Success Within Failure

Sometimes the hardest part of doing something is starting – I can definitely attest to that! I have always wanted to be a physically fit person, but have never really reached that goal. I was blessed with a really high metabolism, so I could eat whatever I wanted when I was younger, not lift a finger, and still have a size 0 frame. I didn’t see a need to work out or be active. Now that I’m approaching 30 (GASP!) and my diet has become plant-based, my metabolism has evened out and so has my weight. I am not unhappy with how I look by any means – but I know that underneath this trim frame, there is a person that gets a bit winded going up a long flight of stairs!

So, I finally decided that it’s time to get started. What better time than now? I have no idea what I have been waiting for but I know that the longer I put it off, the less likely I will actually start doing something.

“There’s no time like the present, no present like time. And life can be over in the space of a rhyme.” ~Georgia Byng

My goal was to challenge myself with 30 days of activity – whether it be yoga, running, crunches/planks, dancing, whatever! I was also excited to tackle another item on my 30 Before 30 list with this 30-day challenge to myself. I decided not to put a time limit or minimum on my activities each day after reading some great posts from the blog Zen Habits (here and here). If you are interested in reading more, head to their archives and search the word “habit” and you will find a TON of awesome posts to ponder!


I started on August 2nd, knowing that 30 days would take me until the end of the month. I was doing great for the first 12 days of so, but then I started to falter. I skipped a day….I overslept and missed my yoga class….and finally, I hurt my knee. As much as I would like to continue at this point, I have to admit defeat. As I sit here typing, I am rocking a black and grey knee brace that totally compliments my Aerosmith t-shirt. It’s just not logical to push myself to continue to run and do yoga if it means hurting myself more seriously….and that’s a really tough thing for me to admit. I HATE to lose, or worse yet….fail. That’s what this feels like to me. In order to get past that, I have been trying to see the success that I’ve had within this small failure. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • I rediscovered my enjoyment in being active. Last summer, I was going out for a run almost every night. I kind of gave up on the habit once it started to get cold outside, and I never really felt as good running on a treadmill at the gym. I started to look forward to lacing up my sneakers again this month, and that’s a big thing. I also found out how much I really enjoy and appreciate yoga…it really does so much for me, physically and mentally.
  • I found that I can give back to others while giving back to myself. I have always used MapMyRun to track all of my workouts and various paths, but I started to see posts from friends using an app called Charity Miles. It turns out that you can sign up to be a sponsored athlete – for each mile (or part of a mile) that you walk, run, or bike while using the Charity Miles GPS, they will donate a set amount of money to your chosen charity. They have 10+ charities to choose from, and you can change your charity every time you work out. The coolest part, to me, is that they show you what your impact is while you are running (for example, 2 miles = 6 puppy/kitten vaccinations). I’m not the biggest fan of running, but knowing that I can help someone else gave me the extra push I needed to get out there.
All of the charities that you can choose from when using the Charity Miles app!
  • My diet improved as my activity increased. Let’s face it…as much as we all love our comfort food (Hi, my name is Julie and I’m a french fry addict!) we can’t keep up an active lifestyle when being fueled by poor food choices. I started to eat smaller, more balanced meals. I started craving more raw, veggie-packed foods. It was all a positive change that I hope I can keep up as the stress of school approaches.
  • I saw some physical benefits. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m not trying to change what I look like by any means….but I did start to see some positive physical benefits from frequent activity coupled with my attempt to eat a more balanced, whole foods diet. My stomach started to look a bit flatter and more toned, my calves were definitely showing improvement and my energy level definitely increased a ton.

When you look at things that way, I guess my attempt wasn’t so  much of a failure after all. I also wanted to share this with everyone because life isn’t perfect and not everything works out the way you planned. Blogging only about my successes wouldn’t be real.  I’m taking a lot away from it, including the desire to purchase a bike to continue exercising and raising money for charity….not to mention that biking tends to be easier on the knees! I’m looking forward to incorporating more activity into my life, especially now that September is rolling around. It will be a great stress-reliever for all of those back-to-school aches and pains that inevitably pop up!

What have you challenged yourself with that didn’t work out as planned? I would love to hear your stories!

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