Sometimes it takes a lot of repeatedly doing the wrong thing before you make a real breakthrough. I can sometimes be fairly manic. I can be super charged and excited about things in my life and then I can hit very severe lows. For many, that’s normal. And for others, well, those times can be frequent and very hard to handle. Imagine not being able to pull yourself out of your slump, knowing that you should shake it off but feeling helpless to do so. It happens. What we must tell ourselves is that sometimes there are bad days, good days and even extraordinary days. We have to push through to our breakthrough.
This time of year is often extremely difficult. My general depression deepens in the winter months and it can be almost impossible to improve my general outlook on life. My mind lingers on thoughts that are better left alone and the stress of the upcoming holiday season can be a lot to handle. I’ve recently been frustrated by my weight and general well-being. I never thought that I’d ever allow myself to become so out of shape that simple things like climbing a flight of stairs or even taking a shower would become strenuous. I know, it’s funny really. The added weight and the resulting poor health seem to creep up on you. You’re so busy living life that it seems to almost hit you all at once. I recently tweeted about how I hated being fat for some of those very reasons. At one point I thought that I’d fall out of the tub as I tried to create a new way to shave. Funny as that may seem it was still some time before I’d had enough.
I wallowed in my despair. When I thought about the pounds I’ve packed on over the years and how unhappy I was, I decided to eat my feelings. So as I cried over how tired I now felt, I managed to do so while sucking down my favorite dessert, a Chick-fil-A vanilla milkshake. I’d not yet broken, it would still take some time before that final push came. There are a lot of things in life that we tolerate and even somehow accept even though we know we shouldn’t. It’s not until you have personally reached your breaking point before you’ll be compelled enough to change. Think about how often friends will encourage us and suggest that we do something different when we woefully lament about our problems. Many times we simply use them as a sounding board and pay almost little attention to their feedback. The same thing happens when you have to change a habit or do something that may require exerting energy that we’ve devoted to something else.
Everything happens in its own time. I thought that I was going to reach a point where I was just going to be upset about my weight all the time or cross over into a dangerous level of apathy. However, that wasn’t to be. It was, for me, as simple as going to Wal-Mart. Yep, a trip to Wal-Mart made gave me my “ah ha” moment and it wasn’t even a cataclysmic. In this particular case I’d stumbled across an article on the Internet about a mini stepper device. Sure, I have a treadmill but I was too lazy and unmotivated to walk down the stairs to use it. I went to Wal-Mart thinking that they’d not have what I was looking for. I was wrong. I found what I needed when I needed it. Since then I have adapted my workouts to suit my lifestyle and I’ve not put unnecessary pressure on myself. After many failed diet and exercise attempts I know that I don’t need to weigh myself. Yes, I did an initial weigh-in but that’s it. How often do we try to make a change only to go off the tracks when we don’t see the immediate results we want? Well, that happened with me and as a result of making this simple change I’ve been surprised in other ways. I’m now noticing my improved mental focus, more pep in my step and just an overall better feeling of well-being.
So the next time you beat yourself up over not changing, just know that sometimes it does take a breakthrough moment. And sometimes those moments come when you least expect it. There are plenty of times where we have to trudge through the trenches for a while. After all, it’s called life. Every day brings with it any number of challenges but you’ll overcome them in your own time, not someone else’s.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 11/12/14 issue of The Union-Recorder. It appeared under the title, “Trip to Wal-Mart Leads to ‘ah-ha’ Moment.”