essentiallylogical

Archive for 2012|Yearly archive page

The Goal is to Fail

In Fitness, Thoughts on February 24, 2012 at 9:08 am

I’ve always had the mindset that I should try, try, try again until I succeed. Failure is not an option, and definitely not something that should be embraced! Today, however, I got taught otherwise.

As I was attempting to obey the commands of my new trainer, Sarah, by lying on a mat and reaching my hand toward my opposite foot (making sure to raise my shoulder blades off the mat) I whined, “It feels like I’m failing… not okay.” I had said these words without realization and with zero intention of receiving Sarah’s response that followed, “but that’s the goal.”

Huh?

I was confused, and the silly little grin on her face told me she was amused by my puzzlement. “The goal is to push yourself to failure; to push your muscles to failure.” I paused, laying on my back, staring at the ceiling and considered that for a moment. “The goal is to fail,” I repeated silently, lightly entertaining the idea before shrugging it off as ridiculous. The silence was broken by a shout of encouragement masked in imitation rage, “Go! Don’t just lay there! Keep moving!” I groaned as I lifted my right arm toward my left foot and found the two miles away from touching one another. “That’s okay. Keep going,” Sarah prompted, seeing my frustration.

As I continued, she explained. As I continued, I got worse. As I continued, I understood. It’s hard for me to admit I’m wrong, so I won’t… but I will admit she was right.

The goal is to fail. Who knew?

After heavy consideration, it makes sense, really. The goal is to compete with yourself, and push your muscles to the point of failure, because until you’ve failed you haven’t pushed yourself hard enough. If you want to get better at something you have to push yourself to your limit in an attempt to surpass it, which will 9 times out of 10 result in failure. The goal is to fail without being disappointed and when you finally succeed accept your success gracefully, but with all the enthusiasm appropriate for the occasion! And here’s the key, if the goal is failure, and you fail from pushing yourself to the breaking point, then you’ve succeeded. So 10 times out of 10, if you try, you will succeed.

It’s so hard for me, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, to accept failure as a step in the right direction and ultimately a success. It’s humbling for me to recognize my pride is a great deal of what keeps me from succeeding. What do I have to be prideful over? Absolutely nothing. So I’ll take Sarah’s urging to “Go! Keep moving!” and embrace failure, and ultimately humility, as the goal.

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“You can feel SORE tomorrow or you can feel SORRY tomorrow. You choose.”

In Fitness, God on February 22, 2012 at 4:37 pm

A year ago I got a gym membership and started training to run 26.2 miles in an effort to complete my 2011 new year’s resolution to “be fit and run a marathon”. I’m happy to announce that I still have a gym membership and successfully completed the 2011 Portland Marathon; running 18.2 miles and walking 8 miles (due to a knee injury induced by my own poor training)! After completing 26.2 miles two months after my 26th birthday, I am finally the proud owner of one of those white oval “26.2” stickers on the back right window of my little SUV. Now when I pass by other drivers with similar stickers I feel like we should have a secret wave or honk… but they just drive by as if running 26.2 miles was easy or something.

This year my new year’s resolution started something like, “I will not run a marathon in 2012 (or ever again)” and continued with, “but I resolve to eat well and workout often so that I am confident in myself. I also resolve to spend time alone with God; reading, praying and journaling.”

Every morning I wake up a half an hour earlier than I would like to and spend time alone with God. I read a devotional, dip into a few advised verses of the bible, journal about what I just learned and then pray (if the mood strikes me). Praying is something I find difficult to do, and if we’re all honest with ourselves, I think most people find it a bit uncomfortable, or at least unnatural, to speak to something/someone unseen. The key is to do it often, until it becomes more fluid. Speaking to a stranger about your deepest darkest secrets isn’t comfortable, so why do we tend to think praying irregularly will be any different?

With regards to the fitness portion of my resolution, I set foot in the gym about four times a week, and yet I am not fully confident in myself and, more specifically, my figure, not because I am unfit or unattractive (there isn’t meant to be an ounce of full-of-myself in that), but because I know I can be better. Like many women, I know that if I was more aware of the things I choose to eat and I was motivated to spend more time working harder at the gym (or outside) I could be more physically fit and attractive (in my own eyes, most importantly) and be healthier all around. So, yes, I’ve been going to the gym four days a week and eating well (at least on the week days), but I’m not working very hard at it. I need to stop competing against others and start competing against myself. Working out four times a week, though I have time to be working out six times a week is like not praying, though I have time every day to do so. Just because I go to the gym four times more often each week than any other member of my family, and twice as often as my coworkers, doesn’t mean it isn’t an excuse to just be “good enough”.

I don’t want to be “good enough”. I want to be great. I want to look great. I want to feel great. I want to look back at tomorrow every day and think, “That was totally worth it. I don’t regret that. That glorified God.” and maybe even, “I’m going to try to do better than that today, but that was better than before. Good job!”

I often treat today like it’s the last day I’ll be able to eat candy because I’m going to be so strict in the future I may never get another M & M, but that’s like breaking all ten commandments at least once before I get baptized because I will be so strict in the future I may never get to yell at my parents or have pre-marital sex again. It’s only hurting myself. I can always eat whatever I want, but I choose not to have a whole medium pizza and box of girl-scout cookies for lunch (somoas are so good, though). I can always be active, but I choose to sit on the couch and watch episodes of NCIS I’ve already seen and movies I can quote line for line on sunny Saturdays. I can always do whatever I want, but I choose to do what glorifies God, because God is my source of joy. I can feel sore tomorrow or I can feel sorry tomorrow. This year, I’ve resolved to be sore, but it’s going to be worth it. You’ll see.