Unmotivated? Stuck in a rut? Need a break? Can’t seem to find your rhythm?
Treadmills. Our lives are like treadmills. One second, we’re jogging, keeping a steady pace, and feeling good. Feeling great actually. The next second, the speed increases, the incline steepens, our heart rate goes through the roof aaaannd we’re off. On our arses. As the treadmill races forwards leaving us to sit and wonder how our legs gave way? And who has seen?
Is it any wonder we avoid cardio?
In this situation, most people tend to jump up. They rush back to the treadmill and run. And run. And run. They run themselves silly trying to make up for the mistake they just made. Ultimately, this is determination. It demonstrates their passion, their willingness to overcome bumps in the road and their drive to succeed. I love this attitude but sometimes, it is better to just stop.
As we lay there… burnt, bruised and shaken, we can really see everything. We can see the treadmill keeping the pace. We can see the other runners delighted that they haven’t fallen. Smiling at your misfortune. But we can also hear the noise of heavy feet as they continue to plod through their daily routine.
This time spent lying on the floor can often be our most beneficial as we can see the people running are not actually going anywhere. They’re stationary. They’re in the same place. They’re busting a gut but getting nowhere. The argument can be made that they are doing something, and this is better than nothing, that is for sure.
But would you rather be running hard and hardly moving? Or hardly running and constantly moving?
That’s the question.
I think our reaction to these situations has a huge impact on our future selves. How we react says a lot about the people we are, or we claim to be. Successful people talk about breaks quite regularly. They see these periods as time to relax, to reassess and to recalculate. Then, they return more efficient than ever. Bringing with them new ideas, new goals and new motivations. They are ever progressive and incorporate breaks to their advantage.
We, on the other hand, look at breaks in our routine as negative. They are times when we are unable to do what we ‘should’ be doing. Times when our motivation is lacking. Times when we have let all the balls drop after juggling them for so long. But yet, these periods seem counter-intuitive?
We’ve had treadmills… so now, let’s have cars!
Fast and Furious. This is me. I’m driving. I’m changing gears. I’m going faster. I’m changing gears again. I’m driving an okay’ish car. I’m changing again. Is this even possible. Faster. Gear change. Faster. Gear change. Faster. Faster. All this time, I’ve been focusing on the gears and I haven’t looked up. Now I’m in the dark. I’ve no idea where I am, how far I’ve gone, what direction I’m heading or how much petrol is in the tank? This has to end badly, right?
Stepping back can be the perfect way to make the forward step that we’ve been craving for so long. It allows us to rest. Not a lazy morning spent in bed. Not a movie night after a long day’s work. Proper rest that reenergises us for what’s to come. Focus is also important and this time is crucial for refocusing our goals, setting new targets and putting in place new regimes to achieve them. If we lay all our cards on the table, prioritise certain things over others and start again with a clean slate, we can often pinpoint straight away where we were going wrong in the beginning.
Beginning is the next step but this time it’s different. This time we know what we are doing. We understand our aims. We can see where we want to go and our vision is 20-20. We have been there and done it before, so it’s not really starting again, but it’s not continuing either… its freshening things up! And working smarter, not harder.
I’ve been without the gym for 10 days now. My membership ran out. Rent was due. I was changing gyms. I went home for a few days. It was my birthday. Taylor Swift wrote a song about me. I moved house. I’ve been writing. Money has been tight.
A lot has happened and I just haven’t been able to get my new membership sorted. At first, this made me sad. I was upset that other things were dictating what I was and wasn’t able to do. I was angry I wasn’t getting hours in work. Which meant that I couldn’t pay the gym without sacrificing rent. Or what actually happened, that I could pay rent but sacrificed precious gainzzz! I felt lazy and unproductive. But then… I calmed down. It took a while. But I was able to see the bigger picture.
I was spending more time with my girlfriend. I got to go home and spend time with my family. I was able to sit down and write more. I celebrated my birthday without having to worry about the gym the next day. I passed all my exams. I finalised my application for my Masters in September. I had become so consumed by my gym lifestyle that it was having negative effects on other things that remained outside of the gym so my membership ending, and me falling off the treadmill, was probably the best thing that has happened to me this summer.
This isn’t a gym-hate post. Or an anti-fitness message. It is more a ‘step back before taking your next step forward’. Making you stay in the same place? Take a step back before taking two forward? Step sideways? Step. Step. Step. All these sound ridiculous! Sorry! Michael Flatley would be proud!
As well as using this time for family and friends, I also rearranged my gym schedule. I found a new workout routine. I fixed my eating habits. I’ve been drinking more water. I was excited about going to the gym again because it had become a bit stale. My weights were stagnant. I wasn’t in the zone but stepping away has changed everything and I feel great. I look great. And I will be great.
Time spent away is not always a bad thing. But our reaction to this time can be.
When your Monday morning comes, wake up and smell the coffee, your week has only just started so get after it.