A good friend just shared a blog post by the triathlete Lucy Gossage about why she doesn’t believe in not finishing triathlons (also known as DNF’ing). This of course is especially poignant after the weekend where I DNF’d a triathlon, while some friends went on to finish despite a huge desire to quit at times. It got me thinking (dangerous, I know…). Lucy’s blog post is excellent, so I’d suggest reading the post then coming back here to finish ploughing through my waffle, if you can be arsed.
Right, you’re back. Or if you’re not, you won’t see this. No matter. So where was I? Ah yes, pondering the phenomenon of ‘Did Not Finish’. Triathlon or any other sport aside, after reading the article suddenly a light bulb went off as it occurred to me that it isn’t only in sport we can DNF, but in life too. Okay, so not exactly ground-breaking news, but I’d never thought of it in these terms before. I know I’m not alone in starting many things in life that never get finished. There could be a myriad of reasons for this, and probably for 90% of the time it doesn’t really matter that much if a project or plan or idea isn’t seen through to fruition. That’s not what i’m interested in though, what I’m wondering about is why do we not finish some of the things that are really important to us? Catastrophe aside, why do we give up on the things that really matter to us?
Speaking for myself, I’ve done a lot in life that I’m proud of. There are many things I’ve set my heart on, put the work into, and succeeded at. For example, I’ve got an undergrad degree, a Masters, and i’m currently in the process of working towards another Masters degree. I put in a lot of work and learned to fly aeroplanes and even how to do Swedish Massage (not whilst flying though. Now THAT would be a good skill….). Now undoubtedly i’ve been privileged in many ways (I grew up in a stable family, didn’t want for anything really, and certainly luck has played its part) so I know that i’ve been afforded opportunities not everyone has. I guess that it is what it is, I can’t change that but know that i’m also eternally thankful for this. However, I still have put the work in when needed to achieve what has been really important to me.
So why is it that sometimes it’s really easy to DNF on other activities/events/desires that are also really important to us? I’m a renowned ‘starter’ and not always a renowned finisher; I get bored easily and move on to the next thing. A lot of the time that doesn’t bother me; there’s so much to do in life that we can’t do it all, and I’ve often thought I’d rather be a jack of all trades than a master of anything. But time & time again I come back to the ONE thing that i’ve always wanted that’s been really important to me, but i’ve yet to succeed at: losing weight. I’ve probably wanted that more than anything else, yet it’s the one thing I’ve not done. Yet. This might seem factitious, but I’m genuinely interested in people’s thoughts on this. Losing weight is not easy, and likely to be a long slog, and tough and and and….except i’ve succeeded in achieving many other things that were also hard and a slog and all the rest. So what’s the difference? Why can I achieve some difficult tasks and not others?
One reason that strikes me is that maybe I’m afraid to change. I remember many years ago spending a week with someone I met travelling. This woman was of a similar age to me, and had previously been very overweight and unhealthy, but the woman I met had turned it around and was healthy and slim. It took her a long time to get there, but the one thing that stopped her for so long that she was afraid everything would change. My response was “say what?”. Why would you be afraid that it would change? My fear is that nothing will change. It’s an interesting dilemma. It feels like this is the one thing that’s missing from my life, so I’m not sure why I’d in effect be sabotaging myself by remaining the same, and not achieving this goal? Can I also say that my goal in losing weight is not to make me happy – i’m already happy, so that’s not why i’m not succeeding. I’m not even sure if any of this makes sense to read; it makes sense in my head though, ha!
To anyone reading this (all 4 of you!), please let me know your thoughts, I’m genuinely interested. Sometimes you get so stuck in your own head, it helps for people to just state the obvious!
Thanks in advance! 🙂