If you’ve ever decided to make yourself move at a speed which constitutes a run, you’ll probably notice that your body works like a machine. With every step it’s as if a cog is turning to make one part move and in turn set in motion the next, so on and so forth. Running is something that I only really took up in the last month after graduating from school and experiencing other, more unfortunate events, at a point in my life where I felt “if I’m back at step one, I might as well do something which I’ve never even bothered to begin, just to see where it goes”. At first I hated it, it was too hot, my legs ached, my chest hurt, my back felt as if a knife was being thrust into it every time I took a breath. It was complete bullshit. Yet every day I’d continue to force myself outside and reach the 5 kilometre mark. Quite early on I’d started to notice that the hurt became motivation, I’d talk to myself about the “bastard” pain, the tooth grinding, back breaking pain, and I’d channel that frustration and anger into simply going further, to the point where 5 kilometres wasn’t enough. So 6 became the norm, and then 7. At the time of writing this, 27 days after I began to force myself to get outside and hit the pavement, I broke my speed record for a kilometre, clocking in at 4 minutes and 15 seconds.
The point of all this is quite simple: often when we feel like we’re having to start from the beginning again, things are complicated. You’re suddenly thrust into an environment which you didn’t expect to be in, and you’re feeling things that you don’t want to feel. And in no uncertain terms: it’s quite shit. Yet every single thing you do sets in motion a series of events that causes things to progress. It’s so easy for humans to let defeat consume us, and we constantly give in because it’s the easier option, it takes something more to go in the opposite direction to that, to understand that you need to move forward. Someone important once told me that it never matters where you come from, it only matters where you go. And it’s a fact of life that you’ll inevitably end up in a situation where you’ll have to start again. Whether that’s something like a relationship gone bad or simply just a situation which hasn’t worked out the way you thought it would.
I’ve come to believe that it’s the way in which you respond to these kinds of things that shows your true strength of character. And believe me I’m still learning, and I’ve by no means got this nailed down. A good example of this being the fact that it’s taken me this long, from the moment that I made my mistake, to realise that one of the worst ways to create positive change is to make a list of promises; (including an idiotic one to stop drinking, which I now strongly advise against, cc. Lord Byron and something about good rum calming your spirit) and labelling it as productive.
1. We all know you’re not going to stick to them anyway
2. Promises only create a compact box which seeks to consistently limit what you can and can’t do.
I deciphered that the best way to create a change within myself was to identify the cause of my situation, understand why it happened, ensure that it won’t happen again by recognising the negative elements of it and where I needed to improve, crack on and keep going. Now I’m willing to concede that this all sounds incredibly simple, however there is a nuance to it:
Life is only as complicated as you choose to make it.
When you start becoming dogmatic and overanalysing every event within your life, even to the point where the meaning of words begins to frighten you, you lose your ability to act constructively and progressively for yourself and those around you.
Now while I’m cautious of this story ending up like an unwanted lecture from one of the SAS Who Dares Wins guys on TV, banging on about “never giving up, staying motivated and giving 100%”, the reason why it’s such a repeated message is because it’s true. I’m happy with how far I’ve come since having to start again. And while I’ve certainly had setbacks, it’s never been a reason to stop. You never know where you’ll end up with yourself and with other people in the future, however the best thing you can do to move forward is simple: hit the ground running, hit it hard, and don’t stop until you’re happy.