The trainwreck phase…

One of the most important things I learned from a jewelry class I took had very little to do with jewelry. I was working on a project and it looked absolutely awful. I was frustrated and showed my instructor while complaining that I wanted to chuck it and start over. What she told me changed my life in a small way: keep going, because you’re just in the trainwreck phase and if you keep working on it it’s gonna be great!
First off, she was absolutely right. It came out wonderfully.
Beyond that though, I realized this advice applies to SO many things. For example, skin care. Often when you start a new skin care routine such as peels, dermabrasion, or retinoids, frequently your skin seems to get worse for a little while. This is the trainwreck phase. If you keep going, your skin adapts and improves, and eventually you get the results you wanted!  Dietary improvements can have a trainwreck phase too. For me, that’s a given since I have IBS. Any major change to my diet tends to be a trainwreck. For a lot of people though, an increase in hydration and fiber leads to bloating. The healthy diet you decided to use to lose weight might initially make you seem fatter! Oh noes!! But fear not! It’s just the trainwreck phase, and once your digestive tract gets used to the new food pattern the bloat will stop and the weight will come off. Even exercise has a trainwreck phase. The first few weeks can be AWFUL. Persistence will get you through though! You’ll probably still be a little sore some days if you’re varying your workouts,  but it won’t be nearly as bad as the first couple weeks.
Whenever I’m struggling with something I’m working hard at, I try to remember that it’s probably just a trainwreck phase, and if I keep going it’ll get better soon!

Note: there are places this doesn’t apply. If you’re being abused, that’s not a trainwreck phase. Walk away.  Sometimes things won’t work no matter how hard you try, and those are also things to walk away from. My rule of thumb is if it takes more than a couple weeks to make progress, you should consider if it’s really the right choice. Irritating the skin a little can be good, but over a longer term it’s definitely not. Pushing yourself too hard can damage your body. Respect yourself enough to trust yourself if something doesn’t feel right.

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