After spending nearly three months in Sweden, I am back in the US of A. While I am happy to be back and enjoying the bright sunny California days, I have to admit I went through a bit of an adjustment period. In one way, being in my home here was new and fresh and in another way it felt as though I had never left. Travel is strange in that way. You plan, pack, get on a plane and fly half way around the world – experience amazing moments. Time flies. Then the next thing you know you are back where you came from… jet lagged and a bit disoriented.

Prior to leaving Sweden, I had promised myself that I would run each and every day for 21 days as part of an experiment. And OK…I’m am going to say it just as it is…I failed. I haven’t run each and every day. For days I’ve put off admitting this because maybe I’m a bit ashamed.

In the process of trying to run for 21 days straight, I have to admit that I really don’t like running. LOL! There I said it!!! I’ve run a day here and there and then have gone on long bike rides and swam. Today I rode with a friend from Irvine to the backbay of Newport – the other day I swam for 20 minutes – the day before that I cycled 25 miles – the next day I ran 2 miles.  And I’ve learned something about myself in the process. I enjoy variety. I know, I know…I’m a slacker surrounding my 21 day experiment.

But…I’m thinking it’s OK for goal revision and forgiveness. I can change my goal to 21 days of exercise in its various forms. I can forgive myself for failure. It took me days to write this post because of my guilt. As I’ve contemplated my inability to force myself to run for 21 days straight, I realized how easy it is for us not to forgive ourselves for past failures. We become angry with ourselves – we become stagnant -we look at ourselves as weak. And then there is our support system who may chuckle at our constant goal setting efforts and very little follow through.

I’m thinking I need to look at what I was trying to accomplish – the big picture. My goal really at the core is to get in shape and to grow better habits. I need to realize that there are many ways to get there. Goal revision is acceptable and maybe healthier than I know. I have to own who I am and then try to build a framework that makes sense for me. I need to analyze myself and learn to set goals that make my soul come alive. For instance, my self-analysis includes the fact that I love lots of colors – all type of people – surprises – new experiences. So it may be that my goal setting needs to include variety?

My 21 day project will be revised to 30 minute of exercise per day – running will be a part of it, but so will a lot of other activities I love.

I’m wondering how I can apply this lesson to other areas of my life? Maybe I haven’t finished a book to be published because I’m in need of a bit of variety…try writing from new places…read a wider variety of authors that inspire me before sitting down to write…make my home chores more fun and in a different order each time…

Writing this post is moving me beyond my shame based train of thought. I am OK even though I’m not perfect. I hope whoever reads this gives him or herself a break to. Moving to new levels cooking requires that we forgive ourselves and move on.

– Jen Engevik