Laws of Motion

Winter Brooklyn

There’s this thing that I do.

My day can be humming along, checking things off my list – work, workout, yummy food, life – and making good choices.

And then, I make one decision that I’m not entirely happy with. Usually, it’s not a major decision but just one decision in a string of endless decisions in any given day. I don’t want to say a bad decision but it’s choosing the sweet treat instead of a piece of fruit or choosing to play on Facebook or Twitter instead of write an article or blog post.

But, it makes me feel like I’ve fallen off track and I feel like I’ve blown the whole day. If I’ve blown the whole day, then whatever else I do that day doesn’t matter, right? I can eat whatever I want, not write or work, not workout. I can just start again tomorrow, right?

Do you ever do that? You figure that you’ve blown it so you give yourself this grace period until the next morning when you wake up and try again? Or you feel that just because you’ve fallen off, you’re doomed to remain off-track?

apple pie

It’s kind of like Newton’s first law of motion:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion…
unless acted upon by an unbalanced force

I started thinking about this after reading Kim’s post last night about how she felt like she has fallen away from her good habits and Tricia’s thoughtful comment which was along the lines of, “just because you fall off doesn’t mean that you can’t get back on.”


Here’s the thing – that one decision you made doesn’t have to determine the course of the rest of your day or week or month or year. The very next choice that you have can be that unbalanced force that knocks you from rest into motion or, if you’re already in motion, can speed you up or slow you down. You don’t have to wait until the next day to change direction.

You can change direction with your very next choice.

Last year, I tried to build a meditation practice. It was kind of disastrous. I had the hardest time sitting. I kept thinking about what I should be thinking about (or not) during meditation and comparing it to an image in my head of what meditation should feel like. I became frustrated because I couldn’t just clear my head and just sit.

every breath is a chance to refocus

I had one teacher remind me that every breath is a chance to refocus.

Even if my mind started to wander, it didn’t mean that my meditation was worthless. With the next inhale, I had the opportunity to refocus and try again.

Lately, I have felt like I’ve fallen away from my daily goals. I’ve stuck to some (Pitch or work on an article pitch every day and practice yoga) but I haven’t always written 500 words a day or gone to bed by midnight.

But instead of giving up on them, I’m going to keep trying again with each breath and each new decision. So what if I don’t rack up a streak of 365 days?

How do you get back on track?



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  1. says

    From a dietitian perspective, I always used to tell patients and clients (and myself) that the next meal (not the next day) is a new opportunity to make a more aware choice. I think you’ve said something similar here.

    I’ve been spinning out of control a little lately with a million things blowing up at the same time. Last night I broke down and finally, verbalizing some of those crazy, spinning thoughts helped me “get back on track”. It’s never easy but it’s great to have a good partner that listens and knows you well.

    PS – Sleep is overrated.
    Melissa Burton recently posted..Tunes For Tuesday – Nelly FurtadoMy Profile

  2. says

    I hear ya! I’m not perfect by any means and I feel like some of my goals haven’t even been thought about yet. That’s the procrastinator in me. And meditation is so flipping hard. I try to sit for 5 minutes without moving, thinking and just being…I last maybe 30 seconds before I’m thinking about what I need to do afterwards. I just read the suggestion from Kymberly about the apps. Looking into that. All we can do is hit reset and begin again. Thanks for the reminder!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Oat and Quinoa GranolaMy Profile

  3. says

    This is such a great reminder. I love thinking about each breath being a new start or a new chance. I usually think of it in terms of days so that is WAY better :-) Here’s to a day filled with chances!
    Allie recently posted..Reverse Bucket ListMy Profile

  4. says

    This was just what happened to me, Christine! I started with a few questionable choices (not running one day, grabbing an extra snack the next) and it just snowballed. I got so discouraged that I couldn’t focus on starting again until I saw what was happening.
    I absolutely love that quote and will take that reminder with me as I start this day and this journey anew.
    (And thank you so much for the shout out!)
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..Falling OffMy Profile

  5. says

    So very true! I think the kind of people we are (as bloggers/runners/health nuts) we hold ourselves to very high standards, and cannot give ourselves a break when we are not as perfect as the world wants us to be. I think blogging sometimes can make this worse as it is hard not to try and give off the persona of being so very happy, and everything is wonderful, when realistically it never is. We all go through struggles!

