful. Thank you. Report
What a great analogy. This is a blog worth keeping and rereading, a great reminder. Thank you. Report
After being a Sparker for over 3 years, I've noticed that most people who start end up quitting. I've not had great success and I've regained 33# which I had to lose again, but I've stayed with it and not been anywhere near perfect. So, staying with it no matter what is really what matters. There is good and there is the bad, but just keep coming back again. Report
I've been asked what's different this time, too, Nancy. I've lost 90 and want to lose 25 more. Friends are noticing that I don't regain nearly as much as in the past, whenever I hit a rough spot. That's good; there's less backtracking needed. Now that I'm about to be 69 (chronologically, at least), I REALLY can't afford to screw around with my health. My attitudes and actions are much younger. (grin)

The picture of that bumper-to-bumper traffic is painful. When caught in something like that, I get frantic at times in my need to think of ways to get off the expressway, but I realize it's not going to happen. I just have to stick with it until I get to my destination. That's something else that's different for me now.

All those cars blocking my exit or lane change, using your comparison, could represent my changing views, behaviors, habits and hopes, as well as my connections to Spark Friends. I can no longer exit, no matter how long it takes. I think I'm now feeling grateful for being trapped on the expressway. Thanks for the image! Report
Thank you for the imagery--it will help to keep my positive perspective engaged. :D Report
Well written, and powerful imagery that will be very helpful. Thanks for sharing this perspective. I love travel; maybe I can re-imagine my destination /goal weight with this travel theme in mind. I think that would be very helpful. Report
Hummmm...Nanacy, you have given me food for thought, I can see that you have changed your weight loss into an interesting exercise of self discovery....I will take some leaves out of your book, stand on your words & make them work for me...thank-you for sharing.............Rosie Report
This was a terrific blog! I loved all the analogies. I definitely feel as though I'm on a journey to being healthy & fit and I'm enjoying the ride. I've set 20 goals to reach along the way so I'm not even thinking about the final one, just focusing on the short-term ones to come. Report
This is a great blog. I've been on my journey now for quite a while and lost just a little weight but have truly smelled the roses and learned so much about myself. Thank you for the great analogy. I wish you a blessed day and life. Report
Hey Nancy, I saved a past article of yours and quoted it on my spark page about a year ago. Last Tuesday was the kick off of our fitness facility's support group for weight loss. My focus was about the 'journey' we are on together. So I will be copying this article to reiterate those many analogies. Thanks, girl, for your genius writing. I'll let you know when I need another article...ha, ha. (Got anything on BMR?) Keep writing and motivating! Report
I often get stuck planning and preparing... never taking the journey. Report
Everyones journey is just a little bit different, but the same in ways too! Report
Great blog entry!! Alot to think about! Report
i always tell my students that childhood- and literacy- is a journey, thanks for reminding me that so is "life" and also our goals! Report
Great Blog..Saved this..thanks for sharing. Report
I've started my journey and I have my map!!! Report
Wow! Inspiring! Incredible writing! Saved this to my favorites, definitely worth reading over and over when things get tough. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. Report
Wonderful insight! It made me take a look at myself. Report
Well said. I like the comment about a flat tire being like a plateau and rushing past all the scenery. Great imagery which well help me remember to stop and enjoy the journey! Thanks Report
Well said. You should write more of these because you have a real talent for writing. Report
Great analogy! I like the reminder to be flexible -- if our original plans don't work out, there's almost always another way to get where we want to go. And the super-highway isn't always the best route -- some of the greatest discoveries we make about ourselves come during rambling walks down so-called "back streets."
I have always thought of this as a journey, but you portrayed it so well in your writing. Thank you. Report
Love it. Saved it to my favorites so that I may read it again. Thank you! Report
It IS an amazing journey when you really get the focus on using balance and self acceptance as your guides. I appreciated your story and I applaud your journey & your wisdom .... Way to go! Report
I love using analogies to help make sense of life and all of it's surprises and mysteries. You have done a beautiful job with your comparison of Spark people to travel (and I do love to plan vacations, so it especially hit home for me). Taking time to view the beautiful scenery is such an important lesson...and one that we often don't appreciate until we're older. By that time, we've already missed so many Kodak moments. Thanks for the eye-opening message. Report
Great analogy. I'm on a plateau with my weight loss, but it is still beautiful here. I'm progressing in ways I hadn't planned on, but my journey is going to be that much easier for my slowing down here. Report
Quite impressive thinks I.....

Thanks for sharing!!

-- Robin

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(¸.•´ (¸.•´ (¸.•´¸¸.•¨¯`* Report
I too am on the same journey of discovery, and you are absolutely right in the use of the road trip analogy.
I've had to learn to not focus on the destination so much as the sights along the way. Each day you just get up and get back in the car takes you a little further upwards your destination. I look forward to the day when I reach my destination no matter how long the journey takes. Report
Love the analogy of your and other's journeys in life. I get it. Thanks for the blog. It makes good sense. Report
Loved this blog! Great analogy! Thanks for sharing this! Report