If you have ever watched an endurance event such as a marathon, bike race, or even a local 5K, do you cheer or clap with any less enthusiasm for the last person to cross the finish-line? Or the for the person who has to have help because their body is so tired from their efforts?
Wellness is an endurance event.
It is hard. There are tears and there are victories. And you need support and someone cheering you on from the sideline (or racing with you) as you run towards your own finish line.
About nine years ago, I ran in my first ever 5K. I had trained for a summer with efforts that were the best I could manage with two small kids at home and no jogging stroller. I wasn't consistent but I was determined. With my friend Kelly by my side on the day of the race, I started running when the whistle was blown with one goal - just keep moving in a jogging motion. My other personal goal was to not be last; I accomplished both of these things. With heavy legs and tears in my eyes, I crossed the finish line with such a feeling of elation because I did it!
Here's the kicker. I won first in my age division too...because I was the only one in it. Apparently, all of the other young 29-year-old females were running the 10K. My time was slow. And for a few minutes after my name was called to go get my medal, I wanted to hide. I didn't feel like I deserved this award as I knew what my time would have looked like in comparison to other competitors – if I had any.
And that's when it dawned on me.
I didn't have any competitors that morning and you know what – that counts for something. I could be at home never even having shown up. But I did. I ran a 5K! And in that moment, my attitude of defeat turned into acknowledgement because I knew that I tried and had accomplished a personal goal.
My 5K story is reflective of many of the feelings that we go through on our health and wellness journeys. We are quick to diminish our own efforts and write off our attempts as being "less than" and insignificant. My clients often put down their own accomplishments and healthy eating as "just one pound" of weight loss and "only two times this week" for exercise.
And as their cheerleader and support system, I have to remind them that they are doing it. This is what it looks like. It's a series of small steps that progress in the same direction. That's how you win!
Be realistic with your goal and be kind to yourself as you work towards it. Celebrate your successes along the way and ask for help when you need. Keep all of your steps moving in the same direction and you will get there!