You know the phrase… “get on the band wagon” “fell off the band wagon” “jumping back on the band wagon”
Did you know that this phrase goes back to the days of Barnum and the circus? The circus used to parade through town on what they called Band Wagons to advertise and get people to come to the circus. Politicians later adapted this method when campaigning for office. Now that I know that, I think back to high school when we would have the homecoming parades and we would create floats and cruise around town and people would jump on or jump off of them… that’s the mental picture I get now when I think about a “band wagon”…
We often use this phrase to talk about joining an idea or thought or habit… and we use it when we stop doing that thing we had joined. A lot of times (in my world anyways) it’s referred to when dieting or exercising. We fall off the band wagon when we have a period of time when we are eating junk and not caring and we jump back on when we suddenly decide to diet and exercise again. I have said it many times (probably in a former blog post at that).
A friend said this to me this week: “I have failed time and time again with this “weight loss” issue. It make me cringe when I say “I’m gonna do it this time, this time it’s for real, this time I’m not giving up” And I know exactly what she is talking about. It’s hard to go through that cycle, it just makes you feel worse every time. And then we take those negative feelings and we want to turn around and cope with food, furthering the issue! And then we don’t want to tell anyone that we’re going to try to lose weight for fear of accountability and if we fail then we have to own up to it.
Here is what I think the problem is… we are too hard on ourselves and we leave ourselves no room for failure. I can’t tell you how many times (in the past) I would start a “diet” and I would do so great for a few days, maybe a few weeks, and then I’d have one bad day and cancel out everything I had done up to that point and use that as an excuse to eat junk …until the next wave of motivation came along and then I’d start the cycle all over again. How frustrating is this?
I know all of this because I have been through all of it. That’s why it took so long for me to get to a breaking point. I was stuck in this tail spin for a long time.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”
“To get what you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”
And so on. But it’s all the same meaning. I spent years in that cycle. I never saw real change. I would have spurts of success but never anything that lasts and I never really felt different.
Here’s the thing I’ve learned: I’m going to have bad days, weak moments… it’s inevitable.
The trick to this whole journey that I am on is this: Each day is a new day. Each experience (whether good or bad) is a learning experience. So I resolve to get up every morning and try again. To improve upon yesterday and to take notice of what I failed at so that I can learn from it. Every time I fail I get stronger. I embrace it. I am obviously not purposefully failing…but I am not beating myself up for a bad day or a weak moment. That is the key to where I am right now.
I am not perfect. And I hope I never come across that way. I decided to be open and transparent with this journey which terrified me…because as many people do, I was worried what everyone would think of me. What if they knew what my numbers were? What if they talk bad about me and gossip and I’ll look like a bad person and be ashamed and hurt by it. Quite frankly, it’s been the exact opposite. Opening up about it, facing it head on and allowing others in has given me strength and support I did not anticipate. And quite frankly, if someone is talking bad about me or judging me by those numbers, it really speaks to their character and not mine, and so I will not define myself by other peoples flaws. Back to my original point: I am not perfect. Yes, I am seeing results, and I am choosing to celebrate the little things and the big things, but I don’t have it all worked out. I’m a work in progress. I just wake up with the desire to get it right and I try again. And every day gets a little better. So….I have decided that I’m burning the band wagon. There’s no more jumping on and falling off. I’ve got a one way ticket towards my goal and I won’t stop. Even when I fail or get it wrong, I’ll just try again tomorrow.