As a fitness instructor, I’ve observed how perception influences the transition from starting point to making progress toward goals. For example, if someone wants to lose twenty pounds, she may over-focus on the desired outcome of fitting into jeans or buying swimsuits. Longing for the end goal (that may or may not happen the way she wants) makes small successes along the way impossible to see. It makes incorporating new, healthy behaviors into her routine feel like drudgery. Every meal and workout becomes an obstacle preventing the outcome, instead of measurable progress she can celebrate.
It’s as if she is on the ground, trying to leap onto a roof in a single bound. It’s impossible to make successful transitions this way. This mindset usually leads to giving up, regressing, or sinking further into unhealthy behaviors. Some antonyms for transition describe this well: stoppage, decrease, idleness, stagnation, decline.
I’ve been stuck in this mindset for two weeks. Our city entered a third lockdown. We've returned to online school. Another pandemic-related transition.
I have all my normal responsibilities plus new ones. Again. My stress relievers—gyms and coffee shops—are closed. Again.
I understand why it’s necessary, but I despaired when I heard the news and groaned, “I can’t do this again.”
After a week of exhaustion, trying to accomplish my normal routine as if there had been no change, I realized my efforts were not sustainable. I could not change the realities of another shutdown, but I could make healthy choices in the transition.
I went to God in brokenness and took time to decompress. Eventually I realized completing my goals would take longer than I wanted. That was a reality I needed to accept. Instead of giving up, how could I set more reasonable goals? How could I learn to recognize and celebrate small victories in a slower process? Those shorter, reachable rungs on a ladder would eventually get me closer to my goals.
Once again, through practical life experience, God is teaching me to enjoy the process of refinement and see beauty in small victories. I am free to relax into the pace He is setting in this transition.
What have you learned in the past that could be helpful to remember when unexpected transition comes into your life?