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The Ups and Downs to Success

This is what the path to success looks like.

You’re going to make progress. Then you’re going to backtrack ALMOST to zero again. Then you’ll make a bit more progress, and then you’ll backtrack ALMOST to the point you were last time. Progress, backtrack; progress; backtrack. Gain weight, lose weight. Hit a new benchmark, fall off again.

But here’s the reason to keep going: Every time you fall back, you won’t go quite as far down as before. The dip gets smaller.

And you’ll also start to notice that you’re not backtracking quite as often as before. Someday you’ll look up and think, “Wow, I’ve gone a whole year without gaining any major weight.” And when you have little bumps, thinking this way will help you keep your perspective.

Keep in mind that while problems will never go away, they get smaller in magnitude and less frequent over time.

Many people get stuck in that first loop of fitness forever: try something, make progress, fall off. Sometimes their programs, diets or tricks are unsustainable. Sometimes they’re boring. Sometimes they just don’t work.

But usually, after six weeks, the exerciser is a bit further along. And even if he or she falls off, the fall won’t be ALL the way back.

Maybe after a tough holiday season of too much eating, drinking and resting, you’ve fallen backward. But you can still start working out again. You can still show up. You haven’t lost your touch. And next year, when you fall back again, you’ll be even further ahead. You’re building a margin for lapses.

If for no other reason, go to the gym today because today’s problems are slightly less horrible than last year’s problems. We’ve all been there.

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