One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Last week, I was on cloud nine after completing my run. I felt empowered, confident, and motivated. Nothing could get in my way- at least, so I thought. Within a couple of hours after exercising, a massive migraine brought me back down to earth. It seemed that I was slightly dehydrated, so I increased my water intake and waited patiently for the pain to subside. I failed to consider, being seven months postpartum and living a fairly sedentary lifestyle until recently, that I may have overexerted myself in the blazing heat and had pushed my body past its limits.

As the night progressed, so did my migraine—nothing would alleviate the discomfort. The following days yielded no improvement. It was even difficult to concentrate at work. It became clear that my body desperately needed rest to recover, so I canceled my last appointment of the day and went home to recuperate.

I felt defeated; disappointed in my body. I had made the decision to start taking better care of myself and faced unanticipated challenges. All at once, the positive momentum that I had experienced only two short days ago had disappeared entirely. I became overwhelmed by a whirlwind of negative thoughts which resulted in questioning the idea of living a healthier lifestyle.

Was it really worth it?

Professionally, I understand that moments such as these arise in our lives to test us, and our response is what’s most important. Throughout life, we often find ourselves faced with difficult decisions, and these opportunities provide the fertile grounds for our best work. We must determine—will we confront the discomfort and work through it or bury our head in the sand? I found myself walking the line between these two choices. I avoided exercising because I was afraid to experience physical discomfort again, and while I had not completely sabotaged my attempt at eating healthy, I was not monitoring my habits as closely as I had been before. I was struggling with how to move forward, and because of the uncertainty I was feeling, the pressure to perform and succeed had amplified.

I allowed myself to feel each and every emotion that was surfacing. I granted myself grace, acknowledged my limitations, and accepted them. I understood that I must exercise patience with myself. After all, Rome was not built in a day. I learned to accept that setbacks will happen, but this does not mean that I have to throw in the towel.

I frequently tell my clients that progress is not linear . . . One step forward, two steps back. Our personal experience walking the winding path towards growth and triumph does not say anything about the strength of our character or our ability to accomplish our goals. It is simply a part of the incredible human experience.

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