21 Early Days: Well, Not Quite

I find myself at ‘the end’ once more, and it seems that I have stumbled at the final hurdle in my attempt to introduce another healthy habit. I woke up in a fog on the morning of day 19, feeling pretty downbeat and ashamed as I caught sight of the alarm clock through half closed eyes.

6:12 AM.

I had failed, miserably.

Before I get into the harsh lessons learned, let me rewind to last Saturday. The weekend was upon me, so naturally I decided to kick off my slippers and let loose! Captain America: Civil War was showing on the big screen, so a man date was in order. Still waiting on the phone to ring since by the way, Nialler.

Anyway, it was a decent show. Mildly entertaining. I’m not a fanatic by any stretch. I saw the first Ironman, and The Avengers, but that’s about it. I think if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Scarlett Johansson, though.

I digress.

I was pretty devoid of energy on the walk home afterwards, and as I looked at my watch the realisation quickly dawned; I was in dangerous territory. 12:10 AM. I had to be up in a little over 4 hours.

Lovely.

I rose with the alarm the next morning, and endured a 3 hour lunchtime training session with the boys, in 22 °C heat. I didn’t manage to catch an afternoon nap either, which was my intention.

Can you sense the excuses begin to formulate? OK, good.

Subtle as ever, Pidge.

As you could imagine, I wasn’t exactly relishing the prospect of the 4:30 AM wake up call by the time Monday rolled around. The lack of sleep over the previous two days had caught up on me, and sure enough, I shamefully hit snooze without a second thought, and rolled back over into a deep slumber.

Disgusted.

I had given up at the first sign of difficulty- tapped out in the final round. I had little choice now but to live with the decision, and let it sink in. I rode the wave of emotions that came with it all morning- anger, disgust, shame, despair.

In the past I would perhaps have taken this setback as a sign.

You’re not able, give up.

I know from experience that this type of negative self-talk can snowball, and become restrictive to growth. So, I tried not to get too attached to theses emotions. I felt them, recognised them, and sent them on their merry way. There was a lesson in all of this, I was sure of it.

Failure is part and parcel of growth.

If I had harboured an attitude of having to avoid failure, I would never have started in the first place. That applies across the board, in all aspects of my life. As I type these words, I can’t help but think back to when I first got the idea of starting this blog. I could have stayed put in the safety of my comfort zone, with no risk of failure, but then there would be no prospect of reward. I’m certainly glad I tried, and I’ll continue to seek out ways to improve and grow.

We win, or we learn.

– John Kavanagh

In an interesting twist of fate, as I began to navigate the back roads of defeat in my mind on Monday morning, I glanced at the calendar on my desk. The day marked 14 months since I decided to stop drinking– a welcome reminder that I am indeed capable of incredible positive growth.

Buoyed by this milestone, I was determined to get back on the horse and finish as I had started, regardless of the slip up. I bet the alarm to it on day 21, and was ready and waiting at sunrise.

With the 21 early days now behind me, it’s difficult to say with certainty whether or not I have successfully incorporated another healthy habit into my daily routine. I guess the jury is still out on this one. One thing is for sure, I learned a great deal as a result.

You can never know for sure how a decision to try something new will play out- you can but do what feels right for you. And it should- to a certain extent- scare you.

Seek improvement in ways that bring you joy, and don’t let the fear of failure hold you back. If and when you do inevitably slip up at some point, embrace the lesson, and keep moving forward.

Jaysis, is that the time? That’ll do it for tonight. The slippers are off, and my Ovaltine has gone cold, so I’d better turn in.

Alarm is set: 4:30 AM.

What’s next? I’m not sure, but I’m excited to find out.