How often does, "consistency is key" ring through your head as you are pursuing a task at hand? I will say personally for myself, that has always been a battle of mine. "If only I could do this. If only I could stay on task. If only I could keep a perfect schedule...if only, if only, if only."
How many times have we started the latest diet trend, whether that is keto, paleo, intermittent fasting , macro counting, vegan, dairy free , sugar free etc, and the minute we mess up, we feel incredible guilt? I am over here raising my hand and jumping up and down because that is the story of my life. As a mom and wife with inattentive ADHD that went undiagnosed until I was 39 and life long anxiety, most of my childhood contains thoughts of personal failures and let downs. Disappointed sighs and glances from teachers. Groundings and other disciplines (most often rightly so) from my parents. Angry friends forgetting that I promised one thing and did another. Personal guilt forgetting an assignment was due and rushing feverishly to finish a product that could at least be turned in, even if it involved a little "help from my friends."
Of course this continued on into my own life as a wife and mother. Marriage is challenging enough without having a neurodevelopmental disorder. Science Daily defines ADHD as :
"Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (sometimes referred to as ADD for those without hyperactivity) is thought to be a neurological disorder, always present from childhood, which manifests itself with symptoms such as hyperactivity, forgetfulness, poor impulse control, and distractibility. "
Now, take an inattentive ADHD , a "free spirit" and anxiety disordered woman and marry a type A, get it done, how is this so hard, failure isn't an option kind of man, and what do you get?!
A massive explosion as the ADHD warrior walks away completely either oblivious or crushed at the outcome. Translation: it's really, really hard, for both parties.
This is where consistent vs. persistent comes into play.
Here's the deal. NOBODY IS CONSISTENT! NO ONE! Not one person. Unless of course you are a robot, and even then the wiring and programming fails. Let me repeat this so it sinks in a bit deeper in your noggin:
NOBODY IS CONSISTENT 100% OF THE TIME!!!
When we follow our goals, our schedules, our commitments and our promises say for 29 days straight, we start to think "Heck yeah! I am doing this! I am really changing, I am really becoming better!"
Then day 30 comes
We wake up at our usual new time of 6:30 am and get our scheduled exercise in. We gobble down the goodness of our "Cookie Dough overnight oats" we found on the newest intermittent fasting website we are following after breaking our 18 hour fast that we have been CRUSHING the last 29 days. We get to our job with our planned and prepared macro nutrient dense and perfect percentage grams of fats, carbs and protein meal. We are just KILLING this new change!!
However, at 4 pm we get a call from the babysitter. Baby Jack has a fever and we need to pick him up.
Uh Oh. This was not in the plan for today. Today was going to be work till 5, get the kids, bring them home, make supper and then take your daughter Penelope to dance. At dance class is where we were going to pay the online bills and listen to a podcast on "helping your child with sensory learning issues." After that, you were going to foam roll because today is your day to check that off the list, take a bath and shave your legs because goodness knows how long that has been AND prepare lunches and birthday treats for your eldest daughter! She asked for llama cupcakes and you had the cutest recipe off Pinterest you were going to try but now?!? NOW, you have to pick up your sick child and depending on the circumstances, either take him into Urgent Care or spend the night nursing your sweet bundle back to good health. We all know as moms, the best medicine comes right from our own hearts. Hugs and kisses, love and prayers. And as a mom, you wouldn't give this up for the world. You know when your babies are sick there is no where you would rather be than with them. Yet, it's frustrating, because now your 30 day streak has come to an end. Foam rolling wont happen, cupcakes are going to have to be bought, (if at all) , the bills won't get paid tonight and it's probably going to be a night of less to little sleep. ARGH!!!!
This. This is usually the pattern in life for me. Immediately, I feel overwhelmed. I feel like a failure. The anxiety and the racing brain starts to go crazy. "How will i get back on track? Tonight I won't get much sleep so I will try to sleep in, but then I won't get my workout in? I probably won't get my workout in anyway because baby will still be sick and I will have to miss my workout and call in to work. My daughter won't have a "special"birthday because my thoughts and focus will be on getting baby better. This is all to much! I can't do this anymore!"
Next, is usually when I would say, "Screw it. Screw this fasting.stuff. I am hungry, where are the brownies! It doesn't matter anyway, right? I am 41, married, who am I trying to impress? I am expecting WAY to much of myself being a mom, a wife, an employee, and a volunteer. Who am I kidding. I am destined to be tired, disappointing, frumpy and stressed. End of story."
Friends, can I tell you something? Imagine me right now, sitting right across from you looking directly into your eyes. I want to tell you this:
Consistency is not to the key to success. PERSISTENCE is the key to success. Albert Einstein said these words, "It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer." It's not IF you fail, it's when. Its not HOW MANY times you fail, it's about getting up again after what you think just HAS to be "the final straw."
Do you know that the human being is made up of 50% positive emotions and 50% negative emotions. This translates into FEELINGS ARE NOT THE ENEMY! Kristen Carder is an ADHD coach and has a podcast called the " I have ADHD podcast." It's amazing! Men, women, anyone with OR without ADHD would benefit from the tips and training that Kristen so freely gives. These words on emotions came from her as well, "Emotions cannot hurt you and they cannot kill you. They may make you feel bad but they are not the enemy." It is COMPLETELY normal to have negative feelings 50% of the time and positive feelings the other 50%. These feelings do not mean your life is good or bad, or that you are a success or a failure! They only mean your mind and body are reacting to the typical circumstances that happen to all of us in life! If we can look at "good feelings" as a gift and enjoy the feeling, and look at "bad" feelings as an adventure that we will learn and grow from and eventually some day, see the good, it will help keep those feelings in check. Again. FEELINGS ARE NOT THE ENEMY!
All those years growing up, that i felt bad about who I was did damage me. But I don't have to stay damaged. We have all been damaged in one way or another, but we can ALL be fixed. There is not a final destination of "perfection"on this earth. Perfection comes when we die through the faith we were given in our baptism and instruction and through Jesus Christ. Sola Gratia! Sola Fide! Sola Sciptura! (by Grace alone, by Faith alone, by Scripture alone.) Anywhere between now and then is a journey of learning, emotions, failures, successes, disappointments and encouragements.
Whether you are 5 or 75 yeas old, you can keep growing and changing. No one throws in the towel for you, only you can do that. If you have learned things along the way that have helped you, share that gift with others. If your emotions are telling you that you are "bad and a failure", acknowledge those emotions and then check in for the action. Every choice is a choice to learn from. "I enjoyed this, I didn't enjoy that. This brought positive results, this brought results I would rather not have". If everything in life is continued to be looked upon as learning vs "pass or fail" we will be much more ready and eager to move on to the next task at hand instead of wallowing in the "what ifs."
Keep climbing. There is no "top" on this side of heaven. It will be a climb the entire way to Eternity. The amazing thing is, the top of the mountain has already been won and given to us. How far we climb the mountain on this side of heaven will mean nothing to God. "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7. Your job is just to get back up. It's NEVER to late, to get back up again.