Sunday, February 9, 2014

Making Progress

Progression. It's so hard to wait for it. I used to be (and still am, in some areas, although I'd like to think I'm getting better) sooo the kind of person who decided she wanted to do something, threw herself into it 110%, and then watched as it died off quickly because she didn't become a fabulous ballerina/marathon runner/poetry writer/master scriptorian/yogi immediately.

It's hard to start at step one. It's hard to wait for visible results. It's hard to do all this work for what seems like such little pay-out.

I see this all the time at work (I work in corporate wellness and fitness)... Either: 1) people who want to lose weight come in, set some really high goals, throw themselves into it for anywhere from 2 days to 4 weeks... and then we never see them again or 2) people who come in 1-2 times per week and take it really easy while they are there, and several months later they wonder why they still haven't lost the weight.

Seems like the problem usually lies with the level of effort put into reaching their goals. If they put in too much effort too soon, they burn out. If they don't put forth enough effort, they don't burn out, but they really never get to where they want to go.

Whatever our goals may be, these problems seem to persist. We either want immediate progress and get frustrated when things don't work out, or we just kind of coast along and don't push ourselves hard enough to make any change.

So how do we find that middle ground? The level of effort that sparks progress but doesn't sap all motivation? Unfortunately, there is no right answer. Fortunately, being mindful and aware can work WONDERS. Take mini self-assessments on a regular basis. If you feel yourself burning out, take a break, take smaller steps, switch something up to make it more interesting... but don't keep dashing forward, full speed ahead, because you're destined to crash. On the other hand, if you're feeling great but feeling like you're capable of more, then it's time to see what you can (safely and intelligently) step up!

Something that I see as being very beneficial is having a plan. A physical, written-out, step-by-step plan. Whether it's a workout plan for the next several weeks/months, a page of broken-down goals for the number of essays/articles you would like to read/write, a running plan that progressively increases your volume or intensity, or a plan to help you build and develop a certain skill (plug for pistol squats, mostly because I love that she's broken down the progression), it is so helpful to have a way to measure your progress and see if you are staying on track.

We are capable of so many fabulous things, but unless we're smart about them, most of us won't ever reach that amazing potential.

cheesy, yes, but so true

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