Too many people let their past failures define them. They dieted before and failed, so they believe they are doomed to never lose weight. They joined a gym before and quit going, so they fear they’ll just waste their money again the next time. They have a tendency to be lazy, selfish, and lack self control, so they fear they will always be lazy, selfish and lack self control. This type of thinking uses past failures to sabotage tomorrow’s successes.
My grandmother once quoted Barbara Johnson, an encouraging author known for helping women have hope and joy in discouraging times, saying, “Worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.” Focusing on past failures causes us to worry about continuing to be a failure, and Barbara reminds us worrying wastes time and interferes with tomorrow’s opportunities.
Free From Failure
What we think about is a choice. We have the choice to think about all the mistakes we’ve made, and what mistakes we could make in the future OR we can think about changing our actions, breaking the cycle, becoming the person we want to be, learning from our mistakes and succeeding. Sure, it’s easy to look at the facts. Believe me, I know about failure. I remember paying for a gym membership for 2 years and never going. Did that stop me from joining a gym again? No. The next time I went a little more than the first. I continued to join gyms until I found the one that kept me going, and I learned to make working out a part of my life, and not an option.
Of course, this is just one type of failure. There are much worse failures than just wasting a gym membership or quitting a diet. However, the application applies to all failures. Just the same way you can list off all the good reasons you’re sure you could fail again (where statistics could help prove your point), I can shoot off some statistics of my own that prove you could succeed.
Aim for Success
I have countless encounters with people who have never had weight loss success who joined our gym, or did a boot camp, and got the results they wanted after many failed attempts. I could remind you of all the failed relationships who decided to never give up and who made it – stronger and better than they ever hoped. We can look at all the countless men and women in history that led lives of failure, but are remembered for their great successes because they didn’t let their failures define them or stop them from continuing to try to become a success.
No matter what your struggle is today, decide now to accept your failures as HISTORY. You can be a failure yesterday and be a success today. Be a success for several days in a row, and before you know it you ARE a success.
No matter how bad you were on Thanksgiving, no matter how much you’ve let your workouts slip, no matter how many poor mistakes you’ve made with your finances or relationships, decide to stop making the mistakes that haunt you, decide to think about the possibilities if you succeed, and and decide to make this week a successful week!
What if he quit trying?
“This was a man who failed in business at the age of 21; was defeated in a legislative race at age 22; failed again in business at age 24; overcame the death of his sweetheart at age 26; had a nervous breakdown at age 27; lost a congressional race at age 34; lost a senatorial race at age 45; failed in an effort to become vice-president at age 47; lost a senatorial race at age 49; and was elected president of the United States at age 52.”
This man was Abraham Lincoln.
“I have failed over and over, and that is why I succeed” Abraham Lincoln.
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Wikipedia explains the Second Wind as “a phenomenon in distance running, such as marathons or road running (as well as other sports), whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance with less exertion. The feeling may be similar to that of a “runner’s high“, the most obvious difference being that the runner’s high occurs after the race is over. Some scientists believe the second wind to be a result of the body finding the proper balance of oxygen to counteract the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles. Others claim second winds are due to endorphin production, while still others believe it to be purely psychological.”
It really doesn’t matter where our second wind comes from, what matters is knowing it will come. Whether we are talking about fitness or life, sadly, many people never get to experience the second wind because they give up too soon. No one ever said weight loss would be easy. No one says that life is easy, so why are we so surprised when things get tough? If we plan to run a marathon, we know it’s going to be a long grueling haul. Weight loss is a marathon of sorts. So is marriage, our career, raising kids, and maintaining friendships. They all require a certain intense level of commitment – a commitment to the finish.
If you plan to do a race, you plan to finish. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go, the goal is to cross the finish line. Sadly, many people give up on their goals, hopes and dreams as soon as things get tough. I want to encourage you today, you WILL get a second wind – but you don’t get a second wind before the pain sets in. You don’t get a second wind before you run out of breath, or before your body shuts down. No! You get a second wind AFTER you begin to feel defeated. AFTER you’ve been on a plateau for too long. AFTER you’ve cried and started to doubt if you could “do this”. AFTER your mind starts turning on you. The second wind DOES come, but it doesn’t come when things are going smooth. It comes right when you need it the most …in the very last possible hour.
Test Yourself. Don’t miss your second wind because you choose not run long enough in your first one. Train hard. The more you reach the point of needing a second wind, the less doubt you will have that the second wind will come because you’ve experienced it before. However, if you quit every time something gets hard, you won’t have the past experiences to encourage you in your next race.
Never Give Up.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Here is some motivation for the person who is close to giving up! For that person who has doubt – whether they doubt themselves, doubt the system, doubt their trainer, doubt their capability to change, doubt their loved ones or doubt their faith. Let Perseverance FINISH it’s work in YOU.
It’s perseverance that develops you, grows you, matures you, and you can’t have perseverance if you give up.
Perseverance: noun \ˌpər-sə-ˈvir-ən(t)s\ Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.
