If you’re anything like me, you’ve made a mistake or two in your life. Come to think of it, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t screw something up. This leads to a constant cycle of restarting things that I do to correct my mistakes and try to get back on the path of righteousness. Whether it’s running out the door first thing in the morning and being forced to turn back because I forgot my work phone, or ending a relationship and re-building my life as single Kathie again, I constantly feel defeated by this process. However, it came to my attention today that even though it doesn’t seem like it in the moment, every time I have to start from the beginning, I actually am making progress.
Following a disgusting 5 day holiday bender of wine, sweets and enough carbs to kill someone, I decided this week to “get right with the Lord,” as I like to call it. This marks approximately 9,000 times I have done this. I bought a bounty of groceries, prepped a weeks worth of healthy meals and laid out a new and motivating exercise plan. Today is day 1, and while I’m still hanging in there, it won’t be long until I sabotage myself. I can tell by the way my palms started sweating and slobber dribbled from the corners of my mouth over the sight of a Little Caesars commercial. So, just before starting this article, I was tracking my macros and logging my weight statistics in MyFitnessPal and I was feeling very angry with myself. “If you had just stuck with this in 2014 and saw it through you could be competing in bikini division fitness competitions right now, you fat turd.” (That’s how I conduct healthy conversation with myself.) “Now you have to start all over again from scratch!” At that moment I was updating my goals and saw where my beginning weight was listed when I first got the app. December 2016- I was 167.5 lbs. Almost 2 years exactly and I am 20lbs lighter. In spite of all my failures and backtracking, I made a decision to get healthier and I somehow, by the grace of god, have done it.
Each time I start something new and feel like this time I will succeed, inevitably I fail. But by golly, I get back up. I will break down and eat pizza and drink wine, probably this weekend. I will run out the door and forget something and have to backtrack and start my day all over again. And hopefully one day I will fall in love again, this time with the right person, but right now I’m 0 for 3 so chances aren’t great. I find my failures and inability to ‘complete’ something to be my biggest flaw and it infuriates me.
However, this is what life is all about. None of us have any idea what we’re doing, especially me, and this inevitably leads to what we can perceive as a lifetime of disappointments. But it’s all about how you handle your failures and move forward from them. No matter the circumstances, each time I falter I am blessed with a lesson to help me grow as a human being. It is up to me to decide whether I want to set myself further and further back by continuing to make the same mistakes, or will I put one foot in front of the other, take it as a lesson learned and push myself to do better next time. Like with my weight, it’s hard to see these things because daily it’s such small progress. But if you truly set your mind to a decision and stick to it, eventually you can look back and the results will be revealed. What great motivation that is to work even harder!
My greatest life lessons have been learned from my biggest “failures,” and in hindsight, as painful as they were to go through at the time, I wouldn’t change them. You see, it doesn’t matter how many times you have to start over. If you are learning, you are growing, whether you see it or not. Make a decision and take a stance in your life. Set goals and standards for yourself and strive toward them no matter what comes your way. Will you achieve these goals on your first try? Probably not. The key is to not wallow in the misery of the failure, to lay down with the negativity and let it bury you alive. Leave it in the past where it belongs, accept that you can’t change what has happened and now you know better and will do better. Starting anew shouldn’t be seen as something to be embarrassed by. It should be celebrated with excitement that we are being given the opportunity to right our wrongs and become better from them.
So whether you’re coming off of a cheat day/month/year on your diet, or going through a divorce or fighting an addiction or WHATEVER– cheers to starting over, all over again! Keep moving forward no matter how many mistakes you make. Eventually we’ll all get where we’re supposed to be.