When giving up is actually a step towards success

If you know anything about me, then you’d know that I’m one of those people who possesses the fine quality of an all-or-nothing mentality.  Balance and moderation are something that I constantly have to fight for, otherwise I end up finding myself hanging off the edge of one extreme…which, obviously, is never good.

Growing up, I did ballet several times a week so exercising and staying fit was something that I never really had to worry about.  However, when I left the routine of a ballet studio at the age of 15, I was suddenly faced with a world that didn’t include a workout hidden in endless hours of balletic choreography.

backstage at my last ballet show 6 years ago in 2006

I did eventually end up discovering the wonderful world of kick-boxing, cycling, running and adventure racing and it soon became an incredible adrenaline filled adventure of trail running at the crack of dawn, scurrying over mossy river rocks in the dark of night, cycling along busy highways under the heat of the sun and gaining a few battle scars along the way to prove just how hardcore I was.  It was intense, sometimes a little insane, but I loved nearly every moment of it.

climbing through a mangrove forest back in 2007

Fastforward to my gap year after secondary school and somehow my butt began to find itself on the couch a little bit more than it should have…Nearly 2 years later, here I am, unfit as ever, dreaming of the day I’ll be able to ride those 40 miles again and run uphill while carrying a heavy medicine ball.

It’s not to say that I’ve been completely inactive these past few years…it’s just that the pendulum swings back and forth.  I’ve gone from months of no exercise to working out intensely almost every day for 2 months back to no exercise then back to training for and running a 5K to once again not doing very much.  And my biggest reason for this is my all or nothing mentality – where I let missing one workout persuade me to skip another day, another week and eventually end up on the other extreme thinking that if I can’t manage an intense workout then an easier one is not worth it.

my motto

And that’s why this blog post is entitled with the odd phrase “when giving up is actually a step towards success” because somewhere within the last week or so I’ve managed to convince myself to let go of my unrealistic expectations and understand that every little thing (NO MATTER HOW LITTLE) adds up.  I won’t lie though – it actually almost hurts me to think that a half hour of walking and minimal strength training a few times a week might be all I’m able to manage at the moment (busy schedule and a bummed out knee to blame)…but I have to remember that it’s worth something.  It may not necessarily help me lose weight or run the marathon I’d someday like to do, but it’s worth more than the extra 2 hours I spend dabbling on my computer, getting minimal work done and essentially destroying my eyes.

would love to feel this adrenaline rush again! - my first 5K in 2011

So, do I feel like I’m giving up?  Well, knowing where my fitness used to be and what my body was once capable doing…yes, absolutely.  Nevertheless, when I truly reflect on it, I know that it’s just my mind struggling with the idea of starting over and feeling winded at mile 1 instead of mile 5….BUT if my journey back to fitness must start with a slow uphill climb on a treadmill – then so be it!

26.2 miles, here I come!

Do you struggle with an all-or-nothing mentality?  How do you cope with it?

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