I don't know about you guys, but when I commit to doing something, especially when it involves reaching a long-term goal, out of the gate I expect two things to happen:
1. I will get really good at that activity (running, yoga, hiking,extreme couponing, what have you) RIGHT FREAKING NOW. Immediately. I bought the gear, and the studio membership, and made a playlist; the rest should just come naturally. And quickly.
2. I will see results, soon. I'm not naive enough to think that results will come right away, today. Tomorrow should do.
In this frame of mind, I'm learning, I am constantly disappointed. Rather, even worse, I'm constantly disappointing myself. Take last week, for example. After returning from the hiking trip, I was in that "I can do anything, bring it on, world!" mindset. I was ready to jump headfirst into half-marathon training, eat well, tone up, get all sexy and hot, just in time for sweaters and jeans for approximately 9 months.
A week into it, I was exhausted, had already slipped up on the eating plan (and drinking plan, come to think of it) and knee pain, presumably from 25+ miles of downhill hiking was hindering my runs. I worked out two days in a row, after eleven hours of work. By the time day three rolled around, I was just...over it. Thoughts of, "You suck, might as well complete the failure spiral" followed me all the way through the Taco Bell drive-thru. Ew.
Okay, it was delicious, but did absolutely nothing for my self-esteem or long-term goal.
Thankfully, yesterday, I got some much-needed perspective on this issue. Long-term goals are great to have. There is nothing wrong with desiring to run a half, or even full marathon. Nor is there anything wrong with wanting to lose twenty, fifty, or one-hundred pounds. But "long-term goals" is not a misnomer...they take a LONG time to achieve. 13.1 miles is not achievable before you've run your first seven. The first ten pounds aren't melting away before the first five. In reaching your goals, you have to be patient with yourself. You have to recognize that results come with persistence, and persistence is not comparable to instant oatmeal. It takes time, and it takes effort. And truthfully, I have a distinct feeling that it's going to take a fair amount of grace. Grace given to me, by me.
So that said, I'm slowing things down a bit. I'm making small, sustainable diet changes that can lead to bigger ones. I'm not going to push my body to do any more than it's ready to do. When seven miles becomes easy, we'll try for eight, and so on. If I have to start out training three days a week, then so be it.
Most importantly, it NEEDS to be okay to mess up. Cheeseburgers and overlseeping are going to happen. Injuries, setbacks, and plateaus too. And they can't be a reason to throw in the towel. Or eat it, along with everything else in sight. Since I'm taking this one day at a time, once today, with all its mistakes and triumphs, is over, the slate is clean.
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be...well, another shot.
(I live in the PNW, there's no guarantee the sun will actually come out. Sorry, Annie.)
4 hours ago