What Renovating a House and Working Out Have in Common (besides me)

Josie Feather Blog

Here’s a riddle for you, what does working out and renovating a house have in common? You know, besides leaving you sweaty and muscles sore that you hadn’t the faintest idea even existed.

Baby steps, and a hell of a lot of patience.

We’ve been renovating our house for over 5 years now. I’ve been running for over 3 years, and working out almost daily for over a year. When we started renovations I thought we’d have a mostly picture-perfect looking house in a year. When I started working out I thought I’d have abs in a month.

I can hear you laughing at your computer, you know. So rude.

It sometimes feels like the themes of my life are resilience and patience. I can, unfortunately, relate too deeply with Violet Beauregarde when she yells “I want it now.” I’m impatient and itchy. I hate to admit it, but I do want it now. but the reality is that nothing works like that, especially not the good stuff. Well, maybe it does for Paris Hilton, but even she has to work to get abs (unless they have plastic surgery that can do that now? Don’t even tell me, I don’t want to know).

“The key is over time. Success is built sequentially. It’s one thing at a time.”
- Gary Keller

Every house project, every work out, every run, has only been finished by me focusing on each step. One at a time. One foot in front of the other. One piece of wallpaper scraped at a time. One painful burpee by painful burpee at a time. Usually, it’s at best dull, and at worst physically painful (both the workouts and the house work), but every time I’ve finished, I step back and feel the pain of the work melt away and satisfaction wash over me. The workout over, I breathe deeper. But it’s only with bull dogged determination and willingness to take those baby steps that things get done. I always walk away feeling like queen of the world after, even when rewatching The Office on Netflix for the 800th time sounded so much better then going to the gym or spending hours spackling a room. In the end I am always so glad I took those first steps, otherwise I wouldn’t be running now.

Just Keep Swimming

Just Keep Swimming - Josie Feather Blog

This year I’ve committed to keeping a inspirational or motivational type book on my current reads list. By constantly feeding my crazy brain with positivity and exciting ideas I’ve found it’s so much easier to keep myself thinking positively and focused on big goals. Maybe it seems a bit cheesy, but to each his own, right?

The thing is that I’ve noticed a theme that runs through a lot of these books. Some are bold and clear about it, and others it’s just a faint whisper in the background, but it’s still there.


I’ve never given much thought to the word until recently. I’ve never really stopped to think about it’s application in my own life. I think in some ways it felt a bit like a foreign concept in the past. Now I hear it loud and clear. Now I can see how it’s played out in my own life.

I used to struggle to build good habits. It seems like there was always some convenient excuse to give up on “my goals” and yet I still wondered why I couldn’t seem to ever reach those goals. I’ve been working on changing that though. I’ve been slowly building good habits I actually look forward to and truly love (I can’t tell you how much I really missed working out last week when I was sick). Now I look back and think about the person I was and feel a stab of pity for the girl who seemed to be endlessly frustrated with herself.

The thing is, the reason those things changed is not because of some crazy magic, or a secret I finally figured out, it was simply that I finally decided to be resilient. I decided I wasn’t just going to give up and take the first excuse that sauntered my way anymore. I decided I’d work out even when I really really really really really didn’t feel like it. I would hit the gym even when it meant some mornings I’d have to get up before 5am. I would read for a few minutes even when my brain really just wanted to shut off and watch some tv. I would just keep going, even when it was inconvenient, not fun, or just plain torture some days.

In other words, I just kept swimming.

It seems so simple, yet is one of the hardest things to do. To keep going even when there’s good and easy reasons to just give up. I’ve never done a “word of the year” but may just have fallen into this one, and I’m not complaining.

Have you ever stopped to think about your own resilience?