Monthly Challenge 3.3: Grace to fail

Hey friends! Thanks for checking back on my fitness progress. This week, it got real, and in the hopes of inspiring you I want to share my struggle.

Tuesday through Thursday morning went as planned, with me drinking water regularly, increasing my workouts in the morning, and doing my workouts at night. The Nike ones were pretty brutal this week. I was halfway through my workout Thursday night when I finally cracked. It felt inevitable, after going from not exercising at all to working out 11 times a week. I was determined, but miserable.

I knew this challenge wouldn’t be easy for me in lots of ways – it’s physical, it’s a big time commitment, and I really don’t enjoy it. What I didn’t realize was that this challenge would take an emotional toll on me as well. While I did dance and cheerleading for much of my life, I never did any “real” sports. I found much of my identity in everything but exercise – being an A student, choir, drama, art, church. Many of my friends love sports and almost everyone I know loves working out or at least doing outdoorsy things like hiking. Not me. I never could relate and always felt lesser when comparing myself to them, because it seems everyone in my life likes at least some part of that world.

It all came out when my sweet husband came out in the middle of my workout and told me I was doing a great job. I immediately burst into tears, because I fundamentally just felt like a big failure. I wasn’t doing a great job, I wasn’t seeing improvement, and I knew that I would probably never ever in my life enjoy or be good at this. The perfectionist in me was running myself into the ground because I told the internet I would do it, dang it.

After I calmed down a bit, I had to face the fact that for me this challenge is much more than another hobby to try. It’s also a challenge in giving myself grace when I fail and when I feel less than. Yes, God desires for me to live a healthy lifestyle and to take care of my body. But he also didn’t create me with a love for running, or hiking, or climbing stairs. And I have to hold both of those things together. I have to keep going and pushing myself, but I need to give myself grace so that when I fail, I can take a breather and then get back up again.

And that’s exactly what I did. After a short break, I ended up hiking Crystal Cove for Matt’s birthday on Saturday. I did the hike a few years ago and remember it being pretty difficult! It was pretty rough up a steep incline at one part, but overall I had much better stamina than the last time. Although it wasn’t necessarily a fun experience, I did feel encouraged that I didn’t totally feel like I was going to die, like I usually do on hikes.

So in an effort to be more realistic, I have adjusted my goals a bit! I will still workout in the morning 5 days a week, with the goal of 2 sets of 50 lunges, situps, squats and mountain climbers, a 2 minute plank, and 10 real pushups. I will workout four nights a week, 2 with Nike Training and 2 either dancing or on the track. I changed my mile goal to under 11 minutes, based on the fact that even though I just ran 75% of a mile (yay!) it was close to 13 minutes.

To all of you readers who feel like you can’t do something, whether it’s exercise or not, I encourage you to keep trying! Set new goals, keep going, and give yourself grace when you fail. See you next week!

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