When you’re working to make big changes in your life, it’s all too easy to overlook your accomplishments and fixate on your failures instead. This has been something I’ve been struggling with lately. As I’ve been working hard to get back into healthy living habits, I’ve inevitably been hitting tiny speed bumps. Even though I’m taking three steps forward every day, in those moments when I happen to take a step back, I can’t help but get mad at myself.
And that’s so dumb.
It’s as if those three steps I had just taken forward have been wiped from my memory and all I can think about is the fact that I tripped up and made a mistake. It’s as if I don’t even remember that I’m STILL two steps ahead.
Well. Enough is enough. I refuse to beat myself down when I’m trying my best and actually making great progress. I refuse to believe that I’m a failure. I refuse to feel defeated when I’ve only just begun. I refuse to quit.
I’m actively trying to remind myself every day that I’m certainly not the first and I’m definitely not the worst. Of course this was going to be difficult! Everyone encounters these struggles when they first begin down the path to healthy living. We are but mere mortals. We are not machines.
We are bound to make mistakes - it’s how we learn. We are bound to have setbacks - it’s what drives us forward with more vigor. We are bound to be sore, tired, and hungry - it’s how we know it’s working. It’s how we know WE are working.
Building a lifestyle that you love requires the same amount of hardwork, dedication, and patience as getting a degree, finding a job, or sustaining a relationship would. It’s not something that builds itself up over night while you sleep. Nobody wakes up one Monday morning after years of laziness and hits the gym everyday for a three hour workout. No way. That’s like giving a college degree to a toddler. It just doesn’t work that way.
So I realized last week that getting mad at myself was counterproductive. Instead of getting mad, I focused on setting realistic goals and backup plans for myself. I created a Lifestyle Report Card for myself with categories for work, self-care, fitness, and eating that I fill out in my brain every night. I tally up my points and think about ways to increase my score bit by bit everyday. I keep a weekly goal number to hit, but don’t beat myself up too bad if I’m a couple points shy.
I try to focus on the fact that even just these small acts of cooking better, living better, and working better have brought me leaps and bounds from where I was even a year ago. I try to remember that even if I did take a couple steps back this week, I’m still way closer to the finish line than I am to my starting point. And that, my friends, is reason enough to keep on pushing forward.
Building a life I love,