Using Setbacks to Keep Moving Forward

Roadblocks happen and make you go in a different direction. Frequently, the efffing Force is just not with you, friend. Sometimes, schtuff simply happens. When life hands you lemonades, you’ve got two choices: Make lemonade or lie down in a corner drinking water. In other words, roll with the changes, or they’ll roll over you. You get the point. My thesis is that there’s only so much time and one person can only do so much, and doing your best sometimes mean stepping back.

How you respond to the obstacles is important. Flexibility and seeing the big picture are key. To use myself as an example, if you’re goal is x number of miles riding your bike this year, but you get a job that makes biking very hard if not impossible to do, then you may have to change tactics, goals or both. Sleep more, waste less time reading stupid news, make your goal time spent biking rather than miles.

  1. Fight harder to achieve what you wanted to do. I chose to work long hours and take very few days off, but I didn’t have to. I could have rededicated myself and found a way to spend even more hours working toward my goal. This can work even if you have outside pressures, but it takes smart time management. Have a 30′ required break? Use that for walk time and eat while you walk or drive. Not ideal, but it’s one way around a time crunch.
  2. Accept that you probably aren’t going to make your goal this year. This is ok if you give yourself permission and don’t have some outside person saying you’ve got to do it for whatever reason. Hey, you’re only human and at least you’re still doing SOMETHING, which is a lot less than some people, but more than a lot than zero. If you can be ok with that, great. If not, maybe look into why.
  3. Re-evaluating is a strength, not a weakness. If you can and do manage to make a choice to continue toward your goal, that’s great. During this process you may realize you have other goals. Like for me, making money to pay rent is simply going to win over bike miles every time. Or, maybe spending time doing strengthening exercises or cooking a healthy meal is a better use of time than grinding out more miles. Stepping back gives you the opportunity to be smart.
  4. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Time off the bike or whatever hobby you’ve put on hold can make you really appreciate it more when you finally do get back into it. My legs are rested, senses heightened, and because I missed it and really want to want to bike, I approach it with renewed enthusiasm and appreciation. Remember the past, aim for the future, but BE HERE NOW.
  5. Other interests can inform your goal activity. For example, not being able to ride my bike much because I had to drive a lot was useful. Driving uses skills similar to bike riding, because both involved transporting oneself through traffic. It requires attention and if you’re a cyclist, gives you the experience and viewpoint of what being in the car driver’s seat is like. My reflexes and respect for the car’s ability to kill me have vastly improved thanks to all the driving.
  6. It’s not the end of the world. Having a big fitness or other goal is not really meaningful in itself. What you learn about yourself in the process is. There’s war, poverty, corruption, climate change, racism, and many other much more pressing matters. Have some perspective and a sense of humor help when things aren’t going well. Life goes on.
  7. Enjoy the journey. If you’re cranking out the miles with your head down, you’re going to miss that sunset, that deer, or that rainbow. That doesn’t mean don’t go hard and fast when you can, but you might be cheating yourself out of other aspects of the experience if you’re not paying attention. Live a little. Go on a ride just for fun. Relax.

So endeth the post. I’m a work in progress. How about you? Any thoughts about having a goal and having to let it go?

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash

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