Sunday, March 17, 2013
How to Pull Myself Out of a Rut?
For the past several weeks I’ve been in a rut. I'm behind at work, despite working six Saturdays in a row. My reading pile isn't dwindling and I haven't been able to keep up with this blog. Plus, I am running out of ideas for my strength and email challenges. On a particularly low day, I emailed Marcy of (Don’t Be) Too Timid and Squeamish asking for advice. I’ve been reading Marcy's blog for a while and am impressed with how she continues to push herself out of her comfort zone as she takes on a series of challenges.
Here is our conversation:
Marcy I am working on a strength challenge - trying to become a stronger person in my fiftieth year and I’ve begun to feel stagnant. I’m buried in lousy weather (seriously this is the winter that will not end here in Wisconsin), preparing boring spreadsheets at work, cleaning, thinking about preparing my taxes and the tendonitis in my elbow that flared up before the holidays is still causing me grief.
When you are feeling down how do you keep pushing yourself forward with your challenges?
I find I do pretty well with short or medium-length goals, like if I have a 5K or other goal like that two months out or six months out. Then I make a plan and work toward it. Right now I am preparing for a "Fitathlon" that a friend convinced me to do, so that is keeping me motivated.
I am not as good at staying motivated for the long haul. I do walk each day, though. I wear a pedometer and always make sure I get at least 10,000 steps a day, so I like being sure that I will get at least a little exercise every day. I also like playing tennis, so that keeps me active for a lot of the year.
I really don't have any great tips for getting out of a rut. I think trying to set small goals until I create some good habits is what usually works for me. Maybe you could sign up for a fitness-related event and prepare for it with a group? I think some gyms set up classes along those lines.
What motivated you to become less timid and squeamish?
I have always been introverted, but I noticed that more and more I was turning down social opportunities and saying "no" to trying new things. I was stuck in a rut and wanted to find some way to motivate myself to do more things. I also wanted to do more writing and find an audience for my writing. I started the blog (Don’t Be) Too Timid and Squeamish. At first, I pushed myself to do more things, and I soon found that taking on new challenges became easier as my confidence grew. I tell more about it in this video log if you're interested: Why I Blog.
What makes you feel strong?
Mentally, I feel strong when I push myself to do something that I feel timid about. Physically, I find myself going back again and again to the good old push-up. I have done them on and off since completing a challenge to do 50 consecutive push-ups (it took me six months to work up to it!), but when I am doing them regularly, I feel strong.
What do you do or see others doing that detract from strength?
I am guilty of procrastination. I intend to do something and somehow months go by. I think that's why my "101 things in 1001 days" list has been so powerful for me. There is a deadline, so instead of a "someday" list or a bucket list, I feel motivated to do the things. My blog helps with that too because I am always looking for the next thing to write about.
I see others doing the same thing that I am often guilty of: having a goal, but not starting to work toward it, or starting and then abandoning it without giving it enough of a commitment.
Of the adventures you've written about on your blog, which one was your favorite and why?
My favorite adventure that I've written about on my blog was definitely traveling alone to Costa Rica. It was the time when I most clearly realized that I had grown and changed since I had started my blog. I never would have even aspired to taking a trip on my own before that. In fact, when I put "travel alone at least overnight" on my 101 Things list, I just pictured staying in a hotel one night in Boston or something like that.
Thank you Marcy, this has been a big help. My problem is I set a big goal, but have allowed myself to fall back into an old familiar pattern -mainly procrastination. I need to set a few small goals to help get back on track. Since our conversation, I’ve decided to see a doctor about my elbow, I selected David Allen's book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity as my next read, I joined Carli Alice in her no sugar challenge - no sugar accept fruit and stevia for my coffee for the next eleven weeks. I finished my taxes and have even managed to clean my desk at work. I am also putting together a handmade postcard celebrating something I've done outside of my comfort zone for Marcy's send me your postcard feature.
How do you pull yourself out of a rut?
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