I’m on Day Three of dealing with some back pain that has kept me pretty inactive.
I went a little too hard yesterday — teaching a fitness class, training some clients and loading up some new shelves into my car. Today I’m just staying home.
Being home doesn’t bother me. I can almost work just as easily here as I can the office. What bothers me is that just as I was getting back in a routine to lose those extra pounds I put on while going way too hard — in another way — on the holidays, I’m now on the sideline.
Whether it’s an injury, or sick baby or a crazy deadline at work, it’s always frustrating when something knocks us off our tracks, especially when we were just making it a habit.
What makes it worse, then, is that it’s so easy to allow the space for a bad habit to enter.
This is what I’m fighting back against.
I was working out again almost every day and now that I’ve had four or five days off in a row, it’s going to be even harder to hop back on that bike — or soccer field, or weight room — tomorrow.
Whether it’s trying to lose weight, save money, finally finish that book, or stop drinking, when we get knocked off track like this, it’s super easy to get discouraged.
But there is good news.
“Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.”
(I’m stealing that from a Penelope Cruz line from the movie “Vanilla Sky.” I’m not sure if she said it in the original version, “Abre los ojos”)
When that negative voice in our head starts beating us up for falling behind, we tend to fall further and further behind and maybe even think of giving up.
But each passing minute is a chance to hop back on. It’s really that simple.
It’s not “easy,” but it is simple.
Here are some steps that I take to convince myself:
Decide to hop back on track as soon as I am able to.
When my back is better and I feel confident to move, I will do so immediately. The word “decide” comes from the Latin word “decidere” and means to “cut” or “kill” (caedere) “off” (de). When we decide to do something, we cut off any other possibilities. Then I have to have the discipline to establish my pattern again and the best way is to schedule it.
Let go of the grip I have on what I cannot control.
I can, and should, work to be preventative and reduce the risk of things happening that might knock me out of my patterns. But the reality is: shit happens sometimes. That’s just way the cookie crumbles. There are things out of our control — most things, I would argue — and beating ourselves up about that which we can’t control is a futile exercise. And slightly insane.
Focus on the long game and don’t measure growth daily.
So often we focus on the micro picture — daily losses and gains, which are often sporadic — it keeps our emotions fluctuating just as sporadically. All that really matters is that we are making overall progress in the big picture. We should measure how much weight we lost (or how much money we’ve saved, etc.) in monthly or even yearly intervals. As long as we are trending the way we want to, we are being successful.
Ultimately, this is just a combination on all the things I’ve learned over the past year or two.
And that makes sense, because what allows us to be successful in any endeavor is usually the same or similar anything else we are trying to achieve.
The common denominator is consistency.
Whatever strategies we can use to be consistent, set up habits, and specifically break up the patterns of self-doubt and discouragement, we need to implore.
Get up, dust yourself off, forgive yourself, and get back on the train.
Rain Bennett is a two time Emmy-nominated filmmaker, fitness professional, public speaker, and writer. His mission is simple: to help people realize that they too can be great, no matter where they come from or what they start with. It just takes passion, persistence, and a plan.
Bennett directed and produced his first feature length documentary in true indie fashion by traveling the world with only a backpack and a Canon DSLR camera. That film, Raise Up: The World is Our Gym won “Best of the Fest” at the Hip Hop Film Festival NYC and received global distribution through Red Bull Media House. He’s been featured in publications like Men’s Health and Sports Business Global and is a regular contributor to Breaking Muscle. When he’s not making movies or training clients at Sync Studio in Durham, he’s hosting a new webseries called The Perfect Workout Show.