Giving Up Is Always An Option, But So Is Going Forward
I will never forget the daily struggle I faced when I was trying to find the motivation to make a healthy lifestyle change. After almost a decade of fad diets, diet pills, and countless attempts to lose weight in every way except eating healthy and working out, I thought my only option was to give up. I felt like my weight defined my identity and I didn't think there was anything I could do to change because every single time I set out to lose weight, I gave up. But the truth is, I was never actually giving up, I just wasn't ready to put in the work to make the change.
Change requires high stakes, patience and a fearless leap of faith and I was putting one toe hesitantly into the water, too afraid to jump in.
I get frustrated when people tell me that giving up isn't an option because that wasn't true for me. Giving up wasn't just an option, it's the path I consistently chose. But I don't regret the years and years I spent giving up. I wasn't ready to accept that there wasn't a magic solution to the problems I had with my weight. Even though "eating healthy and working out regularly" or "getting comfortable being uncomfortable" seem like pretty simple and straightforward concepts, making a lifestyle change is INCREDIBLY complicated and hard. Giving up is never the easier option. Anyone who tells you that doesn't know how devastating it feels to stall in the face of progress.
Over the years I've learned that it really doesn't matter how badly you want something, it's about how hard you're willing to work for it. You can hope and pray harder than anyone else in the world but if you're not ready to make the sacrifices, push through doubts, overcome fears, get uncomfortable and actually do the work that is required to change, you'll never accomplish whatever it is that you're setting out to do. I'm tired of this collective assumption that giving up is a failure or something that we should be ashamed of. Making a change is really f*cking hard! Cut yourself some slack! You shouldn't be expected to succeed the first, second, hell maybe even the tenth time you set out to make impossible possible.
It's easy for those of us who have successfully made a change to say that anyone can do it but I'll never forget how impossible losing over 75 pounds felt. I'll never forget how defeated and frustrated I was with myself when, after weeks of going to the gym, working out never got easier. It wasn't until I stopped comparing myself and my progress to the people around me and in the media that I realized that my motivation to lose weight was the reason why I was consistently giving up. I didn't want to make a healthy lifestyle change to get the most out of my life, I wanted to look the way I thought society expected me to look. My stakes weren't high enough and I wasn't invested in making a change for myself and myself alone.
Today, knowing that giving up is an option is what pushes me to pursue scary goals that make me feel strong and confident in my ability to do anything I put my mind to. Though giving up is never the easier option, you can't look at it like defeat if it happens. I don't define myself by the thousands of times that I took the easier road or when I gave up too soon. Those disappointments and embarrassing speed bumps were the reasons why accomplishing my impossible goal was so rewarding and empowering.
I love the saying, "The end of one thing is the beginning of something else" because we are never truly "finished". You can't let setbacks, missteps, speed bumps, or previous failed attempts define your future. As long as you pick yourself up, learn from each and every experience and put one foot in front of the other, you're never actually giving up. When anything feels impossible or when you want to throw in the towel, ask yourself what's at stake. What exactly do you have to lose if you stop chasing your goal? If taking a break makes sense, then take a break. Focus on small weekly goals that will help you work towards that larger goal. The only way you'll fail is if you fail to try. It's all about patience and persistence. Don't give up hope, just keep giving it your all.