Disclaimer: If you’re not a Harry Potter fan, please spare us both the inevitable heartache and unsubscribe yourself immediately.

Ok, now that I’ve culled the non-nerd herd, on to my post.

One of my favorite parts of Harry Potter is Platform 9 ¾. As a kid, I loved reading this part. I mean, seriously – how cool would it be to go into some mundane place and then – BAM! – be transported to a magical land full of people waving wands in weird clothes holding toads and eating treacle (full disclosure – I’m still not quite sure what this is)?

And the fact that it wasn’t a whole number always made me smile. I don’t know why, but there was something charming about the fraction thrown in. Like it’s a magically ambiguous place that semi-exists and semi-doesn’t. It’s the Schrodinger’s cat of transportation (huge shout out to the nerds who get this one!).

So, in honor of Harry Potter, I’m going to introduce a concept I like to call Square One and a Half.

We’ve all heard of Square One.

That’s the dreaded place that you go to when you fall off the wagon.

You missed your workout for a week? “I’m back at Square One!

You were eating well and then the weekend wine fest with the girls happened? “I’m back at Square One!

You *insert whatever setback you had and aren’t where you think you “should” be*? “I’m back at Square One!”

But are you REALLY?

Think about it – if you missed your workouts for a week then you’ll probably lose some strength and stamina. But you’re not starting completely over. It’s a slight setback but you’re going to be back where you started in no time.

If you fell off the wagon with food, congratulations, you’re a human being! Give yourself a round of applause that you have friends and a social life. Get back to your normal healthy habits and the bloat will subside after a few days – you’re NOT back at Square One, and you shouldn’t think that just because you had some pizza you might as well make out with a fro-yo machine too (pro tip: toppings are where it’s at, anyway).

Ladies and Gents, I’d like you to consider a lovely concept called Square One and a Half.

Square One and a Half is a magical place where you may have slipped or tripped or meandered away from your goals a bit and you aren’t where you think you should be. But if you look back on where you actually started, you’re ahead of that “old” you.

You’re not at Square One.

Last summer, one of my friends made a goal for herself: she could do three pushups and wanted to be able to do ten by her birthday, which was a few weeks away. We put together some workouts and progressions and before too long, the moment of truth arrived.

It was a pretty amusing moment of truth.

We were at a Young Professionals’ Networking event and may or may not have had a few drinks before I remembered (very excitedly, of course) that she needed to test her strength. After a little convincing, we went to the back on the venue (so as to avoid baffled looks) and did pushups. She hit all ten, and there were lots of hugs and excited squeals to celebrate her accomplishment.

It was fantastic to see the look in her eyes and excitement about accomplishing something that had been a far-off goal just a few weeks previously.

But even more interesting was the conversation we had a few weeks later.

She hadn’t kept up with the pushups and – you guessed it! – lamented that she was back at “Square One”. But the funny thing is, when I asked her how many she could do, she said, “only six.”

Six… SIX?

How the heck is that back at Square One when she could do DOUBLE what she started with?

Sure, it might not be all ten any more, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t work her way back. It’s totally achievable. Since she’s accomplished it once, she KNOWS she can do it again. It will just take a bit of time.

You might not be at your best, but you sure as heck are farther than when you started.

That’s Square One and a Half.

Next time you fall off the wagon and are nursing your bumps, change your internal dialogue around the situation. You’re rarely starting from scratch.

Embrace the journey ahead, realize you’re at Square One and a Half, and start working again.

You’ve got this.

Have you ever fallen off the wagon? What helped you get back on? Leave a comment below to help other Square One and a Half-ers out!