One mess up does not mean it’s over.
You messed up...so what! Life is all about practice. Think about anything that you have learned during your time here on this planet. Did you pick up and perfect every skill you currently possess on the first try? Did you go from crawling to running overnight? Did you pick up a golf club and swing perfectly your first time? The answer is no. These skills take practice. They take time to develop. Guess what...your health and fitness journey is no different. It takes practice.
Tying your Shoes
As an adult, when is the last time that you tried to learn something new? Maybe you tried to learn to play golf, lift weights, throw a cast net, play an instrument, or use a sewing machine. It's easy to get frustrated when we look around at people that have clearly mastered the skill that we are trying to learn. What we don't think about is how long the person that can play the piano without missing a note has been practicing. We look at the professional golfer that nails the ball everytime, and we get mad when we swing and miss. It's new. It takes practice. We aren't going to get it right on the first try and then never miss a note or make a horrible shot again.
Recently, we went through the process of teaching our daughter how to tie her shoes. She's in first grade, and she's finally grown out of the velcro sizes, so it was time to learn. I'm not sure of the last time that you tried to pick up a new skill, but I think we can all remember trying to learn how to tie our shoes or trying to teach our kids to tie their shoes. It's downright frustrating sometimes because it's a skill that you haven't practiced. It's brand new. As we were teaching Paisley to tie her shoes, one phrase came up over and over and over. It takes PRACTICE. We've practiced tying our shoes for so long now that it has become automatic. We no longer have to go through the bunny ears, take the bunny around the log, and pull through. No, we just double knot and move on.
Your health and fitness journey is no different than learning to tie your shoes. It takes practice. You aren't going to get it right the first time. You are going to "mess up." You are going to have to talk yourself through the process. You aren't going to start one day on this lifestyle journey and never face any challenges. Life happens, we make choices that aren't the best. The key is, don't give up. Keep practicing. Figure out what works, figure out what doesn't.
Mess up Doesn't = Give up
So, maybe you get that this whole healthy lifestyle thing takes practice. But, do you really get it? I heard a story on a podcast one day about playing a violin. You can relate this to any example - golf, riding a bike, walking for the first time, sewing, writing, reading, or any other life skill you currently possess.
Let's use the bike. As you were learning to ride your bike, did you hop on the first time and ride the 112 miles that you rode during your Ironman triathlon? Um...no. You had already been practicing for months or even years with training wheels. You took the training wheels off, and you went for it. Your mom or dad probably ran behind you or beside you helping to steady you and encourage you. Despite being great with training wheels, you fell. You got back up and tried again. You fell again. Maybe this time, you scraped your knee. You got back on again. You made adjustments. You rode a little longer without falling. You fell again. Eventually, you learned to ride your bike around the block or around the neighborhood, and you became efficient. You mastered the skill. Does this mean you have never fallen again? Negative. I actually had a lovely slow motion fall (in front of traffic at a busy intersection) just a few years ago. Did I give up? No, I got back on, mastered my bike clips, and I kept pushing forward.
Here's the difference in our learned skills and our health and fitness journey. In our learned skills, we didn't fall and then put the bike up for the weekend or the month, or for six months. We immediately picked back up and tried again. Why do we treat our health any different? When it comes to our health, we fall, and we tend to wait days or weeks to pick back up. We think we can do it all on our own. We shy away from people that can steady us and encourage us and teach us. We don't rely on a community, a coach, or a trainer to help keep us on track. We just give up, wait a little while, start again, and still have the expectation of mastering our health journey on the first try.
Maybe you had a crazy Wednesday and you ordered pizza for dinner. You fell off your bike. Now, instead of getting back on, you take on the attitude of "I blew it," and now you reach for the ice cream, you run through the drive through the next day, and you continue on this downward spiral through the weekend all because you had one fall. What if you just got back on the bike? What if you just acknowledged and owned the fact that you made a choice that wasn't ideal, but then you decided to make a minor adjustment and start pedaling immediately? You started over. You kept practicing. Now, that one fall doesn't set you back days or weeks. It's practice. You learn from it, you move on. You pick the bike back up and keep pedaling.
It's all about practice.
Pick up and Keep Practicing
Let's face it. As you move along your health and fitness journey, you are going to make mistakes. Josh and I have been "practicing" this lifestyle for over ten years. We still fall off the bike. It hasn't been a smooth road. We've had bumps. We've gone on vacations where we have made every bad health and fitness choice possible for five days. We are still practicing. We keep getting back on the bike. We own our choices, and we decide to learn from them.
You are going to eat junk. You are going to skip workouts. You are going to have runs and workouts that feel awful. When you find yourself in a situation where you fall off the bike, make the choice to get back on. The key is, don't wait until tomorrow, next week, or when you feel like it....get back on RIGHT NOW. Take action. Learn. Focus on your progress, not being perfect. It's like Dory said, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Next time you "mess up," don't let it define your day or your week. Get on your bike and pedal away. You'll keep getting better with every attempt.
Need a little help, motivation, or accountability? Fixed on Fitness is a community that can help encourage you to keep getting back on your bike. We have experienced trainers that are just like you. They may have mastered the skill of getting back on the bike, but they have been practicing for a long time. We would love to run beside you as you begin your ride on this road of health and fitness. Try FOF today.