I smile every time I see this old picture of myself. Of course, my son had no idea at the time, but his mommy had just won the confidence lottery.
I separated from my ex-husband of 18 years in the spring of 2014. My son Adam was five months old, the last to be born of our four children together. I was significantly overweight, broke, going through postpartum depression, and miserable with my situation. Figuring out how I was going to make sense of it all was mind-boggling. I was just about to turn 40 and had filed for divorce.
I spent the summer of that year worrying about my children and my health. Would I ever be able to walk up a flight of stairs again without losing my breath? Would I be able to chase my younger children around the house or play in the backyard with them? Something needed to change.
I could not control my unfortunate circumstances, but I could take control of my health and wellness. So that's what I decided to do.
A few weeks into my journey, I noticed my clothing was fast becoming loose on me. The holidays were two months away. I thought it would be nice to get something new to wear. So I started searching online for a dress. There were so many! Then I saw it, the perfect red dress! I was still losing weight and had a significant amount to go.
My inner voice of doubt started to speak to me. Maybe you should wait. What if it's too small even after losing more weight? What if you don't lose anymore? I quickly dismissed the voice and did something daring. I ordered the dress two sizes smaller than I was at that moment! I knew I needed an extra push and some self-encouragement to keep pressing forward. I needed to believe in myself, and now I had another goal to achieve.
When the dress arrived, I tried it on, knowing it would not fit. So I took it off, hung it up where I could see it every day, and got back to work on myself.
As the weeks passed, I stayed committed to my routine. I made better nutritional choices, exercised every time my son took a nap, and began reading self-help and inspirational books. Finally, December arrived. I decided to wait until the week before Christmas to try the dress on again. It WAS going to fit. I had come so far and changed my life. I was now able to run up the stairs, chase the kids around, and I put up a 9 foot tall Christmas tree by myself. That was no easy feat and would have been impossible the year before.
Fit or no fit, I was already a winner.
I slipped the dress over my head, took a deep breath, and began to pull it down over my body. You can imagine my complete excitement; it fit perfectly! It was more than just a dress for me; it was hard work paying off. My health was getting increasingly better, my kids had an active mom in their lives, and I felt stronger and happier. It was as if I won a gold medal in the Olympics. I saw the finish line and constantly envisioned myself crossing it.
You may have your own "red dress." It can be a symbol or tangible item that represents a goal you would like to reach. Maybe your red dress is a life-changing goal you thought was impossible to attain, but after hard work and tenacity, you did it. The red dress pushes you towards the finish line.
No red dress to encourage you? Your journey begins the moment you decide to step out of your comfort zone. So let's get you to your finish line together.