Thanks for all the love on my announcement last week!
(And my apologies to those of you who were totally confused by it! My humor is completely weird and unpredictable sometimes.)
I’ll be 17 weeks this Saturday. We’re super excited, especially after the pitfalls we experienced last fall. I promise to fill you in on how my first trimester went down later this week!
This will be my first time blogging through a pregnancy, which is kind of exciting for me–but I certainly don’t want you thinking it’s going to take center stage around here. I don’t see myself doing the weekly bump update thing, just because I can only imagine how bored you guys would get of me answering the same questions every week. :) But I’ll definitely be stopping by with semi-regular preggo check-ins, and I also have a few pregnancy-related topics I’m excited to talk about.
As for the labor…live tweeting?? Thoughts?? (Kidding…mostly…)
Anyway. There’s something that’s been simmering on my brain for awhile now, and I wanted to run it by you guys today.
Let’s talk about the phrase “works for you.”
I have a little bit of beef with this phrase, only because it’s used so often–especially in the health/fitness community–that I feel like it’s losing meaning.
There are two primary examples of times that “works for you” tends to pop into conversation. Example 1 is the Disclaimer, where, after offering advice, people backpedal into the safety of “but you have to find what works for you.” Example 2 is the Defense, where people share a personal approach to something and then ward of judgement by saying “that’s just what works for me.”
When I hear the Disclaimer, I feel deflated. All those great ideas and now I’m just on my own? When I hear the Defense, I feel sad that we (myself included) feel like we have to justify our choices by constantly reminding everyone that we’re all different.
But most tragically of all, the more I hear this phrase, the more I lose sight of what it means. What does work for me? What makes me so different from this other person that their methods wouldn’t make sense for me?
And how do I know if what I’m currently doing is working for me or not? Until I’ve tried everything on the planet, can I ever be completely sure? (I mean–could I have even more energy? Could I be even happier? Could my skin be even clearer?)
For the past few months, every time I’d hear or read that phrase, I’d start picking it apart in my head. What do people really mean when they say “works for you” or “works for me”? What would a more helpful and constructive synonym be?
Eventually, I came up with this: find “what you are willing and able to do.”
The Paleo diet doesn’t work for me, not because I don’t think it would be beneficial for my health, but because I’m not willing to completely give up grains and dairy.
CrossFit doesn’t work for me, not because I don’t think I’d like it (I probably would), but because I don’t want to pay for it and I like the variety of my current exercise routine.
Sugar detoxes don’t work for me because, well–I just can’t. (Haha–ok, more accurately, I just don’t want to.)
Marathoning doesn’t work for me anymore, because I’m not willing (or able) to devote the time to training. (Plus a few other reasons, but that’s the biggest one.)
Next time you hear or read something telling you to “find what works for you,” see if this version brings you any additional clarity. And when you hear the phrase used as a defense, know that there are probably some more concrete, perfectly relatable reasons buried underneath it.
Although I was thinking about this mostly as it applies to the health/fitness world, it can work outside of that bubble too. Cloth diapering doesn’t work for me, not because I know from experience (having never actually tried it) or because I don’t think it’s a great thing (it is), but because I’m intimidated by the process, the up-front price, and the laundry. Could I be convinced to change my mind? Probably. But I’m not in a place where I’m ready to consider that right now, and therefore, it doesn’t currently “work for me.”
There’s one more little nuance to all this. (It’s completely obvious, but still worth saying.) In addition to something you’re willing and able to do, what “works for you” also has to be something you believe in. If veganism works for you because you’re super passionate about animal rights, that’s going to trump willingness and ability–you’ll find a way to make it happen. If you don’t believe the Paleo diet is the optimal way to eat, you’re not going to do it even if it’s the easiest thing in the world for you to do.
The most important thing is: you need to be behind your own ideas. If you find yourself covering up the unknowns with the “works for me” blanket, try digging deeper to find the real reasons you do what you do.
To be clear, I’m not against the “works for you” phrase, at all. I’ll probably use it a bazillion more times myself. It definitely has its place, as long as it stays meaningful.
What do you think of the “works for you” phrase?
What’s something that does or doesn’t work for you, and why?