Everyone screws up… and that’s okay. We’re human.

Life is cyclical. How do we make this cycle of getting off track after doing well less frequent? Simply trying to do the things we have already been doing won’t help. We need to train ourselves to make progressive improvement. At this point, you may be thinking, “Okay, Allison. How much more cliché can you be?” Just hear me out…

A critical difference exists between trying and training. Here’s a simple analogy to illustrate what I’m getting at: We want to run an entire marathon nonstop. In this case, trying would entail going on some runs, then just going for it! Would we achieve the goal of running 26.2 miles (without stopping) this way? Slim chance. What if we gradually increase the amount we run over the course of months or longer? Now we’re talking…

In order to condition ourselves physically and mentally for similarly harrowing tasks, we can’t keep putting along as we are now. What got us to where we are now won’t get us to where we need to be, so we must begin training. But get this… a lifestyle change is necessary. We will have to manage our time, kick some bad habits (e.g. drinking, eating junk food, smoking, not stretching, etc.), and plan a course of action. We will need to gradually increase the number of miles we conquer at one time. We shouldn’t expect ourselves to simply go run 26.2 miles nonstop. That’s insanity. It’s time to make changes to achieve real goals. It’s time to stop trying and start training.

In life, we’re all in training. We’re all striving to be the best people we can be, but guess what? We will still have our moments. We’ll still get off track every once in a while. Maybe we kicked binge drinking for a couple years, then BAM! “But these black tie parties are poppin’…” Maybe we broke from the college hookup culture, then BAM! Casual sex. We excuse ourselves… “Oh, I had a couple drinks too many. It won’t happen again.” We excuse ourselves for the slip-ups, but in reality our weaknesses crept back up on us. Maybe we’ve maintained a positive outlook for the majority of our lives. Maybe we’ve been known for positive attitudes people gravitate towards… but recently our best friend passed away, or we didn’t get the promotion we’ve worked so hard for. Maybe we put ourselves into depressive funks. We have to pull ourselves out of them! Better yet, prevent ourselves from recessing at all.

Don’t just try to make it through each day with a fake smile. Keep smiling until it’s genuine! Train your mind–even your subconscious–to look forward to the bright future you are creating with every single decision you make. Good decision making leads to positive outcomes. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into being a victim of circumstance. Whose decisions led to those outcomes?

If you’ve read my previous posts, then you’ll recall Materialism…Don’t You Love It? Well, frivolity got the best of me… again. You know what’s so bad about this? I knew I was backsliding when I walked into Denver’s Cherry Creek Shopping Center. One night I was sitting in my cousin’s condo when I noticed my shopping bags and thought to myself, “Seriously, Allison?” I justified every purchase I made. For example, I wore the same pair of black patent pumps for so long I wore holes into the soles. My insoles were the only thing separating the balls of my feet and the ground, so I told myself I deserved an upgrade… Louboutins. Oh, whatever… who says I deserve anything more than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? But you know what? At least I was conscious of the mistakes I was making this time. Last time I didn’t even realize what I was doing. I just swiped my debit card. So you know what I call this “fail”? I call it a win! I’m training myself to make the smartest financial choice every time a decision needs to be made, but it won’t just happen overnight. I’m a 23 year old female. I’m willing to bet I’ll mess up again. I’ll get off track again. I’ll make some more frivolous decisions, but I’ll improve! Hopefully I’ll backslide less and less frequently.

For the rest of our lives, we will “fail” again and again. It’s time to eliminate the words “fail” and “failure” from our vocabularies. We are never truly failures as long as we don’t give up on training to improve our lives (and the lives of others as a result!). If we want to change our lives or achieve meaningful goals, we must stop half-@$$ trying and start training.

-Allison Isaacson