Build On Your Successes, Not Your Mistakes

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

Today will be a day of recuperation for me. Through a combination of age, weight, and not taking very good care of this body, I’ve got a condition doctors lovingly refer to as degenerative disc disease, along with a couple of other things I can’t quite pronounce. Combined, it means my lower back is pretty much gone, and it’s not going to get much better. Thankfully, it’s usually not nearly this bad.

With something like this, you resign yourself to the reality that some days will be better than others and try not to overdo it on the good days. Well, okay. That’s what sane people do. When I have a good day, my brain says, “You can beat this! Just get up and stretch it out a little.” And other days it just says, “Have fun, because you’re gonna pay for this one.”

I remember a time when that was my mentality about a lot of things. You’re out for a drink after work and the next thing you know it’s dinnertime. You call home and say, “Just a little longer.” Then it’s getting dark and you call to say, “Let me finish this drink and I’ll be home.” By now she’s fuming, and your inebriated brain says you’re in trouble anyway, so you might as well enjoy it.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all done that from time to time, in various ways. Maybe it’s a day on the job when you’re just not feeling it. Your work is stacking up and there’s no way you’ll get it all done. After a while, your brain starts making excuses. “Take it easy. There’s no way you’ll get all this done, no matter how hard you try. You’re in trouble anyway. Save your energy for tomorrow.”

Okay, we probably don’t do that on the job very often, because if we did, we wouldn’t be on the job for long. But how often do we do that with our own goals? You know there’s something you should be doing (or not doing) and there’s that nagging voice in your head that says you deserve a little fun. “All work and no play …” You know the rest of that one. It’s a song that plays in our minds a lot.

I know the things I need to do to make my back a little better. Exercise would be at the top of the list. Not anything intense – just walking or even a little stretching. Yoga would be great, or even swimming. I know all this. I just don’t do it. On the other hand, I know I have to lose weight. But that cheeseburger last night was just too good to pass up (not to mention the birthday cake later).

And it’s not like I’m doing things blindly, with no concept of the price I’ll pay later. I stood at my desk yesterday for a full five minutes talking myself into a healthy lunch instead of take-out from a local Thai restaurant. I knew the implications of making the wrong decision. And I made the right choice. This time. But how many times do we make the wrong choice, fully aware of the consequences?

We all make mistakes. That only makes us human. But when we allow those mistakes to pile up, simply because “I’ve already messed up anyway,” it’s that much harder to get back on track. And as we see ourselves slipping further from our goals, we begin to justify not even trying. Why bother if, after all that extra effort, you’ll just come up short anyway?

Yesterday we talked about those small steps – seemingly insignificant, but added together they can make a huge difference. It’s the same when we do the things we shouldn’t do. We may get away with it a few times, but after a while it catches up. And that’s when we find ourselves in a hole with nothing but a shovel to dig our way out.

I didn’t do anything intentional to mess up my back. But I did do a few things that I probably could have put off once I knew things were headed in the wrong direction. Just like I’ve done a few things I didn’t need to do instead of working on the things I should be doing for my personal goals. We all do it. And we all pay a certain price. The question we have to ask is whether that price is worth it.

Sure, we can always turn things around and get back on track. But it’s easier to keep a train moving than to get a train moving. We’ll slip up now and then, and that’s okay. What’s important is that we correct our mistakes instead of letting them become an excuse for making even more mistakes. Every step we take leads us in a certain direction. Make sure it’s the direction you want to go.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

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