Progress, Not Perfection

It has taken me most of the day to think of the words I wanted to use in this post. It’s hard to write a post like this without coming off arrogant or prideful. However, I feel it’s important to touch on the matter of motivation and other emotional setbacks that are naturally a part of the lifestyle change I’ve made. Sometimes I think a lot of people on the “outside” get caught up in what meets the eye and tend to overlook what a lot of us experience mentally and emotionally when we’re training for a fitness goal. The reason I’m touching on the topic is because I went through an emotional setback of my own this week, but felt proud and like I reached a breakthrough point in my training and lifestyle, overall.

It’s hard to open up about things like this, but I feel like sharing my feelings may help others when they feel like they’re slipping mentally, or perhaps feeling like their heart isn’t in their goal 100% on a given day. Earlier this week, I experienced some pretty heavy feelings of doubt, negativity, and basically found myself questioning why I even chose this lifestyle: What am I trying to prove? What if I place poorly? What if I stop seeing improvements? In addition to these interior emotions, I have been going through some difficult things in my personal life, which can take their own toll on the mental aspect of training.

Even though I was feeling all these different things, I stayed on track with my lifting and cardio. During my workouts, I pushed myself to simply complete them. Not only did my workouts get done, I ended up reaching personal bests every single day this week. Throughout the week I didn’t think much of my small achievements, I was just trying to focus on staying on track and be in the gym when I was supposed to be.

This morning when I woke up for my routine Sunday cardio, I have to admit that it crossed my mind for a split second to skip my run and go back to bed. I battled and continued to talk myself up, knowing that I set a goal for myself to improve my time on this route as much as I could within 4 weeks. The screen shots below tell you about my stats during my run each week.

run1

run2

run3

 run4

After today’s run, not only did I throw up (for the first time ever in my history of athletics participation), but I also cried. I cried because I felt like I had finally, after struggling all week, reached the point of breakthrough where my negative emotions were proven wrong by my own achievements and perseverance. The things I accomplished during my weight training throughout the week helped what I accomplished during my cardio today. The point of the big picture is that I kept my eyes on the prize, and I continued to better myself and improve what my body can do, because I didn’t let my negative emotions get the best of me. At the conclusion of my run today, I was able to feel proud about what I had accomplished and proud that I didn’t let a couple of bad days hold me back from doing the best I can.

Despite the bad days and regardless of the things that are out of your control, always remember to honor where you came from by completing your task, even if you walk across the finish line. I hope that sharing my own insecurities and weaknesses can help the next person when they feel doubtful or unsure of the path they’ve chosen. The only person I strive to be better than is myself and that applies to each and every day of my life. Take things one step at a time, and realize that life is all about progress, not perfection.

-TJ
xo

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