I used to really beat myself up for not sticking to one thing at a time. Like I’d go through a ‘phase’ where I was all over the gym and would be there doing classes every single day of the week. And then something would just shift and I would stop. Likely it would be taken over by ‘the next thing’. For some reason I found myself swimming laps at the local indoor pool every Winter for a few years.
So what is it that makes us go through these ‘phases’ or why at times do I feel super motivated to stick at one thing versus the other?
These days I don’t tend to beat myself up too much about switching beating various things. Partly because I’ve spent years acquiring more knowledge and feeling for what ‘works’ and what simply doesn’t for me. Whether that be in a health and fitness routine, or simply for how I get things done.
I don’t believe we can get the motivation before we dig a bit deeper and get the awareness of what’s actually going on internally…
Something I’ve come to be even more acutely aware of is this transition between tasks, between phases, between seasons. And this time of year in particular always feel pertinent for me.
Depending on how you count your seasons (yes there really are multiple ways!) March now marks the first month of Spring for us here in the Northern Hemisphere. There are signals all around in nature that times are a-changing (okay, bar the one odd week of snow we had last week ?). The days are getting longer.
But it’s not just the obvious cues, there’s this subtle shift in the energy too. People are ‘coming alive’ more and there’s this itching feeling that we want to clear, declutter, freshen up as the new season approaches.
This is exactly how I started to feel about switching between ways of getting things done and my ‘commitment’ to various exercise bouts. Actually there’s an inevitable turn where whatever I’ve been doing up until that point is no longer giving the desired result. i.e. That usually ends up being I’m no longer feeling great or in flow. And that’s okay. In fact, the more I loosened up my approach and just gave myself permission to ease off or stop one thing to move on to the next, the more I found that I felt more consistently great. Regardless of the ‘vehicle’ itself.
Have you ever noticed any changes in you at the turn of a season? What about at the transition from one ‘big thing’ in your life to the next? Like when you make a big decision to take a new job. Or you finally book that holiday. Or perhaps the smaller shifts, like when you transition from work to home each day. How do you actually feel, in the middle? In the actual transition?
What I started to notice was when I beat myself up over ‘stopping the gym’ or ‘not following through’ or ‘not getting all those emails done today’ I was essentially fighting against the transition. I was stuck in the transition and I wasn’t moving anywhere. No wonder why feelings of stuck kept showing up! When I went against the flow that’s also where I felt my most horrid. I got migraines. I was lethargic. I had no ‘spark’ or enthusiasm for committing to anything.
So what really changed?
Getting familiar with the cyclical pattern of my own life. My inner seasons as such. I started to ask more questions about what I was noticing in those moments and what it is I most needed. And the most interesting thing I found? What I most need changes. All. The. Time.
There’s stuff that really works sometimes and at other times just plain doesn’t. BUT, there is a pattern and a cycle to it all. When I’m more present to myself and simply ask these questions, I at least now have a bank of answers to go to. For example, I now know things like:
- I need a day off after a holiday – I just simply need my routine and structure back, no matter how freakin’ awesome the break was.
- Even though I’m an ‘early bird’, my body craves more rest in the winter months and it’s way more productive for me to allow it than fight it.
- At certain times in the month I’m going to feel way more like a restorative yoga class than I’m going to want to take a brisk walk – usually a quick check in and asking myself what I need comes up with the right answer.
- My body needs movement. My head needs movement. My heart needs movement. Just move! This can be simply walking to the shop to pick up some groceries, or power walking my way around the river every single day. And it changes. And that’s okay. I just know I need something.
- I’m not a runner. I’m a walker. And I love it. And that’s totally cool. No point pushing a square peg into a round hole. Might as well listen to my body, mind and soul. Cause when I do, I feel incredible.
And that’s just a sprinkling of what now restores me to me. Of how I get back to feeling connected, and balanced in my life.
Mostly it’s fine-tuning my flow. Finding my rhythm. And knowing that life itself is intrinsically cyclical. Giving ourselves permission to go with the flow and to learn more about our own unique flow can really be the difference that makes all the difference.
If you gave yourself permission to go with the flow in your own life right now, what would that look like?