Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quitting is not an option!

Good Morning!  It is 6:00 a.m. and I’m dressed and ready for work, but really am not quite awake and raring to go yet, even though I’ve been up since 3 a.m. Some days are like that, I suppose. I’ve yet to come up with anything profound to focus my thoughts on today and I’ve spent the wee morning hours just thinking about all the things that are on my plate these days.  Much of it is exciting; much of it is stressful; much of it is humbling and somewhat frightening....but all of it is GOOD in some way.
I’ve headed into the final month of the school semester, and honestly, I will be SO HAPPY when this semester is over. It’s been a rough one and the amount of classwork expected in one of my classes has been quite overwhelming. Had I realized how much time I was required to put into these classes, I would not have enrolled in them...because my “just for fun” courses have turned into a big, big stress producer.  BUT….the end is near….even though there is a HUGE….very HUGE….. project looming over my head. These next weeks are going to test my commitment and resolve in a big way. BUT….sometimes those things that test our will….and challenge us in a big way….are the very things that build our character, confidence, and strengthen us to  persist in even more important things in life. 

Perhaps you had a parent, like I did, that frowned on “quitting.”  Although I am well-known for starting projects and not finishing them, I was taught as a child that quitting when things get hard isn’t really an option. When I wanted to quit piano lessons, my mom insisted that I practice and keep at it, “because some day you’ll be glad you can play piano.”  I am glad I can play the piano, but I haven’t done it in years because I no longer have one to play.  When I wanted to quit the softball team because I was not a very good player and we lost just about every game, my mother didn’t allow it, saying “You made a commitment to the team; you can’t quit.”  When I walked away from Girl Scout Camp as a little girl, explaining to my mom that  they wanted me to do “stupid activities and sleep in a tent,” she insisted that I go the Girl Scout meeting the next week and apologize to the group leader. (I hated that!) 

As I look back on those life-lessons, I realize that I was incredibly blessed to have a mother who taught me principles that would later impact my life in a powerful way. It saddens me, however, to realize that I didn’t come to appreciate all those things until later in life, many years after her sudden death at a very young age. I never got to tell her, “Thank You.”  Part of what keeps me going in this journey….that keeps me pushing myself to the limit…..that keeps me trying harder each day…..is thinking that the best way to honor my parents….is to live those lessons and teach them to others.

One of the most common questions I’m asked these days is, “What kept you going, Theresa…..How did you stick with the plan…..Didn’t you ever want to quit and give up?”  Of course, I wanted to give up….sometimes I still do, especially when I’m overly stressed and tired, and feel torn in many directions.  Absolutely, I asked/told myself, “Is it all worth it…..I’ll probably just gain it all back anyway; almost everybody does…..This is just stupid: I’ve followed this plan to a T, not wavering once, and this is the 3RD week in a row where I stayed the same.”   Sometimes now, as exciting as it is to be given all these opportunities to share my story, I think, “Gosh, for ONE week, it would be nice to just go home and not have to worry about all these things like, “What am I going to wear for this speech….what am I going to say…what if they don’t like me….how on earth am I going to have time to go do this latest photo shoot for yet another magazine….how am I supposed to inspire someone who is at rock bottom…..” and so forth……and yet, I’m so incredibly blessed……and Quitting is not an option!  My mother didn’t allow it…and I won’t allow it for myself either!  Thank you, mom….for that!

In my day-to-day interaction with struggling students, I often have appointments with individuals that want to quit school.  Sometimes there are valid and very serious reasons why a student has to withdraw from classes...serious illness; death of a loved one; tragedy or accident. Those situations are different. I was in that position in my early college career as a teenager; I quit the first time around to go to work full-time and to help my mom when she had heart attack.  But most of the students simply want to quit because “it’s hard….it’s too much work….I’m doing my best and still not “getting it”….there is just too many other things I’d rather be doing than homework.”  Those are the students that I need to really try to reach…to teach them that “Life is hard.....no one gets a “free ride”……it takes work and effort to reach goals, etc…”  It’s a challenge to convince them that the joy and satisfaction of reaching one’s goal….or reaching the end….of pushing yourself to the limit….is worth the effort.  Thank you, mom…for teaching me that lesson, so that I, in turn, can teach others the same!

I’m guessing that some…if not all…of you have felt this way about your own personal journey to wellness. Maybe you are at that point now.  Perhaps you’ve tried and failed, so you quit and gave up hope completely. Perhaps you’ve been successful in the past, but have slipped into old habits and find yourself back to square one again.  Perhaps you have ‘busted your butt” for weeks and have yet to see any progress….the scale hasn’t moved; people haven’t noticed; your clothes are still tight; you still can’t walk up the stairs without huffing and puffing.  Perhaps you’ve found that “It’s just too hard” and you’ve convinced yourself that you can’t do it.  Anyone willing to admit this is “YOU?”  Of course, it’s you….if not today….it used to be YOU….and chances are…it you will feel this again and again and again…for the rest of your life.  Human nature is that we all want to take the easiest path…the path of least resistance.  I don’t know of anyone who consciously says, “I’m going to look for the hardest way to do this….so that I can suffer the most…..take the most painful approach”…(but I suppose there are those who think this way).  We all have been…or are…tempted to give up, to turn back, and to lose hope.   BUT…..for me…..QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION!   Even if I die trying; I won’t give up! SIGH…………….THANK YOU, MOM! 

And so…..if you’ve quit….if you’ve given up….yesterday, last week, last month…..or already this morning….. Tell yourself right now, “I am not a QUITTER. Quitting is not an option. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, I want to give up. Yes, it stinks because I want pancakes. No, I don’t want to exercise…No, I don’t want to eat one more day of salad…..BUT, I AM NOT A QUITTER!!!!!  Theresa says I can’t quit…Theresa says that it will be worth it. Theresa said that God will be with me.  Theresa says I CAN DO THIS!”  Dig deep….stay positive…start over….and do what you have to do…BUCKLE DOWN and GET IT DONE!  You can….and you will change your life…..but NOT IF YOU QUIT!  Don’t give up on your miracle!  It’s hard work…but it’s so worth it!

Make it a happy day!