I’ve Fallen (But I Can Get Up)



I was so discouraged all I wanted to do was cry.

Just a few years ago my New Year’s resolution was to get into shape (again)! I started running and quickly managed to become addicted to it. I looked forward to my runs. I planned them in advance. I woke up each day excited to hit the pavement!

My new addiction took on a life of its own, and soon I was setting goals for distance, time, speed and everything in-between. I registered for the Ottawa half-marathon. Twenty-one kilometers (13 miles): what was I thinking? (I was thinking “Yes! I can do this!”)

So I ran. And ran, and ran, and ran.

In the final stretch of training before my first race, I developed tendonitis in my knee and my routine was brought to an abrupt halt.

I thought a week’s worth of rest would do the trick and I would be right back at it again. However, the fact that I was still hobbling around the house proved otherwise.

The Ottawa half-marathon was a week away–and I was injured. I felt so discouraged!

I was so excited, so pumped, so motivated.

Even if you aren’t a runner, I know you can relate to my frustration. Maybe you’ve finally gotten yourself ready to go back to college and just found out the course you wanted to attend is full. Maybe you’ve applied for another job that you were excited about and didn’t get it, or perhaps you’ve been watching your weight very closely, sticking to your diet and still not losing weight.

When we get discouraged, it is easy to just give up. To take that “all or nothing” attitude and walk away from it all. It would be easy to sit on the couch and rationalize that I can’t exercise at all because my knee was injured. To stop looking at the college pamphlets; to resign yourself that you will never get a promotion; to eat that extra large piece of chocolate cake because you deserve it! It would be easy to give up.

Getting discouraged happens to us all. But giving up is not the right answer (and you know it!).

Here are some tips to help get you ON THE RIGHT TRACK and keep your personal motivation going:

– Reschedule whatever it is. I ended up running the Army half-marathon later that year, and I will continue to set running goals for me. There are many other jobs–go online and look for others. Keep your eyes open for your opportunities.

– Realize that this setback is not necessarily a bad thing. You learned something, right? I learned that I’m not 21 and my 50+-year-old body needs more rest, more stretching and probably less strenuous exertion than I had been giving it.

– Stay positive. Don’t look at your setback as an all-or-nothing thing. You can change your paradigm to reset your goal so it isn’t a negative setback, and perhaps turn it into a positive. My goal for my first half-marathon was to just finish and then I started setting time goals. Maybe your new positive goal will be that you didn’t “squeak” through your degree–you got all As. For the job you didn’t get? There is probably a better, more suitable job just waiting for you.

– Start over. Don’t look at it as your second (or tenth) attempt. Just set the reset button and begin again.

– Be proud of what you are doing. It is far too easy to give up. Everyone else can–but not you, because you are special. Be proud of the fact that just because you’ve been discouraged doesn’t mean you gave up.

I am in distance training again for a run in September. I know I can do it–and deep down inside you know that you can, too!

History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats. -Bertie Forbes, founder of Forbes magazine

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