Progress Is Not A Straight Line

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The thing about progress is that it requires patience. It is a virtue and all, right? That also means that progress requires a continual, daily decision. It’s a daily choice as to which direction your progress will be: forward or back. Sometimes forward progress stalls despite your best efforts. Sometimes you luck out and make progress without trying too hard. However, true, long-term FORWARD progress does not happen without a conscientious effort and daily decision. That means you have to make measurable goals in order to move forward.

Weight loss seems to be a common perpetual goal. Not only of my own, but of many other people I know as well. While maintaining a “healthy” weight is a great goal to have, the number on the scale really doesn’t hold as much clout as we think it does. I place “healthy” in quotations because there really is no magic number. I can be 140 lbs and 18% body fat or 140 lbs and 32% body fat. One is certainly healthier than the other. And, ironically, both have me listed in the “overweight” category of the BMI chart since I’m a whopping 5’2.

The above photo is my REAL progress chart from MyFitnessPal from 2013 through today. The spikes and dips correspond with every big event in my life–and their relationship with my health through my weight. The deep dips were big races and the reward for months of hard work. The tall spikes were life-altering negative events. I stress-eat. I stress-drink.

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I don’t stress too much about this chart, though. (Because then I would just get another spike…) But, I do find it quite interesting and relative to so many other goal quests. PROGRESS IS NOT A STRAIGHT LINE. To achieve your goal, you have to remain dedicated long after you made it. When no one is looking. When it’s 4:30am and cold. When you’ve been up all night with a crying toddler. When everything in your world appears to be falling apart inside your own head and maybe even all around you.

You have to be committed. It doesn’t mean you will soar to your goal in a straight, pretty line. It means that through the dips and the spikes, you will remain focused on what it is you are wanting to achieve–whatever that may be.

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(Photo credit to Tribay Market)

I’m sitting here writing this as I am recovering from a bout with influenza and  associated pneumonia. I’ve currently missed 4 workouts and I’m not entirely sure I’ll make the one tomorrow. You really ponder your goals and your dedication to them when you’re not feeling well and feel as if you’re unable to ever meet them. However, I know that once I’m back to it, I will get right back into my groove. I always do one way or another. It’s either an innate sense of perseverance I have or maybe it’s just pain belligerence. (Both?)

Like wanting to reach up and grab the moon, it is easy to feel as if our goals are unreachable. It’s too high. It’s too big. It’s too scary. It’s unreasonable. While literally grabbing the moon is all of those things,  this isn’t the case for most goals. Many times, our limits are only in our minds.

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If you would’ve told me four years ago that I would be an IRONMAN finisher and training for a second IRONMAN, I’d have laughed in your face. Why?   It’s too high. It’s too big. It’s too scary. It’s unreasonable.

When we feel that our “moon” is too high, too big, too scary, and unreasonable, we just have to find the right ladder to get there.

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(Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me)

It would be SO much easier if it came to you. If it was a given. If it just fell into your lap. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. You have to WORK for the things that are WORTH it.

So, the main question is: how much do you WANT it?  That’s the daily question; the daily decision. How much do you want it? Once you answer that question, the rest will find a way to happen.

DO YOU WANT IT? 

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