Perseverance is not enduring something for nothing. It’s maintaining a continued effort for a prize. The prize may be tangible, the prize maybe self growth, the prize may be relief, the prize may be weight loss, the prize may be bigger stronger faith, but there WILL be a prize. Because of this, you can “consider all trials as joy because you KNOW that the testing of your faith produces perseverance ” (James 1:2-3). Perseverance produces changes you cannot experience any other way.
What perseverance IS (Synonyms):
- Keep on
- Carry on
- Keep trying
- Stick with it
What perseverance IS NOT (Antonyms)
- Give up
Are You a Survivalist or Warrior?
I believe there are different levels of perseverance. There is the kind where you just go into survival mode, and let life happen around you. You do the same things you did to get you to where you are, but you aren’t changing, you aren’t moving. And then there is the kind of perseverance where you are not just surviving, and avoiding the bombs going off around you, but you are at WAR – being proactive to fight the enemy and come out a winner. You are doing all you can do to do the right thing. You aren’t doing the bear minimum. You aren’t just trying to get by one more day. You are a fighter. You are trying to conquer ‘this’ – not just SURVIVE the battle, but WIN.
I challenge you to look deeply at why you are where you are. Whether your weight isn’t budging, or you are dealing with life issues, you may have more trials (and have to persevere longer than necessary) if you are just living in survival mode instead of warrior mode.
How often do we let what’s convenient rob us of our progress? Wether it’s making that uncomfortable phone call to mend a relationship, return the grocery cart to where it belongs, go to church even though you can watch it online, eat out less so you can afford the gym membership you want , or eat healthy even though it takes more time and energy to prepare. Doing what’s right requires sacrifice.
However, we often do what’s convenient, not what’s right. Convenience is the thief that robs us of experiencing a much richer life. We make many poor decisions based on convenience, often letting our life lead us instead of us leading our life.
I think back to meeting Steve. There was absolutely nothing convenient about our date life. If I wanted to see him, I’d often have to stop by his job at “The Moon” (a night club in Tallahassee) just so I could look at him from a distance while he was keeping the peace as a bouncer. (This is a photo of us on Halloween night, about a month after we met. Steve, in his bright yellow MOON shirt, and me looking ridiculous in a French Maid costume. So original – NOT!. haha)
If Steve wanted to see me, he had to fit it in around his 3 jobs, school, workouts, and studying. As a bouncer, he would get off at 2 or 3 in the morning 3-4 days a week. Every saturday night, he’d drive clear across town to my parents house to sleep on the floor in their band room just so he could wake up and go to the early church service with me the next morning before going to his next job.
If I wanted more time with him, I’d ride with him on the way to work just for 20 extra minutes with him a day. I would also meet him at the gym just so we could workout at the same time because, even though we didn’t workout together, it was worth it to me to coordinate our workouts just for the chance to see his face, say a few words and get a quick kiss.
The bottom line is when we REALLY want something, we don’t care if it’s convenient or not. Convenience has no power over us. When we are focused, determined, driven…we are never too lazy, too tired, too poor, too busy.
If you have made some recent decisions (big or small) based on what was convenient, maybe you don’t want whatever you think you wanted as badly as you thought. OR, you need to decide now that you are no longer going to let “the thief” rob you any longer.
Of course, I realize there is some practicality behind doing what is convenient, but if convenience is leading your life – that probably means YOU are not.
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”. James 4:17
Albert Einstein once said “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Isn’t that how all rewards work? Greatness doesn’t happen overnight – and the person that reaches greatness is the last man standing.
People like Albert Einstein succeed, not because they try, but because they don’t give up on continuing to try. They try, try, and try again – no matter what the result is. That means you have to be ready for failure, because you know good and well you won’t succeed the first time around – and probably not the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th time either.
A person, like Einstein, has to embrace failures, obstacles, roadblocks and problems. They have to be OK to be “in the middle of it”, even when they don’t see how they’ll get through it – yet. Much like solving an equation, training and dieting takes a certain level of problem solving. It requires troubleshooting, tweaking, analyzing, redoing, trying it one way, trying it another way…until you get the results you want.
You can’t get mad when one formula doesn’t work. You just have to try another one, until you find what works for you. And, no matter how frustrated you get, you can celebrate that you are getting stronger, wiser and smarter in the process.
Note, Einstein refers to his work as “problems”. He had physics problems, we may have weight problems. Either way, we can learn from his statement. We can all be like Albert Einstein, and be smarter, stronger, better – simply because we refuse to give up.
Read more Einstein Quotes at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/albert_einstein.html#PXK739ZJZCz1p85M.99
It’s that time of year when life is hectic and when I find it hard to shift gears, and get my head into my workouts. It’s hard enough to just show up, but then to actually have a good workout when my mind is thinking of all the things that need to be done, it can make any workout a challenge.
Then I got to thinking. I need to just focus on one thing and one thing only – just showing up. Even if I’m just going through the motions and I’m not “feeling it”, it doesn’t matter. Consistency is the most powerful aspect of fitness. Inconsistency will always be the biggest obstacle. So, if I can just keep showing up, I can be a winner no matter how I perform.
Every workout doesn’t have to make magic, it has to make movement. I just need to keep my body moving and keep my routine going. Yesterday was the perfect example of this. I was in no mood to workout. I wanted SO bad to just run home and curl up on the couch and pout after a crappy day.
