Teaching Determination

Over the past several months I have allowed myself to become increasingly disconnected with taking care of myself physically.  Little by little I focussed on other things and told myself, I will start that…  For several months I have idly waited for that determination to sink in, stop me from eating this or that, drag me out of bed and force me on the treadmill, and get me back in shape.  Only, those things don’t just happen.

What motivated me this time? The same as usual, a personal safeguard I put in place: my clothes.  I refuse to get clothes bigger than a certain size for the sake of motivating myself to not become the 300 train wreck I was in terms of health 7 years ago.

The problem was, I had gotten so out of shape that I couldn’t really run anymore.  Running 2 miles on the treadmill was a breeze, now it might as well have been a marathon.  This morning as I drove myself to run that two miles, I realized that this is a learned skill.  Determination is a skill you learn, it can be grown.

We build our determination by setting goals, but also by celebrating small successes.  A larger goal can be viewed as a long road ahead, or a series of short steps that lead to a greater end.  By choosing the latter we enable ourselves to recognize the gain as a gain, not as the distance from our end goal.

Today I ran a full 2 miles, this week I lost 7 pounds and didn’t eat poorly all week.  Each of those is a step on a path, each day I succeed a little, I grow tougher mentally and physically.  Ultimately, this is a skill we can develop in kids.

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