“The journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

When I first read the wise words of this Chinese proverb, the message encouraged me to have patience on my weight loss and fitness journey.  I knew when I committed to changing my life years ago that I wouldn’t lose 100 pounds in a day.  I knew I had to embrace the time it would take for a spiritual, psychological, emotional and physical transformation.

What I did not know was that my road to success would be filled with stumbles, falls and failures.

Lao Tzu didn’t explain that part.

Or did he?

Over the years, I’ve had seasons where every step I took led me to success on the scale (learned my lesson there the hard way).

Then, there were recent seasons when I really struggled with keeping my food choices in check, either because food is just so dang on good (Laaawd!) or I was subconsciously punishing myself for being happy (self-sabotage is something else).

The lows after seasons like that can be devastating. Do people notice that I’ve put on some weight? Are they making fun of me? Are they disappointed? Am I a failure for not staying at my lowest weight?

Thoughts like that can make taking another step seem pointless.

But God didn’t create me, or you, to be a quitter. He created us to be more than conquerors. And that means each moment on this journey can be attached to your victory if you keep pushing.

The steps that move you forward, and the steps that slip into quicksand, have the same value.  Stumbles, falls and failures are not setbacks. They are steps towards success if you can be patient enough to learn and lean forward.

Every diet (I hate that word) may not work with your body. Every workout regiment may not leave you with six-pack abs and “Usher cuts.” Or — here’s a doozy — what worked in one season of your journey may not work in this season (enter my struggle of 2017).

Do not be defeated when these roadblocks appear. Learning what doesn’t work gets you one step closer to what does work.

Take comfort in knowing you are not alone. In fact, if you feel you’ve failed, you are in amazing company. Oprah Winfrey was fired. Michael Jordan missed 9,000 shots in his career.  J.K. Rowling was homeless. What set them apart? They didn’t let those moments end their journeys.  They used what they learned to help them win.

Every single step is a lesson if you let it teach you. So when you feel the ground beneath shift or slide at times, take another step.

And another.

And another.

And another.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.