When Life Happens, I Have 2 Choices:
1.) I can let life affect my workout OR
2.) I can let my workout affect my life.
I’d like to say that was the end of my bad mood, but it wasn’t. I started my workout with lat pull-downs. Here is basically how my workout went First Set: “Not feeling this”. Second Set: “This is going to be a crappy workout”. Third Set: “I hate working back”. Fourth Set: “I wonder if I should just blow this whole thing off”.
Then came bent over rows, then a crummy phone call that almost had me packing my bags. Instead, I walked back out on the floor to finish. Off for some Hammer Strength pull downs, “Why am I here?” then lat rows. “Ok, Back done. Glad that’s over”. Now on to chest. Bench press begins. I feel strong, but at least I’m over the hump and I’m not stopping. I continue on with 3 other chest exercises – all less than amazing. Finally, I decided I should get in a little cardio too. It was slow and lame, but at this point I realized I am a rockstar for just showing up and doing it despite how I felt. THAT’s when it hit me. Just showing up can be pretty impressive on a day like that.
Who really cares about how fast you run or how much you lift? Not many people. However, someone that shows up day after day, dedicated and determined to get, or stay, fit no matter what life throws their way. Now, I think there should be a gold medal for that!
So in the end, I walked out of the gym a champion – and you can too. Keep Showing Up.
Even if we know what we want, we can’t achieve it overnight. We will have set backs and interruptions. There will be uncomfortable times, sometimes even down right painful times, as if someone hit the pause button at the wrong time in a movie. Ironically, there are even times where we are tempted to hang out in our mini-victories along the way, just long enough to get a little too comfortable and complacent. No matter what is slowing you down, unfortunately, there is never a fast forward button in real life to catch you up after you get behind. You have to endure the good, the bad and the ugly if you want to get to the end.
The key to success is not strength and it’s not speed, it’s perseverance – staying steady and strong. Our fitness life is like a long distance run. We don’t have to be the fastest or the strongest, we just have to finish and do our very best with what we have. This means, no matter what slows us down, all that matters is we stay in the race.
If you’ve fallen off your diet or you’ve allowed things to get in the way of your training, you just pick up where you left off and keep moving forward, at whatever pace you are able – but you never, ever quit.
I don’t know why we even waste our time looking for the easy way. I mean, when has anything easy really paid off? Honestly, for me? Never.
Think of it like childbirth. The birthing process, from what I understand, is not fun. However, it is very rewarding. When we are training, it’s like carrying a baby. We are growing a new physique, creating a new you. Like pregnancy, it also takes time and patience – and it can be a very long, uncomfortable journey.
There’s another similarity, and that’s how we feel the closer we get to the “due date”. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a pregnant mom, in her 8th month of pregnancy, say she hoped she went full term. Moms are normally very ready to get that baby out of there.
Hang in there!
In the same way, as you get closer to your goal weight, it’s easy to get impatient. Besides, you’ve been working toward this for months now – it’s time! No matter how read you are, no matter how tired you are, or no matter how discouraged you are, it’s super important you see it through.
It may be hard, it may be scary, you may fear failing, and you may wonder if you have what it takes – but whatever you do, don’t abort your goals. Take it all the way! Why? Because great things rarely ever easy, but they are ALWAYS worth it!
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Bonnie: A Misty Moment Photography
Woman in Labor: Crazy Pregnancy
Baby in Belly: Free Picture Prompts
How many great things would you have missed if you didn’t show up?
How many times have you worked hard and done all the right things, for what seems like a lifetime, with little to no results? We may admit to making some improvements – but no matter how far we have come, it is so incredibly easy to get discouraged. It’s so easy to focus on how far we have to go, instead of far we’ve come.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but some topics just need to be addressed over and over again – and this is one of them. Whether we’re talking about the last 5lbs of fat or losing 100lbs – the end goal can seem like eternity when you are focused on a goal. Sometimes, quite frankly, I’m often tempted to just give up – and yesterday was one of those days for me.
Then it hit me. Have I become obsessed with my goal or am I just determined to get there? And what is the difference? I concluded that when you are determined, you are focused on a goal without losing focus of the rest of your life. However, obsession is focusing on a goal to the point you lose focus of everything else. If you are determined, you should become more disciplined and in control – not lose control.
Even though I feel it’s important to keep your goals within site, the main focus should be what you are able to do now. I believe you can get so overwhelmed with what needs to be done, it can paralyze you. This happens in marriage, work, fitness, relationships and in life in general.
The answer? Just Keep Showing Up! That was the answer a guy gave his coworker when asked how he’s stayed married so long – and honestly, it is so true. Sometimes the answer to success isn’t some majorly complicated philosophical response – sometimes it’s “just show up”.
If you are tired of being stuck at a plateau in your weight, or maybe you feel your job or marriage is not meeting your expectations, let me encourage you to keep showing up. You can’t win a race unless you show up – and you surely can’t experience victories in life if you don’t show up. There are so many wonderful things that happen to those who show up.
Just Keep Showing Up Photo: by A Misty Moment.