I have finally figured out that all is not lost just because you fall down once or twice. I used to be a very all-or-nothing kind of thinker. I have finally come around to seeing that one bad day, or one debt, or one extravagant meal does not mean the end of everything. It just means that I have some catching up to do. There is always the next day (or the next meal) to start bailing yourself out of the hole you dug.
Yesterday I was 700 calories over my goal. Oops. Last paycheck we were about $400 in the hole when all was said and done. Bigger oops. As far as calories go, today I am going to stick to my goal. No permanent harm was done to my overall downward trend, I just have to make up a little ground. I won’t starve myself today to make up for yesterday, that won’t accomplish anything but make me want to binge tomorrow. I will stick to my goal and lose what gained. As far as debt goes, we paid off the overdraft protection account this paycheck and are living a little thin to accommodate it. That gets us back to even (on that debt at least), and we can start fresh next paycheck. The deprivation has a definite end date not too far in the future. With the larger debt that we have accrued we will be paying that back some at a time without pinching ourselves too much. Much like the diet, we will reduce the amount we spend (but not to starvation levels), and use that extra to lose the debt.
I always heard that cutting yourself some slack was the key to a happy life. I thought I was living happy by “pushing” myself as hard as I could toward a goal. The thing is, I pushed myself so hard that when I failed (as was inevitable given how strict I was being), that was it. I was done and figured it was all over and I just couldn’t do it. I gave up. One bad day, or meal, or debt, and I gave up. It was too hard and I was not good at it. That is not the mantra of someone who loves themselves. I have found my love and now I can forgive a slip up and start over. We got out of debt and then jumped straight back in. We may end up with almost as much credit card debt as we started out with by the end of this year (my stipend will run out and we’ll still have to pay the kids’ tuition somehow. That may end up being the credit card). That doesn’t mean I can never get out of debt, it just means that I’m going to have to do it again. This time I know how. I know how to lose weight and do it right, too. I have nothing but optimism and desire to keep me going, but that’s actually enough.
Cut yourself some slack and forgive your slip-ups. If you’ve come out the other side of adversity before, you know it’s in you to do it again. It may feel harder this time, or more hopeless, but you know that you’ve survived this long, chances are, you’ll survive for a while longer. There are always choices, and pretty much always solutions. You just have to persevere and look for them. My adversity-facing skills are a little rusty, but I know that I have survived quite a bit in my life and, if called on to do it again, I can. My family motto should be, “We shall persevere.” Anyway, just don’t give up as quickly as you may want to. You may have gotten yourself into a mess (or be in one through no fault of your own), but you can do what it takes to get out of it. Hard work, research, and loved ones can help.