This month is the time to place reality front and center. Every thought can have an excuse, as we all can agree. Before you read any further, take a pen and write the following three words:
Consistent, Insistent, and Persistent (CIP).
The next step is to write what you think is a definition. As you read, keep those words in mind and apply them to yourself.
If I am correct, I have been writing since 2012 and have shared the thoughts of many people from around the world. The common thread has been honesty in stating reality about their feelings, aspirations, and their obstacles or setbacks.
I often wonder how they overcame the situations which they faced. It was not until recently that I heard a person use the words consistent and persistent.
The Health and Fitness information within the MISSION:Milspouse family is a tool for encouragement and inspiration.
We all need the support to help achieve our goal of feeling good about ourselves and staying healthy.
Here are the comments shared by Lindsay Amherst in 2017 as she described part of her journey:
The sport I identify most with is running, but this certainly has not always been the case. I was never athletic growing up. My parents were not athletic either, or my family was not the “outdoorsy” type. I played softball in my community growing up, but that provided more social growth for me than exercise.
In high school, I remember trying out for track one time, getting winded, and walking back to the gym, thinking there was no way I would ever attempt running again.
Throughout my Marine Corps enlistment, I was a decent runner, but I never trained to excel at it. I believe my 3-mile time was usually around 22 minutes and during pt my platoon rarely covered over 6 miles at an easy pace.
I did not truly consider myself a runner until 2012. 2011 had been a really lousy year. My marriage fell apart, and an unhealthy lifestyle led to a stroke that left me half blind in my left eye.
At age 29, I moved back home to Rhode Island to live with my mom (what a saint). I was looking for social support during that really tough time, and I found the Rhode Island Road Runners. They were an older, social running club who welcomed me with open arms.
I could not even make it 3 miles the first time I joined them, but a member was more than happy to walk with me back to the car. I did not give up. I continued to run with them every week, and in addition to my healing that running offered, I began making lifelong friends (something running is really good for!).
Over the years, it has been difficult to contain my emotions during interviews in learning about the various obstacles (reality) which people shared.
I will be honest that it has been an emotional journey reading response. There have been many that brought tears to my eyes, and I ask how did the person get through?
I am not talking about runners but people who are into fitness and at a variety of sports such as golf and walking.
Are you keeping the three words in your mind as you read?
I am like most of those who I have written about in that we had no Olympic aspirations, as just wanted to be fit by our definitions.
Would see a person who I thought was overweight and out of shape and think back I was like that. I see some of the same and I cannot stay up with them as I pull aside to let them pass.
My challenge surfaced in 2015 when I was diagnosed with a heart condition involving my mitral valve. The valve was not functioning properly, which was affecting my ability to run faster.
Reality was setting in.
The mind was trying to push the body to dangerous limits. We like to think we are better.
On July 10, 2017, I was in the operating room twice for my valve repair. I will spare the complications. I had run a marathon a month prior. I was trying to process how many things had changed from a best time of 3 hours and 4 fours to 6 hours and 15 minutes.
I could tell you it was okay, but in my quiet moments it was hard to accept, and I was mentally in a dark place.
It has been God, family, fitness, and friends that carry me through.
Today, I still struggle with that, but I remind myself of CIP which remains to be a motivator.
When you decide on a fitness program, it is a lifelong commitment. Stay with the program. Here is an easy challenge, doing something and if are doing something stay with it.
You will hit low points and you will get tested as Sarah Cummings, an accomplished ultramarathoner, shared in 2020,
“My hamstring surgery in late 2016 I went through many phases of “giving up” and resetting goals and expectations for post-surgery running.
I was prepared to be out of shape, but I was not prepared to still be in so much pain and have other injuries, issues and imbalances pop up. My surgery leg did not feel like my own.
The constant pain in the years leading up to and immediately after the surgery wore me away. I felt pressure to put a “comeback” race on the calendar. I went through phases of thinking I never wanted to race again if I was not going to run faster than I did before (note I still have not!) but the social aspect pulled me back in.
I was lucky to have such a great, supportive community in NYC. Focusing on returning to running for the social benefits helped me to stay present in recovery. I finally turned the corner about 18 months post-op after finding the most amazing PT (I had tried four before landing on her).”
In reading Sarah’s account, do you think CIP would apply?
Once you can embrace CIP you set up the mental plan to accept your reality and limitations and forget about what you used to do. The new plan is to do what you can do in order to reach those new goals.
All that you do is for you.
Here is another account of CIP in action as it relates to Adam Popp.
On December 7, 2007, on his second deployment to Paktia Province, Afghanistan, Air Force Technical Sergeant Popp of the 455th Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit and he was removing an improvised explosive device (IEDs) and one detonated which resulted in the loss of his right leg below the knee.
“My drive now comes from not taking things for granted. For 28 years of my life, until my injury, I took running and many other things for granted. I did not like running, I did not train, and assumed I could do this whenever I wanted for the rest of my life.
In 2007, this changed and was taken away from me, or so I thought, in a split second. For the next seven and a half years, I accepted this as reality until April 2015, when I worked with my prosthetist and a physical therapist to try running again.
So, to finally get this back after all those years and realize if you put time and effort into something, it pays off in big ways.
This drive has spilled into other areas of my life and is a big factor in my accomplishments over the past three and a half years graduate degree, running/triathlon success, travel, work, family, etc.,”
Adam states further,
“Change takes a lot of time and a lot of effort; nothing worth having comes easy.”
This is true for everyone.
Often we see the result and do not realize the work that an individual did to get where they are. I have been putting a lot of time and a lot of effort, every day since April 15th, 2015, to get to where I am today.
I was so slow and out of shape then, but my current state happened because I finally started instead of pushing it off until later.
The following is an excerpt from the book GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth,
“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.”
It is time to face reality and be consistent, persistent, and persistent.
*For more articles from George, check out his author profile on our Band of Bloggers Page.