Determination is funny stuff. You can’t buy it, you can’t bottle it, in fact, if you don’t have any, the only way to obtain some is to create it for yourself. A little like water in your hands, it can trickle through your fingers and be gone, if you are not keeping an eye on it. Along with perseverance, it is the driving force behind each and every one of us achieving our goals in life.
Determination and perseverance are slightly different things. Chambers online dictionary defines Determination as “firmness or strength of will, purpose or character” whereas Perseverance is defined as “continued effort to achieve something one has begun, despite setbacks”.
So it might be said that perseverance stems from determination, they might even be inextricably linked. However, I have to report, to myself as much as to you, that I have had a couple of wobbles on the determination and perseverance fronts these last few days.
This goal of mine, to reach a target weight of 75kg, has been going so well. The weight loss has been steady, not dramatic, controlled and relatively continuous, until now. I’ve been burning far more calories each day than I have been consuming, and my level of personal fitness has improved noticeably, but I’ve become complacent.
My eating habits, so carefully controlled over the last three months, have become sloppy. I have allowed myself ‘treats’ on the basis that I will ‘burn them off’ later in the day, or week. But the scales do not lie, and having ‘treated’ myself a little too often, and having been unable or unwilling to cycle yesterday because of the bad weather, my weight has started to creep back up again …
Ok, so it’s not the end of the world, but it is a wake-up call for me. I have to refocus, concentrate on my goal and strengthen my determination to persevere with my quest. Maybe, as with my Buddhist practice, the occasional set-back is almost a good thing. Without challenges, how can we grow stronger? Without resistance, how can we measure our own strength?
So, having admitted to my failings in a very public way, I can now regroup and gird my loins for a serious amount of cycling tomorrow. I’ve taken a day off work, partly to take advantage of the improved weather we have been promised, but mainly to cover a lot of scenic miles through the beautiful New Forest.
I’m even going to cycle there and back, adding a further 40 miles to the days exertions, so that should put it on a par with my trip up to Bristol a few weeks back. I’m really looking forward to getting started, and also to getting well and truly back on track.