We have a rule in our house. Never say, “I can’t.” As a homeschooling mom, it’s not uncommon to hear one of my children say, when faced with a difficult task, “I can’t do this.” And it’s always said in the most drawn-out, dramatic, whiny voice you can imagine.
Of course, like a good mother should, I immediately remind my children of our rule. We don’t say “I can’t.” We don’t give up. Epsteens NEVER quit.
Or do we?
A couple of days ago I posted about a challenge I am participating in for the month of March called the 100 Mile March. Starting today, and every day in March, the goal is to walk at least 3.25 miles per day. If I meet this goal, by March 31st, I will have walked 100 miles.
Pretty ambitious right?
Some of you may remember the last challenge in which I participated. My goal was to lose 20 pounds in 9 weeks. I failed. Miserably.
Why in the world, in light of what I experienced during my last challenge, would I set so high a goal for myself in this next challenge? I mean for goodness sakes, it has only been in the last 2 weeks that I have really started to exercise on any sort of consistent basis. Have I completely lost my mind?
Don’t answer that!
You see, all my life I have been hearing one constant message, over and over and over again. Can you guess what it is?
In fact, I heard that message so many times that I really started to take it to heart. I really started to internalize it and believe it so much that it just became a part of my identity.
Up until a few months ago, I would have said that is still true of myself. For years, I have been caught in a seemingly endless cycle of ”gain a bunch weight, lose a little, encounter an obstacle or hit a plateau, gain a lot more.” I would end up worse off than when I started and it eventually got so bad that I just quit trying.
I thought Epsteens NEVER quit? To say that I was setting a poor example for my children would be an understatement. How could I tell them that they couldn’t say “I can’t” when my actions were showing them that every time you encounter an obstacle the only and obvious solution is to give up.
You see, what was really going on was that I was caught in a web of lies. I told myself I couldn’t do it and reasoned that there was no point in even trying. I told myself that I could never succeed so why even start in the first place? I convinced myself that I could never change, never get better, never make progress and I became exactly what I believed myself to be.
When I posted about my new challenge the other day a concerned reader questioned whether that was the wisest choice for me, seeing as though I don’t have the greatest track record of meeting goals I have set for myself. I love comments like that because they really make me stop and think and evaluate if what I am doing is the right thing (thanks Emily! ). I have to admit, I was tempted to take the out and gracefully exit the challenge. I mean seriously, who was I kidding?
Then the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. I am NOT that girl anymore. I am NOT the girl who believes a pack of lies about herself. I am NOT the girl who gets discouraged before I ever get started. I am NOT the girl who throws in the towel and says, “I can’t”. Thirty-seven pounds ago I was that girl.
Today? Not so much.
For me the challenge is not about perfection. Maybe I won’t walk 100 miles in March. But maybe I will. Maybe I can’t meet my goal. But maybe I CAN. And you know what? I really want to find out and there’s only one way I know of to do that.
I’m going to start walking. See you at mile 100!
Have you ever given up on something that you wish you hadn’t? Has anyone ever told you that you can’t do something and you’ve proved them wrong? Share your story in the comments!