Resilience is the ability to recover quickly from difficulties and the ability to spring back into shape, or elasticity. That does not mean that you do not struggle. It does not mean that you never want to quit or that you never get “bent out of shape”. It means that even though you do, you put yourself back together and proceed with your plan of action, always pressing towards your goal.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that resilience can be cultivated. (1) It is a learned behavior for most people. It doesn’t just happen. It’s cultivated over time with specific behavioral modifications. Resilience creates “The Phoenix” personality, someone who will recreate themselves and rise from the ashes. A 1- positive attitude, 2- optimism, 3-the ability to regulate emotions and 4- the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback all help to create this state of strength and growth. Research indicates that a positive outlook helps to buffer the effects of stress on the brain. Once the stress is defused, our ability to think can be restored and we can choose the best path of action. Resilience is usually a result of “doing the work”. It doesn’t just happen. We have to want it and work for it. The result is reaching our goals and having a measure of peace of mind in even the most difficult circumstances because we have learned how to control our thoughts.
In weight management, resilience is critical. The idea that a “diet” is a temporary state of deprivation is possibly the most destructive factor in crushing good intentions. Without resilience, cravings seem like an impossible obstacle to overcome. The resilient person has the ability to look forward to the goal, realize that this moment of misery is just that, a moment, and move on. In the interim, we reset our minds to focus on the big picture, not just one dark spot, and the beauty of the masterpiece that will be revealed has the ability to obliterate most of the present pain. It’s not an easy task but it’s well worth the effort.
In any fitness program resilience is the deciding factor of success or failure. There is never an end to fitness. It is a chosen lifestyle filled with victories and falling short of what we want to achieve. Without resilience we will throw in the towel when those six pack abs don’t show up on our predetermined schedule. The resilient person toughs it out, struggles through the workouts, falls short, sets new personal records and keeps moving towards the goal which is a lifetime of strength and good health brought about by working for it day in and day out without an end in sight.
The ability to see the temporary factors that affect our performance, and success or failure, is important. If we view these things as temporary and fixable we are much more likely to make adjustments and go on with our plans. If we believe that we performed poorly because we are inept or unable to accomplish the task, we may stall and eventually stop or even lose progress. Perspective is key to our resilience. One “fail” at the barbell or one gained pound, or so…, does not mean that we can’t do it. It means that THIS time we didn’t do it and we need to set about to discover WHY. To say that we just couldn’t is never an adequate response. Dissect the “failure”, fix it as much as possible and move on.
Assimilation of “Failure”
Failure is part of growth. Even plants do this. If a blade of grass encounters a sidewalk, it just looks for the crack. It didn’t fail. It had a temporary setback. Trees that are blown almost to the ground in a storm may grow up twisted but they don’t just die because their first attempt to be the tallest tree on the block failed. They keep growing and become a strong and beautiful work of art.
David, the Author of David’s Way is the best example of resilience that I have ever known. He has had debilitating spinal injuries that would have destroyed most people. Instead, he is incredibly strong and healthy and accomplishes more in an hour than most people accomplish in a day. I have had my own struggles, including having my life turned wrong side out by the direct hit from three tornadoes within mere minutes March 19. 2018. When we have trauma and setbacks in our lives, the only proper response is “Full speed ahead!” Anything else makes us a victim of circumstances. I am a tornado, cancer, divorce, raising an autistic son , child of an anorexic mother, puritanical upbringing survivor, NOT a tornado, or whatever, victim. NEVER refer to yourself as a victim of anything. If you survived it, you are a survivor.
Full Speed Ahead
When you feel the wind pick up, gather your forces and put your survival plan into place. Shelter, but when the winds still hit, hold on. Don’t wait for the storm to end before you start fighting back. Fight IN the storm. Fight for your health. Fight for your mind. Fight for your loved ones. Fight for your life. Never stop. Don’t Quit. Even if you get a direct hit, or two, come out of that shelter and create a brand new life. The old one is gone and it doesn’t really matter. You have to work with what you have today. So, if you feel like a failure or if you’ve had setbacks, know this, you are not alone. There are many people who fail repeatedly. They’re called Winners and Leaders. I believe that Winston Churchill summed it up, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” No one succeeds the first time, every time. Just keep getting up and you will get there. Only runners can win the race.