I have a funny story for you.

About 3 weeks ago, I started a “30-day get-back-into-shape” plan. I’d just come off a bad spell – including a weekend in the hospital. That’s a long story all on its own, which I’ll write about soon (when I’m feeling brave).

Basically, though, I was sick of feeling sick.

My plan was going great. I was working out every day (just right, not too much), making headway on some business and personal stuff, and I was happy with the progress I was making.

Seriously, even though I was concentrating mostly on cardio exercises during the first week (part of that long story), I was getting stronger. One night I had my group training session clients do some sun salutations, and I was surprised at how easily I could lower into chaturanga without going to the floor, and push into full upward-facing dog.

It felt amazing.

In fact, that’s when I started thinking about putting together a real 30-day plan for this blog, that I could do in real-time with my readers. How awesome would that be? (Awesome!)

And then that let me to think:

“Slow down, speed racer. You know how it’s gone these past few years. If you make this a ‘thing,’ you’re gonna jinx yourself. Instead, write about it offline as you go, get the 30 days done, and THEN publish it for readers to follow along with.”

‘Ha, Ha, Ha!’ Saith The Universe

The next morning I woke up at my usual time and walked the dog. I noticed I felt colder than usual and generally “off.” I couldn’t seem to warm up when we came inside, so I took my temp.

It was 94 degrees … on two different thermometers.

Now, on the one hand having a low temp wasn’t shocking, as I was just coming out of a significant thyroid “crisis,” caused by a medical snafu (that long story I referred to above). And I always run a low temp anyway (again, thyroid).

But on the other hand, that’s ridiculous. I bundled up, drank some hot tea, and kept moving, and eventually my temp came up a little bit, so I went to work.

By nighttime, I was downright sick, with a real fever this time, and for the next three days all I did was sleep.

That meant I missed a major exam I was supposed to take for an advanced qualification I was working toward. Plus, I’m self-employed, so my income took yet another hit (part of the long story).

Mostly though, I basically 1) felt like shit and 2) was beyond embarrassed by this nonstop barrage of problems. Plus, I was exhausted and I looked like a stoner because I was so tired.

Not very fit-spirational!

To top it all off, I developed shingles … and out of the blue my knee started hurting, which made me walk with a limp.

Did you ever see the old Mary Tyler Moore show, where she goes through a bad spell? It’s considered one of the top 100 sitcom episodes of all time – it’s called Put on a Happy Face. It’s a classic because we can all relate to it.

When I went to see my doc, a few more things came up (part of that long story, having to do with thyroid issues).

We agreed: I was in the midst of a bonafide “spell.” Like, all I could do was laugh. But … also not laugh.

Because how would I turn things around?

How to Get Out of a Rut

… or stop getting your ass kicked, and start kicking ass instead.

I already knew the answer, and I sure wish it was sexier. There’s only one real way to move forward, even if you’re in the middle of a “spell.” 

The bad news: It’s the opposite of following a 30-day plan.

Now, I already knew all this based on my numerous (ha!) years of experience both living my life and coaching others. But the thing is, like everyone else on the planet, I wanted a plan that took me from A to B to C … preferably as fast as possible.

The good news: The key to moving forward is simple, whether or not you’re in a spell.

You just have to keep moving ahead, probably more slowly than you like, at least to start.

The bad news part two: You have to be patient, do stuff you might not always want to do, and get a little uncomfortable from time to time.

Seriously, I’ve used the whole “be patient, take your time, do a little bit of something every single day” routine numerous times. It’s how I got into fitness in the first place, after a partially misspent youth. It’s also how I achieved my goal of writing for major newsstand magazines, got a publishing deal on a book, trained for and finished a triathlon, prepared for a bodybuilding show, and more.

Chances are you won’t move toward your end goal in a straight line, and you might even back up/move sideways a little. You might even move at a snail’s pace.

Also, chances are you are gonna have to make some trade-offs along the way. 

We’ve all seen the meme:

 

It’s pretty accurate.

And none of this means you can’t follow a 30-day plan. But what it does mean is that it might take 45 (or more) days. You might change vehicles mid-trip. You might decide you actually enjoy the scenery on a particular detour, and you could even change your ultimate destination.

The thing is, you just can’t stop.

Here’s my plan. Do a little working out every day. Load up my diet with nutrient-dense foods (I have a great recipe tomorrow). If I’m tired, rest.

Reevaluate in a week.

Are you ready to start with me? I have a feeling that the trip is gonna be worth it.

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