Knowing our weaknesses is as important as knowing our strengths. It is as easy to be blind to those things that hold us back as it is to create unnecessary limits on our own progress. We DO have limits. The trick is to recognize the real ones while not imposing false ones on ourselves. Learning to be both participant and observer is the key. That is why exercising ALL aspects of our well-being is so important.
No limit is written in stone. Growth is partially successfully expanding limits. That said, though, limits need to be respected … they can only be pushed so far and/or so fast. One of my personal weaknesses, one that I think I share with many, is impatience. While I am not afraid to put work into positive change, I all too often expect it to happen much faster than reasonable, and when it doesn’t I lose motivation and focus. This can cause difficulties in all aspects of life, especially if I let it continue unchecked. Practicing patience is perhaps one of my greatest challenges.
Change takes time. The very definition of time reflects this … time is essentially a series of events in which change occurs. The passage of time requires change, and change requires the passage of time. How much time depends on what we are changing, and the mechanics involved. When it comes to health and well-being, no positive change happens instantaneously. Physical fitness takes time and effort. It simply cannot happen overnight. The same is true for changing habits. This also applies to spiritual growth. The challenge for the impatient is when the change happens so slowly that it is practically imperceptible. This happens to all of us. Sometimes we reach plateaus, or maybe we are simply not pushing ourselves hard enough, but there will be periods when we put a lot of effort in with no apparent results. Those who thrive on routine might not be as bothered by this, but those of us who want things “now!” will find this irritating at best, and an actual effort stopper at worst.
So how do we deal with this, especially if we are impatient? Remember the simple fact that nothing worth achieving happens without effort … which includes the passage of time. If the seeming lack of progress causes us to want to stop, then maybe we need to shift gears for a bit (or possibly try a different approach altogether). But don’t give up! While putting the effort in may SEEM futile, NO effort is guaranteed failure. This is something I need to constantly remember myself. Keep on plugging, and when the change we seek actually occurs we might be pleasantly surprised. Even if not, it WILL come, unless we give up.