Monday, December 9, 2013

Falling Off the Wagon

Once upon a time we were headed down the road for a family vacation. We had packed and saved and researched and by golly! we were headed to the beach.  Unfortunately, we missed a turn and didn't immediately notice. By the time we figured it out, we decided that this trip just wasn't worth it and we gave up.

NOT!  That sounds like a ridiculous thing to do, doesn't it?  If you miss a turn while driving, you will either turn around or wait a few seconds while your GPS recalculates and then get back on track.

Have you ever seen kids pulling each other in a wagon?  As I remember it, someone inevitably falls out. Sometimes that kid will sit on the ground and cry.  The wagon keeps getting farther and farther away.  That kid is having no fun at all! Sometimes the kid will run after the wagon, chasing it down and jumping back in.  That kid is usually laughing the whole way.

I have been thinking about the phrase "falling off the wagon" lately.  There are so many areas of my life I am trying to improve: eating better, keeping a cleaner house, mothering more patiently, exercising more.  Each time I put one of these goals in my head and start to work on it, it seems that life gets crazy and for some reason or another I have to take a break or give up on a goal.  I have fallen off the wagon.

In the next instance I have a choice. I can choose to sit on the ground and cry about why my clothes don't fit or why my house is a mess, or why my kids don't listen; but I can tell you those things get me no where!  Sometimes it's fun to grouse about things going wrong and getting messed up.  You can get a whole group of people together nodding away and reinforcing your capitulation. But the problem is that those people who are theoretically supporting you are actually helping you fail! Not intentionally, of course, but by nodding along while you complain they are helping you to stay stuck.
I promise! This stuff is no longer in my living room. (It has made room for other stuff, though!)

The reality is that I need to get back up and chase down that wagon.  I'm likely not going to be laughing and giggling, but I am going to catch it and I am going to begin making forward progress again.  It's oftentimes very slow and steady progress, but progress nonetheless.

I have come to realize that each time I have set my eyes on a goal, gotten distracted, given up and then re-motivated myself to try again; I have been a tiny step closer to my goal at the onset of each attempt.  My house is never "company-ready," but it's a little tiny bit better than it used to be.  Each time I try to get it organized a new little habit manages to stick that makes it a miniscule bit easier to start again.

The other thing I have is a great friend.  There are some nights that I text Julie and say, "I am so tired I just want to sit on the couch and veg."  Occasionally Julie will respond with a "me too!"  But 99% of the time, she will instruct me to go do 10 minutes of exercise and a 5 minute chore before I totally give up for the day.  Whether she intends it or not, that 15 minutes helps to get me back on track and keep going.  She can motivate me in a way that other people can't and I am so thankful for her inspiration in my life.

So here I am, wearing pants with a tight waistband in a house that needs some work, trying to get myself up to run after that wagon and jump back on.  I refuse to give up on these things. Being sidetracked is not an excuse to give up.  I will lose those 5 pounds! I will get my house under control! I will raise well-behaved considerate children!  It just might not be this year.

How about you? What do you need some motivation to help you with?  Do you have a friend you helps keep you going?  Write down one goal and one tiny step you can take towards it today.  And then DO IT!

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