Today’s post is inspired by a quote I saw on Facebook, but also by a pattern I have been noticing in my work both as a counselor and personal trainer.
Often, when pursuing a goal exercise or athlete related, we think about either making our goal or failing to make it. However it is not that black and white, which is why this quote struck out to me so much this morning.
Each goal is a journey, and like any journey, we are going to take breaks or make a pit stop that sets us back, however the only time the journey ends is when we decide to quit. Exercise should not be a temporary activity just until you lose “the last 5 pounds” and then you go back to a sedentary lifestyle. In that scenario, exercise is the break or the pit stop- not the journey. Exercise can be a powerful thing- it allows us a 30-60 minute break in our day when we can breathe, focus on our body, and thank our body for all it does through something that is good for it. It should be a lifelong habit, a way of life. Obviously not all forms of exercise are sustainable forever because of wear and tear, but there are options for everyone 98% of the time.
That being said, none of us are perfect and so we will take our days off, which sometimes turn into months or years. We will have our cheat food days when we eat pizza and ice cream and drink too many beers. These days- the days we let go and allow ourselves the freedom to not exercise, or not adhere to strict food guidelines- these are NOT failures! They are simply the detours on our journey, and are often necessary for adherence to any program. Many of my clients, express guilt or a feeling of a failure after these days. They shame and guilt themselves, believing that they have failed. But then with some renewed motivation, they begin again. The pattern here is this nasty feeling of shame and guilt. Instead of being an actual motivating factor it just cuts even deeper into ourself esteem.
Instead, remind yourself of the journey you are on- for lifelong health, a peace of mind and to be happy with who you are! That means embracing those times of “failure” and work them into your program. If you know you are going on vacation or celebrating, or just have a day where working out isn’t possible- work that into your week. Bring healthy food/snacks or allow yourself the space to indulge a little bit without judgement. Take a walk on the beach or wherever you may be on a trip and enjoy your surroundings! Savor the food you are eating, and enjoy the company you are with! At the end of the day- it is these experiences we remember and cherish! The only failure is in giving up on yourself and quitting! So enjoy life, enjoy healthy food and exercise and enjoy the little detours!