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State or Step

by on November 13, 2013

Failure.

Why is it success is so often followed by failure? Is it overconfidence when things are going well? Is it complacency and satisfaction with “good enough” that lets me settle for less than my goal? Or is it that I need that swift boot of desperation repeatedly applied to my backside in order to propel me to succeed?

It has been almost a month since I’ve watched my diet, almost a month since I’ve really pushed hard on a workout. Why?

Because I passed my dreaded PT test. Not only passed, but did better than I expected.

We had a party scheduled for the next day, so I took a day off to celebrate.

A day off becomes a weekend. A weekend becomes a week becomes two.

Two weeks go by and I feel some guilt and get to the gym or choose some healthy snacks for a day.

But the good habits I built – those are fragile. They can’t withstand a two week break.

And now the guilt becomes the excuse. “Oh man, I’ve been away so long… I don’t want to get back into it. It’s gonna hurt.”

Blogging and writing are the same way. The WordPress app symbol mocks me each time I open my iPad, and I avert my eyes in shame. “I’ll get back to blogging soon… soon… but I can’t face how long I’ve been away. I can’t fix another broken habit right now.”

Failure comes in two kinds: the step, and the state.

I learned long ago (and sometimes remember to put into practice) that we must plan for failure, for weak moments and bad decisions. Recognize the failure. Correct the problem. Adjust the plan if needed. Get back on track.

In that instance, failure is one step–a mis-step perhaps–on the path to eventual success.

Failure as a state is far worse. It’s the voice in my head saying I’ve been away from this so long, what’s the point of trying today? It’s the false hope found in banking on future opportunities. “I’m too busy today, I’ll do this tomorrow.”

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
creeps in this petty pace from day to day
until TURN OFF THE XBOX AND GO WORK OUT. —MacBeth, by Shakespeare, slightly modified.

Here’s my commitment: Never let a misstep determine the state I’m in.

How about you?

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