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What if I told you that this column almost didn’t get written? It was my birthday this week and it would have been easy to focus on other things, letting it fall to the sidelines. I could have justified that I had court hearings and consultations and a dinner in Dallas and a lot of other obligations.

Besides, does what I have to say really matter all that much anyways? Y’all won’t miss me if I ghost for just one week. Everyone would understand and forgive me. It would be totally fine.

Yet here I am, early on the morning it’s due, typing away, without much of an ounce of inspiration or direction. Besides to say that sometimes simply showing up is winning the battle.

I struggle with this perhaps nowhere more than at the gym. I’ll do great for a stretch of time, showing up consistently and getting my workouts in. But invariably, at some point, I’ll lose motivation and simply quit going. Until I start feeling crummy, which ignites within me the desire to start going once again.

Come to think of it, my cooking habits tend to be the same way. I’ll be doing pretty great, fixing dinners, meal prepping so there’s something to eat throughout the day, saving money and eating healthy. Until my husband and I decide that we’re busy and tired and would rather just eat out. Then we’ll slide down that slippery slope, feasting on whatever we can get our hands on. Eventually our wallets and guts start to scream at us, though, and back into the kitchen we go.

For a long time I was talking about my desire for balance and how I was looking to make the highs less high and the lows less low. It might seem counterintuitive to aim for making the highs less high, but what I mean is finding something sustainable.

I used to make fixing dinner into a righteous production. Racking my brain for something creative and inspired to fix. It needed to have lots of different components. I was constantly looking up new recipes and stressing over their execution.

These days, I’ve realized that dinner doesn’t need to be a giant ordeal. To the contrary, we can be perfectly happy with a mere two items on the plate. It’s as simple as seasoning a hunk of meat that hubs throws on the grill, while I season some veggies that get thrown in the air fryer.

They say that how you do anything is how you do everything and that consistency is key. So that’s my challenge to myself and my dear readers this week: Focus on a single area where you need a little more consistency and hold yourself accountable, pretending you are your own parent if you have to, and lovingly nagging yourself until it gets done.

A few days ago I challenged my Facebook friends to treat themselves as though they were someone that they loved. I’ll extend that same challenge now to y’all. Until we meet again next week, be good to yourselves and each other please!

As always, please feel free to contact me through my criminal defense firm’s page at www.shanastein.com/contact <http://www.shanastein.com/contact&gt;