How Failure and Guilt Can Still Motivate Change

Sep 25

How Failure and Guilt Can Still Motivate Change

A few weeks ago, you guys might remember about how I got totally fired up about this Skinnyjeans program – a 12 week program that was meant to give me this golden opportunity to put myself first for the first time in … well, I don’t even know how long. I vowed to blog weekly so that I could record this worm-to-butterfly transformative period in my life; my metamorphosis, if you will.

The first couple of weeks, I did absolutely great – totally on point. Hitting all the workouts, eating right on track 5-7 times a day without eating out at all – I was even seeing some spiritual and tangible results.

The third week, I started slipping.

The fourth week, I was stumbling.

And by the fifth week? Forget about it.

And here we are.

Elizabeth Langford, a colleague and photographer I follow and a fellow Showiteer, recently wrote a blog about feeling The Guilt of Rest, and something she said really resonated with me down to my core. She said, “I decided that production meant progress and progress was everything.”

This is my life, summed up in a single sentence.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been working toward something – in high school, I worked toward graduating at the top of my class. I’m constantly working on my marriage and cultivating it. I’m constantly working on being a good mom, daughter, sister, and friend. I’m constantly hustling in our business – shooting and editing, and then all the behind the scenes stuff: meeting with vendors and colleagues in the industry, social media, blogging, taking courses to improve business and marketing and techniques; the list of production and progress could literally go on and on.

lucille ball quotes, quotes about taking care of yourself first, quotes about mommy guilt

I’m not joking when I say that I’m on-the-go from the time I jump out of bed to the time I crash watching Gilmore Girls at night. On a typical day, I’m up around 5 in the morning (without an alarm clock), blogging my daily post, gearing social media posts for the day and enjoying a cup of coffee, packing lunches and getting kids out the door to two different schools by 8 in the morning. I get from 9 to 1:30 to do whatever work needs to be done on the computer (editing, uploading, client emails, helping with timelines or answering planning questions, or a million other things), then I’m picking up kids from the schools until 3, and then it’s usually a couple hours of kid’s homework, cooking dinner and putting kids to bed by 8pm. By the time I get around to some peace and quiet … I’m too exhausted to even consider working out for any length of time (especially not for an hour) and on most nights, I’m asleep by 9 or 9:30. Add in Randy’s school schedule, cleaning the house and home renovation projects, and everyone’s social schedule … It’s impossible to not feel guilty when I miss something, because I feel like I’m letting someone, somewhere down if I do. It’s hard not to feel like I have to keep up with XYZ Photographer. It’s awful having one of the kids tell me to get “un-busy” or to have Randy tell me to put my phone down. I’m constantly battling between who to let down and what to give up … and guess what? It’s usually almost always myself.

I absolutely love my busy life, and wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s.

But that ever-present nagging guilt is always there. If I’m spending time with my kids, that means I’m neglecting work. If I’m working on business stuff, I’m neglecting my relationship with Randy. If I’m grabbing coffee with a friend, I’m neglecting the house. If I’m not at home, I’m neglecting the dogs.

I think every parent out there feels like this, sometimes. I think every business owner, at some point, feels like this. But a business-owning-parent? This struggle is Where do I fit in on my “to do” list?

meal planning reality check,

Maybe the 12 week program was just too much for me to take on, especially at the start of the busiest wedding season we’ve ever had. Maybe I set myself up for failure by not meal planning well enough (I saw ^^ that meme ^^ floating around Facebook earlier this week and couldn’t help but crack up, I’ve definitely served the tears of our forefathers on a Friday before). Maybe I could have done better if I wasn’t the one responsible for all the meals in the house. Maybe if I made smaller goals and not made such a long-term commitment … There’s a endless possibilities as to why this particular program just didn’t work for me, and why I failed at it.

Failure and guilt can still be a catalyst for change, though.

When I was starting to falter in the program, someone told me I wasn’t failing if I still wanted to change, and still kept moving forward. They reminded me that having a few bad days isn’t the end of the world; it just means waking up the next morning with a renewed spirit and to keep on truckin’. They reminded me of the old “get back on the horse” cliche. At this point, 10 days after my last workout and the last time I ate spinach – I can honestly say I don’t feel like I belong in the challenge anymore.

I can’t be alone in this constant struggle though, right? I have always read that if something is important to someone, they’ll make time for it. I’m thinking if we start with a smaller goal – something we can do as a family, something we can realistically manage with our busy work and family lifestyle? I think at this point, I just don’t have the time to devote to working out – at least not 6 days a week for an hour. But since we do have to eat, and I’m already cooking every single meal of every single day … I can do something to improve our food.

I’ve been hearing a lot about this Whole30 program …. it’s only a 30 day challenge, and it’s all focused on eating good food and getting nutrition back on track. It’s basically eating paleo for a month – no dairy, no grains, and no definitely no sugars. We’ve done paleo before, and we both felt WAY better cutting out that extra crap from our diet, but it was never 100% spot-on. I feel like I can’t just jump into an extreme lifestyle change with working out AND nutrition … but maybe we CAN do a temporary challenge to segway into a healthier lifestyle.

I think this is something we can do, and we are going to start our first Whole30 on October 1st.

Join us on our Whole30 Pinterest Board, to see the recipes we’ll be testing out! 

Have you done a Whole30? Tell us about your experience, share your tips and anything else you think might be good to know!