Last month, I wrote about my awesome investment in myself. In that post, I detailed my long history of overdoing it when it comes to exercise. I explained what a struggle incorporating the right amount and right kind of exercise into my life has been for me for many, many years in my quest for weight management. I purposely waited until I had been using the treadmill religiously for six weeks before blabbing about my profound joy at finally, FINALLY conquering my exercise demons.
As it happened, I spoke a bit too soon. Or rather, wrote too soon. Exactly one day after I triumphantly posted about my victory, I started having major pain in my lower back and left hip. I will spare you the details about my multiple chiropractic visits, my chiropractor’s lecture (which I’m grateful for) about how I SHOULD have approached getting back into exercise (build core strength first to avoid injury!), and my incessant whining about my plight during the subsequent three weeks when I exercised very little.
Clearly, I needed to rest my body to heal from the trauma I had imposed on my hip. But what was also clear was my frustration that THIS TIME I had done everything right (or so I thought) in starting slowly and ramping up my efforts in tiny increments. My default thought was: “Oh well, I guess I’m just going to do what I always do and let this setback linger indefinitely until I never get back to running. After all, that is my pattern, right?”
As soon as that negative thinking popped into my head, I resolved I wouldn’t let it come to fruition this time. THIS time would be different. THIS time, I would make a plan. After all, I spent a ton of dough on a fabulous treadmill. And I declared (publicly!) I was running on that treadmill, and wasn’t that awesome? In reality, it wasn’t the disappointment or possible embarrassment that got me.
What I really, mostly needed was to prove to myself that I could break the cycle.
I decided I would persist
The healing from my over-eager injury required about three weeks of relative inactivity. I did some dog walking while we were at the coast in the RV, but avoided the treadmill. Light stretching, but no core exercising. I got lots of rest. And while all this was happening, I was engaging myself in positive self-dialogue. I planned how to get back into walking and running slowly after I healed. I planned how I was going to incorporate core strengthening into my regime to avoid future injury. It was satisfying to feel I could break my cycle of exercise failure, once and for all.
I didn’t expect it would be three full weeks before I woke up and realized my hip no longer hurt. But as those weeks of healing stretched on, I stayed dedicated to my plan. I persisted. And I’m pleased to report that I’ve been back to it now for almost three weeks. I followed my plan, and I remain careful as I continue to build up my time and mileage.
Why this matters
While this may seem inconsequential to you, it is a big deal to me. Consistent exercise (or rather, the lack thereof) has been the bane of my adult existence. When suitably motivated, I can be ridiculously disciplined about getting things done in my life, but exercise and consistent healthy eating have remained elusive.
Now I can see I have crossed an important hurdle that needed to be crossed.
I decided to share this story for two reasons. One is to drive home the point that we’re all human, and we’re all imperfect. I’m not perfect. Not even close. Despite my expertise and relative success in my career, I am not perfect with my financial life, either. I’ll share more on those imperfections at some point, but one is enough for today.
The second reason I decided to share the story is because I’m a believer in persistence. In seeking to achieve anything worth doing in life, hardships and obstacles always occur. How we deal with those obstacles and persist through hardships are what counts.
Too often in my past exercise-life I forgot that persistence is actually one of my super powers! I did not remind myself of the many, MANY other hard times and hard goals I have had that I navigated. Why did I forget about my Persistence Power when it came to hardships I encountered with exercise?
I should have remembered my Persistence Power. Take work, for example. Even after I have achieved success in my field, that doesn’t mean that obstacles don’t continue to appear. The fact that I soldier on year after year is actually a source of mystery (but also pride) for me. How many others would have just thrown in the towel?
Another piece of the puzzle
About a week ago, I heard a terrific podcast episode (while on the treadmill, ahem!) that featured Jon Acuff. From that episode, I was inspired to download his audiobook, Finish. Acuff is very funny, and therefore listening to his book, versus reading it, has been quite enjoyable.
The main premise of this book is that perfectionism causes us to fail. How many projects do we initiate, only to quit before we’ve barely begun because something throws a wrench into the mix, and we deem the project newly imperfect. We’ve set ourselves up to believe that because something isn’t perfect, we should just surrender.
Wrong, of course. But how many of us do exactly that? I know I am guilty of it. And not just when it comes to my exercise regimen. I get excited about numerous projects that then fall by the wayside when Real Life intervenes, throwing that inevitable curve ball.
Finish offers some excellent tips for combating this lack of ability to complete what we start, but I’ll let you discover them on your own. For the purposes of this post, I wanted to focus on the point I started with: persistence.
The importance of persistence
When it comes to any goals, whether health or financial or something else entirely, persistence pays dividends. The statistics are out there: a shockingly low percentage of people who set goals actually go on to achieve those goals. You’re told writing the goals down helps you beat the odds, but that isn’t enough. When the chips are down, when we feel like quitting (for whatever reason), when we feel as though we just can’t do it anymore – this is when we must persist.
What can you do today to get back in the saddle for your goals? Learn from the hiccups you encounter and then move right along.
Don’t give up.
Kick perfectionism to the curb and learn that done is better than perfect. Keep moving forward.
Don’t forget that baby steps count, too.
How do you keep yourself moving forward? Let’s help each other! Feel free to share it below, or if you prefer, you can email me at Dawn@SimpleMoneyPro.com.
Or if you want to start a discussion with some like-minded friends, join the free SimpleMoney Community on Facebook to share your ideas! In fact, we are starting an accountability group in the community to help us achieve our 2019 financial goals. DON’T MISS IT!!
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