plateaus, brick walls & ruts: real (metaphorical) obstacles.



Remember that time I told you about how I am always starting over?

Throughout my adult life, especially, one thing I have found myself starting over more than anything else has been maintaining my health and wellness, both mentally and physically. At some point in the past few years, though, I decided to quit quitting. As with most decisions that require regular execution of plans, there have been obstacles.


//states of little or no change following periods of activity or progress//

There I was: executing the plan, making good choices, and feeling good. Then BAM!, the journey to improvement just sort of stood still, despite all my best efforts. Getting stuck made me start to lose sight of any progress I had made. It took work to get here, but it still felt like stuck.

brick walls.

//large, immovable objects.//

My walls have been made of so many things: feelings, moods, choices, cookies, beers.. all kinds of things that piled up to block my way. When walls stood in my path, I saw no way around them. Instead of breaking them down or taking some alternate route (you know, building a bridge with smart choices like asking for help), I most often found myself in a cycle of self-sabotage or denial that only built the wall wider, taller, and several more layers thick.


//repetitive. monotonous. boring.//

The ruts are sneaky. Even when my routine is a good one, and it makes me feel strong, energetic, and balanced…it’s still a routine. The same old thing can make anyone downright bored. Itchin’ for a change or needing to shake things up a bit has, on more than several dozen occasions, drug me into a ditch that took some real tugging to get out of.

My solutions for the obstacles are not everyone’s solutions and they are not fail-safe. Failure isn’t always the worst thing that can happen, though.  It is, at least, a sure sign of trying. I only know what has worked for me. That is not to say I am obstacle-free, either. There may never be a time that being well does not require work. Just about everything worth having requires a little elbow grease, though. I try to see every obstacle as an opportunity to make a choice…because having choices makes me feel powerful and in control. I consider having at least two choices, both of which require a change:

On a plateau, I can choose defeat, falling down the side of the mountain by resorting to old habits or flat out giving up, or I can choose to climb higher,  making changes that push me, that challenge me, just a little. bit. more.

When facing a brick wall, I can choose to bang my head against it in hopes that I am knocked unconscious, or I can come up with the strategy for getting around it, over it, under it, or through it. I might be forced to face some ugly truth, to get to the root of my feelings, or to throw away the cookies. The choice, though, is mine.

When I’m in a rut, I can lay down and wait for it to fill up with rain, or I can climb out. The climb may be as simple as trying out a new recipe, changing up my fitness program, or a change of scenery for my work day (Starbucks, a friend’s kitchen table, my sister’s house at the beach, for instance). The climb may also require more work, like rethinking my schedule based on the season, my workload, and what my current fitness goals are.

Lately, as I sort of “confessed” in my post about making moves towards a career change, climbing out required taking a big step back. What’s the big picture? Am I moving closer to it, or further away? Mixing things up can be a little uncomfortable at first, particularly for a planning obsessed control freak like me, but– at least it isn’t boring.


2 thoughts on “plateaus, brick walls & ruts: real (metaphorical) obstacles.

  1. This makes me NEVER NEVER NEVER want to get a car. That is ABSURD! Where’s the accountability?! So sorry you had to deal with that. Sometimes being polite/”too nice” definitely backfires, which is sad because that’s how people SHOULD act in those situations.


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