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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Good blog, well thought out....Thank you Report
COOL Report
Thank you for the great blog Nancy. I really do needto make my map clear. I always when I travel have it all ready and clear. Now I need to do this with this journey so I can stay on it for life. How can I learn and grow if im just seeing the destination and in a hurry! New check points and stops to be added to my journey. Lots of great stops and adventures for my journey. Michelle Report
Cute, cute, cute little blog. Anybody know where I can buy some new tires--mine keep going flat on me! Report
Thanks for creating such a vivid image of the journey we're all on! What a motivational blog!!! Report
Great analogy Nancy! I have learned through many obstacles and "flat tires" that I'm not a quitter. The "rest stops" along the way allow me to set new goals and refueling stations (my spark friends come to mind) are what fuels me to keep pressing forward. Glad I saw this blog "pit stop" this morning and refueled! :)

Thanks for another great blog!

Well, I am just starting this new journey and I think it is great advice. Thank you. Report
Well crap, Nancy, you are making me cry...darn you! ;-)

Since June 2009 my life changed drastically and I am not even close to being my former self (thank God). It was at that time that I started running and I never dreamed there would be so many great things one can get from such a simple activity. The biggest thing that happened was getting off my anxiety meds. Then my BP dropped and my cholesterol issues improved immensely. My doctor knows what I have been doing and she calls me her banner patient.

My self-esteem has shot through the roof and that is HUGE!!!! I still have issues I deal with but I am getting slowly better and learning so much about myself along the way. Running is helping my procrastinating and my patience level because to train one must have dicipline when training for racing.

I now have pride in myself that I thought was impossible to achieve. Running is a very individual thing and each one of us is very different. You put in all the work and reap so many wonderful blessings from it.

Thank you, Nancy, for being my mentor and being so patient with me. You KNOW I listen to every word of advice you so freely give.

Muah! Muah! Muah!

Princess Laurie Report
I am discovering how much *I* have changed. Inside. As a person. Report
These are great thoughts! I am a destination person. I very rarely enjoy the journey in anything that I do...I'm all about the end. Thanks, Nancy, for helping me to take a step back and think and re-evaluate how I approach weight-loss and other parts of my life! Report
What a great analogy! It will give me lots to think about today and in the future. Report
Nice article and so true. For me it's all about the journey and not about the goal. It's about the fact I did a 10 k on my treadmill and not about me wanting to weight a certain weight. It's about me eating healither and not a number on the scales. It's about finding positive ways to deal with the bumps in the road and not using food to get me through this. It's a forever journey not just a trip till I reach a certain weight. And this journey is about me and God. He found sparks for me and that is one of my road maps to better health. Report
I loved reading this blog! It was just what I needed at the moment to lift my spirit! Thank you for sharing! Report
I couldn't agree more. I have lost 50 pounds in the past year and since being on spark I have celebrated the small steps along the way. But last night I was in a really tough circuit training class and I couldn't help but notice that I was still the fat girl in the class. I started thinking about what I needed to do to get the belly and thighs down and tighten the arms. and "man I am tired of being the fat girl in the room". What I forgot to do is celebrate the victory of completing a challenging 60 minute circuit training class. Thanks for the reminder. Report
Great analogy! We do learn a lot about ourselves on our journey towards health and fitness. We learn about consistency, perseverance and overcoming obstacles. It really is about the journey, because in a way, the journey never ends! Report
Interesting comparison. Makes me question if I won't allow detours in the road take me off courseand keep me from reaching my goal/destination, why am I allowing detours in weight loss to bounce me off course? Report
Great food for thought! Report
I have just one addition to the analogy. If you want to make the trip more enjoyable and make the detours and obstacles less of a hassle, bring along someone you love. There so many things you can miss on a journey unless that other person is there to point them out. Sometimes they can even help you avoid an obstacle. Doing this with someone you love makes the journey so much more fun and the destination almost seems to arrive too soon. Report
What a great analogy. This is something we can all really relate to. I'm going to remember this!
I love the comparison Report
Great wording, anyone can understand the connection between Sparks and travel. I for one needed this this morning...Thank you! Report
Fantastic blog entry - I really enjoyed it. I've been on an "Odyssey" like journey for many years healing my mind and soul. Now I'm working on my physical body with SP and I love it. I've learned that even the detours and plateaus have important purposes and not to think negatively when they are occuring. Most likely there is an important reason even though it may not be known in that moment.

Thanks for Sharing!!

This is an inspiring story Nancy and so motivating. Life is a journey and we should enjoy every bit of it Report
Good analogy--and its personal application is helpful, because when I travel, I rarely plan more than the destination and general route, unless I'm traveling with my dogs, when I have to make motel arrangements in advance so we're sure of a dog-friendly room. Those trips are better organized--and I've discovered that I feel more constrained (almost imprisoned) by needing to make and stick to a plan on those occasions. So, by analogy with the rest of my lifestyle, I need to learn to accept constraint as a positive feature, instead of an imposition on my freedom. And, since I'd not thought of it quite that way, this is a very useful blog. Thanks! Report
so true! I need to stop and appreciate the journey not rush to the destination, thank you! Report
Great analogy. I;ll remember this with my next flat tire(plateau)! Report
Thank you for such a beautiful illustration of your journey. I enjoyed the interesting points that you made between this journey and Sparks! Report
Kudos to you on your journey...lotsa good strong points :) Report
Good Morning SparkLand! Thanks to you, Nancy. I enjoyed the analogies and the honesty. To entertain the idea that this journey will be seamless would be a straight path to failure. I like the perspective on and solutions to the 'obstacles'. Report
Thank you, this is a really great way of looking at our journey. Report
one of the most significant aspects of my journey is the dismantling of my perfectionist tendencies. I've always tended towards an "all or nothing" approach and beaten myself up (and given up) if my efforts yielded results which were less than "perfect." If I had a slip-up day, it would spiral into an undoing of everything I had worked for. This time around, I'm slowly reminding myself that it's OK to have an off day/week, whatever, and that this journey isn't about getting everything "right" all the time, but about loving and respecting myself and establishing a pattern of healthy habits and decisions which will benefit me in the long run. I remind myself that I'm human and I will occasionally make a less-than-ideal decision, and that's ok! I just get back in the car and keep on trucking rather than giving up. Report
Great analogies!!! It makes great sense and is motivating. Thank you! Report