Backslide to Win


Something I know how to do very well is spin my wheels. I’ve analyzed it every-which-way, and I think I finally figured out why I can get stuck or fail at a goal, or a New Year’s Resolution, for that matter.

The revelation occurred after our most recent pre-Christmas snow storm. I was trying to get out of my little sub, make it to the store and get provisions (dinner rolls) for my family.

I live in a one-street subdivision – when I pull out of my driveway, the only way out is to get up a steep hill. This hill is usually, along with the rest of my “neighborhood,” one of the last areas the snowplow clears. I dread this hill. This hill is the reason I’ve rented hotel rooms close to work, fearing I might miss a day on the job after getting trapped on this treacherous hill.

The horror of it all: I might have to walk the .15 (yes, a tenth and a half) mile back to my house in a blizzard to ask my husband for help.

As you can probably imagine, I was fear-stricken during the storm in early December, when I knew I would have to face the hill in order to get dinner rolls for an early Christmas family celebration.

I made it about a third of the way up and got stuck. Bound and determined not to be a victim, I spun my wheels, honestly thinking I would be the person to defy naysayers and free myself from a snow trap using my gas pedal and tires. In my heart, I knew that I should back up, get to flat land and accelerate; but I did not want to back up. I had already made it part way up the hill. Back up? You don’t back up.

After a few minutes of struggling, a neighbor in his car stopped to suggest I back down the hill to flat land, accelerate and get momentum. (Know-it-all.)

“I’ve got this,” I said. He smiled smugly and drove away.

When the coast was clear, I backed up. I got to flat land, hit the accelerator, and made it to the top. The trip was slow and shaky, but I made it.

Once out on the open, snow-cleared roads, it hit me. I had gotten stuck. And I was too proud to ask for help or accept it humbly when it was freely given. I was so caught up in the setback that I was not willing to accept that backsliding was the only way I could conquer the hill. Even when I did grudgingly accept my fate, I was frustrated that I had to go back, and that it was still hard to reach the top.

That is life. Backsliding can be a gift. It is not a failure if I ultimately achieve my goal. I also must listen to my inner voice telling me that is exactly what I need to do.

Also, when someone who has traveled this path before suggests a way to reach the finish line, I should welcome the gift of their experience.

The goals I set are not the problem. My ego is what blocks me. Discouragement merely offers me an opportunity to have the courage to move forward, even if it means I must go backwards to get there.

Happy New Year!


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