So, for the month of January, I posted here nearly every day. I had committed to posting every day, but missed twice, both times mostly because I couldn’t sweet talk my brain into cooperating and coming up with anything worth writing about. Ironically, having hit 29 out of 31 days was much more difficult than hitting all 31 days would have been.
Yup. You know how it is. You set out to do something and you get at it, day and day after day. It’s not yet a habit, but it’s something you’re thinking about, planning for, making time in your schedule to do. And then, you miss a day.
I don’t know what it is about missing a day, but it kind of just sucks the life right out of me. I posted for 18 days in a row — 18 days, people! — and then missed on the 19th and felt like the other 18 days of work were entirely wiped out and inconsequential. The streak is broken. Perfection is out of reach. Might as well just give up. Right?
In all honesty, once I missed that 19th day, the 20th day felt like a real struggle. Like my creativity had dried up or gone on vacation without letting me know in advance and I wanted nothing more than to just forget about the challenge — after all, I wasn’t going to hit all 31 days like I had pledged to do. I was already a fraud, a failure so why bother continuing?
Really, why bother?
I bother because failing does not make me a failure. The failure comes in not dusting myself off and getting right back at it the next day. After all, it’s the failing that teaches me the lessons I need to learn, like the fact that writing every day actually feels pretty good and that missing one post doesn’t make everything else I’ve accomplished worthless. I can’t remember a time when I went from starting out to success without some missteps along the way. Failing is some way is the nature of the beast.
Failing is good for us; it means we’re pushing beyond our comfort zone and doing things that aren’t easy and there is much to be said for sailing into rocky waters with intention and fortitude. Every time we fail we are given the opportunity to begin again — yes, the opportunity! — and that builds a habit of resilience. And a habit of resilience will carry us through many stops, false starts and times when quitting is the easy way out.
I continue to struggle with the act of starting again, and I suspect that I’m not alone in this. It’s so easy to let something go once I’ve messed up one time — but this has been a good reminder of why I need to continue. Not only is whatever I’m working on at stake, but just the act of getting back on the proverbial wagon strengthens my resilience and helps me keep at the things that are important to me. I mean, I’ll never get to where I want to be if I don’t get up after falling down, right?