Start, re-start and then start some more

This blog was written for and published by Future Females | January 2019


You’ve got your matching gear, latest sneakers, your personalised water bottle.  You’ve memorised all the necessary #motivationalquotes and your playlist is so hot, it’s burning up.  Who needs Eskom?  Watch out Rocky, here comes Thandi!

Bam! You kill your first workout and spend an hour afterwards, inspecting your new potential six-pack in the mirror. Every fibre of your being oozes vitamins and minerals.  Your blood has literally been replaced by green juice.  Is this how The Hulk feels?  You check every 15 minutes whether a major label hasn’t yet discovered you via your Instagram #burnitbossbabe posts.

You’re on fire! You’re a champion starter.

And then. Day two.  Day four. Day seven.  You are your aching muscles.  You are the bags under your eyes.  You are the capital U in Urgh.  You are no longer Dangerous Dlamini.  You are Demotivated Damsel in Distress. You have reverted to your vegetative state of couch potato, with a glass of high calorie, skin aging wine in hand.  #burnit posts have become #bornthisway #lovewhoyouare #greenmustfall.

Getting started, yeah, it can be a challenge, but it’s all about the excitement of the new blingy thingies.  The great hope of hyping yourself up to walking into new year, new you with confidence.  Getting started is that one tiny step at the beginning of a thousand kilometre journey and all that. Just one teeny tiny step. Easy peasy.

When does the reality hit the tar?  What you do after you started.  The first day is slain baby, it’s getting through the hard parts on day 65 and 115 that makes you a queen or a quitter.

Walking into your new job with a killer outfit and meeting everyone new is rad, but it’s when you have to start to impress your new boss with actual content where it gets serious.  When you have to prove your worth and talk with conviction.

“Good begun is half done” might rhyme, but it’s not true, says John Acuff, author of “Finished”.  According to John – who studied this by the way – 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail.  He further says that “The most effective exercises were not those that pushed people to work harder. The ones that got people to the finish line did just the opposite— they took the pressure off.  The sneakiest obstacle to meeting your goals is not laziness, but perfectionism. We’re our own worst critics, and if it looks like we’re not going to do something right, we prefer not to do it at all. That’s why we’re most likely to quit on day two, “the day after perfect”—when our results almost always underper­form our aspirations.”

And almost counter-intuitively, Mr Acuff writes, you need to have more fun: people who have more fun are 43% more successful.  I can deal with that.

Number one rule of survival: you need grit.   Say what?  Grit is a special blend of passion and long-term perseverance.  Remarkably, it’s not how smart or how talented you are, but what goes through your mind when you fall down and how quickly you get back up again.  It’s how well you walk through the fire and what’s in tact when you get to the other side. Arnold Schwarzenegger says it’s about working you’re a$$ off.  Deciding on your goal and sticking to it: single mindedly.  It’s about ignoring your own lame excuses and pressing on.

Let’s get this right:  less pressure on trying to be perfect, have more fun and get used to surviving those punches: sometimes beaten, never defeated. No lame excuses, but give yourself the gift of time and compassion.

Therefore, when you start, know that it’s about day 365 and not about day one.  Visualise the end and work – and dance sometimes – your tooshie off to get to future you.

You will fail. But you gotta get up and start again and again and again.


Recommended reads:


“Finish: give yourself the gift of done” by John Acuff

“Grit: the power of passion and perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

“Total recall: my unbelievably true life story” by Arnold Schwarzenegger



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