    That is very brave that you posted this, and I think you will find that everyone has the same worries! I know I do! The day after I ran my 2:49 marathon, I was devastated, i thought everyone was laughing at me, and that everyone would know I blew up “shes that girl who make the rookie error and lost 9 minutes in the last few miles”, but I realized it was only me who cared. everyone else just saw it as an incredible accomplishment. I am trying to forgive myself for not being perfect, and sounds like you are too! And doing great :)
    Tina Muir recently posted..Slow Cooker ChilliMy Profile

  6. says

    I hear you, Christine. We can be so hard on ourselves!! I’ve been working at being a little easier on myself and having some goals for the week rather than daily- some days will be extremely productive and other days I feel like I get nothing done and I can let that really get to me, but it helps if I put it in perspective with the whole week. We can’t possibly be perfect and focused and productive all the time! It also helps me to think of it in terms of intentions rather than goals, so I am doing my best to work toward xyz, but if I don’t get there, I didn’t fail.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Oh Yum! The Ultimate Breakfast Smoothie GuideMy Profile

  7. says

    I swear I am horrible lately when it comes to staying on track. My 8 year old has taught me about being “mindful” about everything we do..and it’s step back, breathe, take a moment before doing anything.

    And yes – my 8 year old is very zen – which drives her non-zen mother kind of crazy! 😉 xoxoxo
    tracy@sellabitmum recently posted..The Guinea PigMy Profile

  8. says

    Love that quote – so very true.
    We are all a work-in-progress in all our aspects of our life, so falling off and getting back on is all par for the course. As long as we don’t give up for good.
    Alison recently posted..FullMy Profile

  9. says

    Oh I love that quote. I don’t necessarily feel like everything is blown with one bad choice, but sometimes I will dwell on it too much. But I usually try to use it to refocus – example eating chips and cheese dip during a late Saturday lunch. I know it’s awful, but then dinner will be something clean and healthy again. Balance or justification???

  10. says

    I do the very same thing Christine. Another area it happens in is my house. If things get a little messy, then it all goes quickly downhill from there. It’s like I just give up – and I really don’t like that about myself.

    This post is a nice reminder that it’s never too late to start again, to do the next right thing … thank you – I needed this!
    Shana Norris recently posted..How I’m Changing Up My Goal Setting Process in 2014.My Profile

  11. says

    What a great post to read after Kim’s. There is always a chance for refocus and refresh. All day long, in fact. I’m laughing because I went to one of my mom’s meditation classes once, and I couldn’t resist the urge to giggle. Ooops. I was just a kid, though.
    Tamara recently posted..Wherever I May Roam.My Profile

  12. says

    I have to work really hard at this because I tend to have that all or none mentality!!! So, if I make a choice that isn’t great like buying a big bag of potato chips then I have to make sure that I don’t make it even worse by eating the entire bag at one sitting!!!
    And, the to-do list – OY!! This year I’ve really been trying to keep it manageable instead of a list that is so overwhelming I don’t even want to start – it has helped a lot.
    Kim recently posted..A Sherpa Wife I’m NotMy Profile

  13. says

    I totally know what you mean. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast always gets me on the right track, but sometimes I really want chips with lunch. And sometimes that’s ok too. I like the idea you just put into my head about changing direction with each new decision. It’s a helpful way of thinking about many different decisions in life.
    Devon recently posted..Surf Q & A: Can You Teach Yourself to Surf?My Profile

  14. says

    Seriously, my ability to get back on usually starts with my breath, just as you have described! It’s easy to make a decision, a bad one or an impulsive one. But we CAN change direction just as easily as we made that first ‘wrong” decision. Love this.
    Ilene recently posted..Saying Goodbye to the Skull CapMy Profile

  15. says

    So funny that you mentioned my comment because when it comes to big things, I can generally get back on track but when it comes to a day, I so often do what you talk about here – I’ve already lost the day so the rest doesn’t matter! I have the same struggles with meditation. And when I’m not thinking of all the things I should be doing I’m congratulating myself for it (go me, I’m meditating!). Have to keep at it though. And that quote will definitely help me the next time I try!
    Tricia recently posted..We will take walksMy Profile

  16. says

    I love-:”every breath is a chance to refocus.” Such a strong mantra and good advice. It can be hard to get back on track. Sometimes I feel like I am doing well with some goals but then the rest goes to h#!!. I sometimes wonder if I have too much on my plate. I think we all need to remember sometimes to go a bit easier on ourselves. thank you for such a thought provoking post!
    Sandra Laflamme recently posted..Fresh Recipe: Buttermilk Oatmeal Cacao Raspberry Ginger MuffinsMy Profile

  17. says

    I used to beat myself up mentally when I fell off track, but it is too exhausting and a serious waste of energy. So if I have a slip up or fall off, I just move forward and leave it in the past. And I always try to do something positive or that will make me happy, like take the dog for a long walk, for a instant smile and realization that life is really good.
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..PANCAKES are back…New Recipe!My Profile


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