There has been something on my heart lately, and I feel compelled to share it with you.
At Maple Tree, our mission is to improve the quality of lives of those battling cancer. One of the primary ways we go about fulfilling this mission is by teaching people how to lead a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and exercise. To this end, we offer individualized exercise training, nutrition education, online programs, and different challenges to motivate you to action.
But getting started is just the beginning.
In fact, dare I say, getting started is easy.
In the beginning you are motivated to make a change. You might even be a little excited. Being intentional comes naturally and small wins help you stay the course.
But somewhere along the way, life happens.
Something happens to throw you off course.
Maybe it is a splurge on vacation. Maybe an office birthday party. A cookout. A bad day where the absolute only way you can see to get through is to drown yourself in ice cream.
It’s okay, I have been there!
When life throws us off course, it is so easy to give into the temptation to just give up.
I struggle with this, too.
By nature, I am a perfectionist.
Yes, I am biased…BUT I do think there are some goodthings about this character trait. For one thing, it believe it is what has motivated me to do the work necessary to ensure Maple Tree delivers high quality, evidenced-based exercise programming. This is what makes us leaders in this space, and the reason why I am pushing so hard to grow Maple Tree on a national scale.
However, there are some downsides to being a perfectionist.
For starters, I have found that I tend to procrastinate things that are really important to me. This is because I want to do such a great job on them that fears of inadequacy creep in and nearly paralyze me from ever even starting.
Next, when I finally do take that leap, I hold myself to standards that are nearly impossible to attain.
As an example, I went to a conference earlier this year where I was challenged to create an “Ideal Day” schedule. Essentially, this involves scheduling every single one of my responsibilities, commitments, chores, activities, etc into the perfect time frame each day. That way, if everything goes according to this “Ideal Day” plan, I will be able to accomplish everything on my list – finish all the projects, answer all the emails, spend time with all the people, do all the self care, do all the exercise, eat all the vegetables, answer all the texts, help with all the homework, do all the laundry…..you get the picture.
I spent hours putting together this Ideal Day. Literally, hours. I was so proud of it when I finished that I even put it inside one of those page protectors to keep it from getting smudged and crinkled.
And on Day 1, I woke up at the exact time I was supposed to wake up. For the most part, I stuck to my scheduled time for each item on my list. That day, I did all.the.things.
Day 2 was similar. I was so proud of myself that I had a hard time falling asleep that night.
Then came Day 3.
As mentioned, I couldn’t sleep. Then, when I finally did fall asleep – I kid you not – I was woken up 4 different times by 3 different children. My kids have all slept through the night for the last 2 years, so being up at night was NOT something I was accustomed to anymore.
So, as you can guess, when my alarm went off the next morning at 5:00 am to begin Ideal Day number 3, I hit the snooze button so fast that I practically broke my alarm.
Needless to say, I did not stick to my Ideal Day Schedule that day.
Then, because I wasn’t perfect at my Ideal Day anymore, I decided that it was too difficult to continue to even try, so I gave up.
Just like that.
A few months later, I listened to a podcast by the same speaker who encouraged me to try the Ideal Day Schedule about his plight with the Ideal Day Schedule. What he said SHOCKED me.
He said that he sticks to his Ideal Day Schedule about 85-90% of the time.
Not 100% of the time. It wasn’t an all-or-nothing plan.
It was just that – a plan. A plan that required flexibility and space for life to happen.
Because life does happen.
And when it does, it does not have to veer us off course forever. We can have our moment, re-calibrate, and keep going.
Just because we can’t be perfect at something, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t even try.
If this resonates with you, and you’ve given up on a dream or a goal because life got in the way….I want to encourage you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going.
Remember WHY you set that goal in the first place.
I believe God puts dreams in our hearts to fulfill His purpose for our lives. Not to frustrate us.
Achieving our dreams WILL be hard. We should expect obstacles along the way. But this should not deter us from fulfilling our destiny.
Find someone to help hold you accountable. Give this person permission to speak Truth into your life and encourage you to get back on track.
Identify the obstacles in your way and think of ways around these obstacles. You can do this!!
Finally, embrace your weaknesses. After all, you’re only human. If it weren’t for your weaknesses, you would never recognize your strengths! As a Christian, I’ve learned to pray and ask God to help me overcome obstacles in my path. In His Word, He teaches us that where we are weak, He is strong (2 Cor 12:9-11)!
So, keep going. You’ve got a lot of fight left in you!