I wanted to take a moment to encourage you. Are there goals you want to set but they feel impossible? Are you wanting to change for the better but don't know how? I implore you to push through. I truly believe that the victory isn't to those who are the strongest or smartest or most popular. It is to those who persevere. It is to those who get up when they are knocked down. It is to the who keep tackling the undertakings.
Right now I am on an achievement high. I am in awe of something over which I have triumphed. It almost seems surreal, like it wasn't even me. It is an amazing feeling to do something that was once inconceivable. And it wouldn't have happened without pushing through.
I used to battle fibromyalgia. My body couldn't handle any exertion. Pushing my muscles would cause pain. One area where I always had agony was the neck and shoulders. When I started my job as a pharmacy technician 7 years ago I hated having to compound creams. The manual mixing would be excruciating. I would try to relax. To shift to using different muscles so I wasn't fatiguing any.
At that time I regularly saw the chiropractor and my husband would daily give me a massage just so that I could function. I had improved from when I was younger, in that I could hold a job and responsibilities, but it was torture. My post-cancer effort at building my health was making me stronger and able to do a little more. Therefore, the benefits of stretching and exercising were unmistakable. So I put more effort in strengthening each individual area of my body.
I haven't seen a chiropractor or massage therapist regularly for a long time and haven't needed to since I was pregnant. I made every effort to keep active during pregnancy so as to not lose ground in my quest for health. I ran as far along as I could, which was up until 34.5 weeks. Then, which may be too much information, she was bouncing on my bowels too much for me to keep running. I can pee in the bushes mid run but there will be no doing number two out there.
When I signed up for Tough Mudder I was the healthiest I had ever been but still could not do one pull up and could only do a few push-ups. And something like a burpee was just nauseating. I knew there would be some walls to break through. What I didn't know was what I would be capable of doing once I smashing those walls.
I gave myself a minimum workout and told myself to follow it unless I was physically hurt. I know that my improvements so far in life have been from pushing myself. I had to work through aches and cramps everywhere. I remember someone commenting that if it hurt so much, why not stop?
Because I now know what healthy feels like. The enhanced strength. The more comfortable posture. The better sleep. The increased patience. The improved digestion. The bolstered confidence. The heightened concentration... And most of all, the ability to do more. To perform daily tasks without resulting discomfort. To be more likely to be able to accept invitations to go do something new. And, like today, to reach new heights.
I could have given up. But I wouldn't have enjoyed all the snowshoeing with various people while carrying a baby on my back. I wouldn't have been able to play as exuberantly with my niece and other little relatives. I wouldn't have conquered riding a bike up a hill. So much of my life wouldn't be if I had given up. If I had accepted my labels. Exercise induced migraines. Fibromyalgia. Irritable Bowel. Week muscles.
Today I was training on hills with some team mates. Then it was decided we would go do some monkey bars. My heart sank. My arms weren't very strong. The last I tried I could barely cross five or six rungs. And not very gracefully. I felt like I did well on the hills and now my pride would be squashed as I attempted a feat on a child's playground. Poor, poor, pitiful me.
I was a little apprehensive when we started. My first effort was feeble as my mind flooded my body with negative, discouraging messages. Oh, the power of the words we tell ourselves! I pep talked myself and continued, and the improvement was instant. Then I tried the inclined monkey bars. I had never intended to do these. My goal was to be able to do some basic, straight across bars and say I could and move on. The inclined bars I was going to save for those who were more athletic. Not someone like me just trying to do the basic. Just trying to feel able-bodied and sound.
I was in for a surprise. I did it! My work out routine had paid off. My improvements were quite obvious. In hindsight it is a little silly that I thought training would make me feel and look stronger but I never speculated on the possibility of what I could do.
What else could I manage if I removed the limitations I have put on myself? What else could I accomplish if I aimed higher? What could happen in my life if I had the goal of greater and not just good enough?
I pray that you will set your sights high. Tell yourself not I can't do it, but instead how can I do it? Sure, it might require more stretch breaks or more gradual progression than the next person. But you aren't competing with them. You are challenging yourself. Because inside of you is someone created to do wonderful things. Really. I know this. And that person inside is just waiting for you to believe in him or her.