Have you ever had this experience: You are on top of the world, flying high on your excitement and new found dreams, only to have someone close to you squash it? It may be a look or comment. Maybe its a person whose opinion is held so dear to your heart that it devastated you to get that look or comment, and squashed your spirit.
Well, get it back. When trying to form a new lifestyle it is important to go after your dreams. Some dreams may be weird, or hard, or nearly impossible, and those that know you best, know it will be a rough, if not, wild ride before you are done, but do it anyway, and for god’s sake quit listening to them! I am not suggesting you quit your day job, move to a faraway land, and forgo all responsibility in lue of leading a life full of your true calling, but if you’ve done your homework, making a change is going to be hard and those you may expect to support you the most may be the ones to avoid.
For many watching a loved one approach a goal we have seen them attempt and fail at multiple times – translation: we are picking up the pieces of their ruined self-confidence – can be rough and exhausting. Even when we try to be supportive it may not be genuine because we feel we know what the end result will be. For some it is painful to watch a loved one reach toward a goal we ourselves hold close and continually fail at, especially if our loved one is making it where we fell flat. Are these fair assessments? Maybe, maybe not, but is it our choice to make? NO.
If you are dealing with a friend or family member who is working hard toward a goal and failing, or if you are the friend who continually tries, but are having trouble getting it off the ground over and over, take note. Failing is reaching for success. You cannot succeed without failing somewhere along the line. If you are not failing once and a while you are stuck in a rut. I grew-up water skiing, as I got older I did not want to fall; I felt it was how I would be measured as a person. Well, luckily I figured it out – if I didn’t fall I wasn’t pushing the envelope, and if I wasn’t pushing my skills I wouldn’t get better. Basically, I got bored. I learned the harder and more crazy I wiped out the better my skills got, the more bumps I could take, and the less the small stuff mattered. Life is like that. The more you live, the more the small things won’t derail you from the goal.
Let’s put this into a fitness perspective. For example: I am looking to lose a few pounds. I have been for ten years. I continually have joined gyms, tried walking on my own, and new diets, but I never could keep them up. Finally, exhausted I gave up for a term and am now ready to begin again, sound familiar? If you look back through your history of trying, do you find that you got further each time. Progress is not always measured in pounds, weeks or calories, but look at whether the same issues derailed your efforts. Maybe in the beginning if I didn’t strictly follow my diet I was done for the week or day, which over the long haul derailed my entire goal. Or if I skipped a workout, I was so guilty I would overeat at lunch and dinner before snacking from the vending machine and a pint of ice cream. Next time I attempted my weight loss I didn’t let a missed workout or off meal ruin my confidence, but I let my schedule take me down. The third time, I figured out my schedule, but I let my fear of gyms dictate which direction I would go and I got bored and then it snowed. See how this works? Each time I got better at dealing with issues, but a new one popped up; until I finally put my fitness first no matter what, because I finally understand how important it was to me…no matter what.
By repeating an activity even if it seems we are not reaching our goals, we are creating pathways in the brain that reinforce our goal. These pathways become stronger the more they are used and soon it does not seem hard to use them at all. It seems normal. Each time we attempt to break an old habit and make it longer than we did before; we build a stronger connection to the new habit and break down the pathway to the old, which leads to leaving the old habit behind.
Today look back and take stock of the failures you’ve had. Can you see a pattern? Can you see progress (remember to look at the big picture)? Can you see where you may need work? If these questions seem daunting, hire a professional to help you sort through your ideas. Once you’ve got your track record you can limit your obstacles based on past experience, draw new confidence based on what you have been able to overcome, and begin again armed and ready when your best buddy rolls their eyes and exclaims, “Not again!”