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  • Writer's pictureSteph

Some rather annoying truths

Updated: Mar 5

A person standing in the middle of a desert, dwarfed by sand dunes

I can do hard things

Physically hard things like challenging workouts or longish shuffles through the park. Mentally hard things like talking to a stranger on the phone about my suitability for a job. Emotionally hard things like exiting relationships because I do not like the person I am when I spend time with the other person. All those things required being with discomfort, at least initially.

Just because you can, it doesn’t mean you have to

I am by nature an all-or-nothing person and in the past, I used to be either fully focused and entirely with the programme or absolutely coasting. Finding balance and checking in with myself to find out whether it’s possible to push a little harder or whether I’d potentially injure myself and delay mid- to long-term progress is something I have to work on every single day.

Progress comes from consistent but sustainable effort

Being able to focus on the habit rather than the result (especially when I haven’t quite reached my goal yet) is a great improvement. But if taken too seriously, the habit can take over my life. Doing a little bit more every day means getting stressed about fitting all the great and healthy habits into the 24 hours I have at my disposal. And that is the opposite of productive.

I still derive my self-respect from external factors

Proving myself that I am improving when I push myself a bit more every day is nice - until there is no going back at all and doing only a little bit less today than I did yesterday means I am slacking. Or God forbid, regressing. If I can only be in a positive frame of mind when I am doing and achieving more than I did yesterday, I am still not offering myself unconditional love.

I still self-sabotage

As so often, the closer I get to where I want to be, the likelier I am to self-sabotage. This is a very old pattern that I still haven’t broken yet. I think it’s connected to the conditional love thing. If only I could reach a certain goal, I’d be happy, I’d be confident, I’d stop beating myself up. Knowing myself, I won’t be. So I really need to learn to appreciate myself in my eternally imperfect state. But how?

Slow progress is still progress

One thing I am working on is the thinking around progress towards a goal. So many parts of my life are gamified, can you make it to a 5-week streak on Duolingo, earn the Eiffel Tower badge with your Fitbit? Sometimes, maintaining my new habits reminds me of a sign saying “This plant has been operating for 23 days without a major incident”. I am just waiting to fall off the waggon.

I need to learn to rest, not to quit

Then I get stressed because I can’t stick to my usual workout routine or I haven’t been active for ten hours a day because one of my sessions overran. If that sends me into a tailspin, I might feel that I’ve failed altogether and the whole project is ruined. Might as well order a pizza and a pint of ice cream for dessert. Did I mention that I’m an all or nothing kinda gal?

So while I have made some progress and am doing soooo much better than I was at the beginning of this year, I am still figuring all this out as I go along. Sometimes the meditation works or I can label my emotions and work through them in a healthy, grown-up way. Sometimes I shovel ice cream down my throat. That doesn’t make me a failure, it just makes me human. One day, this won’t sound like BS.

What kind of annoying truths are coming up for you? How are you going to use them to your advantage?


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