Sometimes you feel stretched. Like an old over-used, sun-bleached, and rather over-utilised elastic band. Tired, forgotten and out of stretch. I know this place well; I think we all do. These too are the times when we know that we need stretch, of the ability to do the things that we need to do, that we ‘should’ do. Dangerous word that.
I find myself not feeling particularly inspired today. There is no reason for this for me to use as scapegoat or to give myself permission to not attend my duties. I have not had any bad or otherwise news that could cause such a loss of enthusiasm to participate. I just feel tired, used, stretched.
I think there may be some truth for me right now in the frustration of when you begin a journey that it often takes a deal of time for any subsequent results to appear. One such example that comes to mind, however, is not the best, I think, is losing weight. Adding in exercise and better eating for several months and only feeling fatter and more unfit – it makes no sense. I know that logically it cannot be the case, and perhaps it is a new or differing state of mind or perspective on myself that has me noticing things that I previously, conveniently ignored, or could not see? Maybe. Or perhaps it is a petulance and childishness wanting the results to show now, before they have had a chance to take effect, to the degree I would like anyway. Where is my six pack? Where are the snake like muscles bursting out of my body? They seem to be one someone else’s body. Not mine. It is disheartening.
Days like today when the elderly elastic band atmosphere dominates, I have, in the past told myself it is best not to dwell on these thoughts when in this state of mind. It is not going to help, knowing that tomorrow my stretchiness will return in full force, as it always does. That does not really help today though. What should I do? Go back to bed, close my eyes, and hold my breath until it all passes, much like a small child in a scary situation? Does not feel very grown up, or productive. Those little voices inside, my inner critic says with a wry smile, ‘See, I told you, knew you couldn’t do it’. Dammit! You again. Go away!
So, perhaps the best thing is to stick to one’s daily habits, a new framework I have added into my life recently. By committing myself to daily actions, now these are not big huge audacious goals, these are small disciplines that are manageable but do push me somewhat. I know that after each one I do, I feel good, better. I know this intelligently, however explaining to a decomposing elastic band that it just needs to hold on for today, to give the effort you did yesterday, and all will be well. Oh, bugger off. Can I go bad to bed and lay in the sun please?
It is hard, to get past the feeling of not wanting to, well, do anything. To think clearly despite your head being full of hair gel and paperclips. These habits however, I find through their intelligent design of being something I must push a little to achieve but very manageable. If I can get past the thin veil of gel holding me back, once I persuade myself to take on one of them; afterward I feel a bit better about myself and life, there is no parting of the clouds and singing angels, but definitely an improvement, even if a slight one. A good deal of the paperclips have moved on. It encourages me to do the next. Even if I must push myself through the sludge to do each one, the pushing becomes less as I take on each task, or habit.
I am not going to end this piece by saying that after pushing through I feel stronger than I do most days, it is a miracle, 'yay for me, I am king of the world'. This is never the case on days like these. However what I will say is that we all have days like these and it is OK, it is inevitable.
I suggest putting some daily habits in place, a routine as my wife puts it, to keep yourself challenged lightly, to keep you pushing forward. On the days when you feel on top of the world and have the strength of 10 lions, you can always go further, i.e. do an extra 10 push ups, run an extra mile, read another chapter, do that extra lesson. The trick is to have routine for yourself and keep yourself accountable. At the end of the day when you put your pyjamas on, even the sludgy days, if you have managed to completed your habits you can be proud of yourself for achieving positively and pro-actively for yourself despite the odds of a day that could otherwise have gone to popcorn, chocolate and Netflix.