Failing Better

Here we are at the end of January, and I feel like I’m just getting my shiny new year started on the fitness front. That cold/sinus thing had me off my game for a few weeks there. But I’m back in my full routine now and ready for action. (My version of action, anyway.) It feels good.

I was thinking today about how opposite this is from how my new years used to start out. In those days, I was all gungho and enthusiastic about {insert diet of the year here}…until around the end of January. That’s when the initial weight loss (the only true measure of success I used back then) slowed, and all the restrictions I’d placed on myself started to wear me down. The smallest deviations piggy-backed onto past failures and sucked me into a downward spiral of emotion and a weakening of my will. And then came February and the lure of massive amounts of chocolate. Well, you know what happened next.

But I’m older and wiser now. These days I know that a missed workout here and an unplanned splurge there don’t mean imminent doom. Sure, I failed to meet my normal exercise and nutritional goals over the past couple of weeks, but at least, as Samuel Beckett suggested, I’m failing better.

fail better

Losing the diet mentality–the all or nothing thinking–that gripped me for far too long and accepting that life is just not always going to conform to my “plan” has changed everything for me. While my intention is to meet my goals 100% of the time, I know I will stumble now and then, and when that happens, I’m energized by the knowledge that they’re better failures than in the past. I can forget that I missed two workouts and focus on the four workouts I accomplished. I can accept (applaud, even) that the extra 100 calories I ate one day is much better than the extra 1000 calories I might have had in the past.

Aiming for perfection is futile, but there’s a lot to be gained (or lost, as the case may be) by aiming high and accepting that failures–some small, some not–will happen. And when they do, all I can do is try to fail better and focus on continuing to improve. I have to say, as a fitness plan, it seems to be working fairly well. :)

18 thoughts on “Failing Better

  1. This reminds me a little of Sharon’s post–yours is about failing and hers is about falling! Anyway, yes, I agree 100%. I am not beating myself up that I didn’t feel well enough to go to the gym for the past 5 days. I might make it there today, and if not, for sure tomorrow! And in the meantime, I managed to get out for a walk every single day, even if it was a little shorter and slower than usual. Yep, that’s different than I used to be.

  2. This is a wonderful post. I think the “all or nothing” mentality is the number one biggest cause for failure – in any pursuit!!
    Thanks, Cammy. I pinned this!

  3. I don’t think we are sisters anymore! We are the same person! Oh-My. I could have written the same thing verbatim!!!
    Doesn’t it feel so much better “this” way. I love that I like not being perfect! :)

  4. I’m so continually inspired by you.
    thank you!
    And I know you’ll have a much better February now that you’re not sick. It just affects everything when we can’t work out properly, doesn’t it?

  5. Great post with so much truth. Rigidity will do me in every time. I once joined a rigid program, and it took me years to get over the damage of having to be perfect or be shunned! Glad you’re feeling better.

  6. This is great. Fail better! I too was wrapped up in the small parts of my goals I didn’t reach, rather than looking at all I had accomplished!

  7. Love that quote & just saw it somewhere yesterday! Love this post too because I am really too good at “failing” and trying again! 😉

    Love your attitude as always!

  8. This is precisely why I connect with you on so many levels, Cammy. Your attitude about maintaining is the same attitude that I strive for every day. Most days I do pretty well but lately, well – I’ve been holding on, but barely. Thanks for putting things back into perspective for me :)

  9. I have also learned to fail “better” or “forward”. It takes so much of the pressure off, doesn’t it?

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