Overcoming obstacles PART 1: Life isn’t always a box of chocolates
Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realise this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.– Henry Ford
It happens all the time – no matter what level you’re at – things do not always go to plan. Whether you’re 3 days or 3 months into something new, unexpected obstacles can crop up at any moment.
In May of 2015 I made the decision to quit smoking, alcohol and all the other naughties that go with it. I put my focus into my exercise, (probably for the best seeing as I was on my way to becoming a personal trainer!). I was getting fitter and stronger every week, eating the healthiest I had done in all my life and seeing incredible changes to my physique;
…and then my obstacle arrived.
I got a tattoo – I loved it! A few days after, in a frantic rush to get to work on time, I decided the best way to stop the cream from rubbing off my tattoo would be to put a sock over it. Face palm. Obviously, this beautiful work of art on my leg became an oozing, infected mess that had to be cleaned with salt water 3 times a day and to make things worse: I couldn’t sweat on it.
For the next 2 months I couldn’t exercise:
- I gained 20 pounds
- Lost the majority of my muscle definition
- Was heart-broken, having worked so hard whilst displaying a level of self-discipline I had never known before.
I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I spent the first 3 weeks having a major pity-party and sat on my ass eating pizza (I’m willing to bet this is where 15 of the 20 pounds came from). That didn’t help.
Then it finally occurred to me that sometimes in this life, shit happens, stuff just spirals out our control sometimes.
And as far as my reaction went? It didn’t have to be that way. I started using my standing desk and going to yoga again. I was walking as much as possible and stopped eating pizza every day. I told myself that it was going to be okay. This did help.
When I was finally able to exercise again, it was hard. There was a noticeable decrease in my martial arts performance, I was no longer one of the heavier female lifters at the gym and the idea of hitting my normal 30-lengths-with-no-stopping in the pool was laughable.
But, instead of looking at it emotionally, I decided to look at it in terms of a project, with simple process goals to get me back to where I wanted to be: add a slight increase to my weights on each lift, push myself harder in martial arts and try to swim for ONE extra length without stopping each time. I saw progress. Now I’m just as fit and strong as I was before, if not stronger!
All of this stemmed from a realisation that I’m in charge of my life, not the other way around.
Check back on part 2 of this article, where I will be sharing a strategy with you on how to make obstacles your bitch!
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