How's your week been?
Something I want to talk about is discouragement. Don't get discouraged from your goal. Seth Godin wrote a book about "The Dip" which is the point in your progress begins to dip, or you plateau and don't feel like you're getting any better. Everyone feels the effects of it. Bodybuilders experience the dip, or the plateau all the time. The question becomes, when you're facing the dip, is do you continue, or do you stop? If you continue, there's always a chance you continue your growth. There's also a chance that you keep on the plateau, or worse, dip downward. The dip/plateau is the crucial point where you've got to ask yourself if it's worth it. Whatever you're working on. Doesn't matter. It happens to everyone. It happens to me all the time.
These points are where we have to ask ourselves if our goals are really worth the time and effort we're putting in. It's important that we question this too, because sometimes you really need to just check yourself before you wreck yourself. Weight loss is an area where this is common. You start on a diet plan, start on an exercise plan and you see great results. You keep moving but the results slow down, and then you're stuck. You're not losing weight anymore, your muscles aren't growing; you're just stuck. This is the dip. Is it worth continuing to your goal, or is this fine?
If you decide to just maintain, great, your goal changed. If you want to keep going, something needs to change. Growth is not a linear process. It's never linear. That's why you'll always plateau on whatever you're doing. Writing is another great example of this. I started writing in November 2015 and I sucked. Every time I tell people I've written a book, I always follow it up with "But don't read it. It's really bad." Because it is. If you don't believe me, message me and I'll send you the eBook for free so you can see. I wrote the book, then in 2016, I spent the year writing short stories and poems. I wrote a haiku every day for 100 days. I did at least one short story every month. Every time I feel myself starting to stagnate in terms of my writing progress I switch the game up. I started this blog to get more frequent writing time. I'm working on my third book. Yeah, third. I wrote a novella that I'm currently editing. But I digress...
I can't remember where I read it, but I read that you should ask yourself if you're willing to stay with a creative habit for at least five years before you get too far into it. Five years is roughly the amount of time for you to really fall in love with the pursuit. If you want to be a writer for the rest of your life, five years is peanuts. But if you're picking it up just because it's something to do, five years seems like a long time to develop an audience and develop a style and work at it every day. The point is, five years is nothing if you plan to go long, but it's long enough to weed out those that aren't in it for the long haul. Hopefully you find something you want to be in for the long haul.
So, after that diatribe, I've been up on my meditation this month. I've kept at it every day and I find that I'm better at catching myself when I start to react negatively to emotions. When I catch myself experiencing negative feelings, I ask myself why I'm feeling that way. Sometimes I don't always have an answer and that's okay. It's usually just by acknowledging that something feels weird that I can take stock of all the other things I've been thinking about or experiencing and decide to ignore whatever bad thoughts I'm thinking. Acknowledging your thoughts as they come up is helpful to controlling your reactions to them. You can't control your emotions, but you can control how you react to them and that's the key. If you're feeling randomly sad, but acknowledge that feeling, there's a pretty good chance you can just decide to toss that thought away and not allow it to influence you or your day. The first time you do that is a magical experience. You realize you have so much power over yourself that it becomes an empowering moment and you want to keep going. That was actually my first foray into mindfulness: recognizing bad feelings and deciding not to entertain them. One thing led to another and here I am with a habit I'm trying to rebuild.
Last week I mentioned I'm trying to keep added sugar out of the diet. I'm still going on that. I've decided to extend it to the end of the month to see how that goes. One thing I've noticed with that is that I'm eating more intently now. Of course, it's a process and I'm not going to switch immediately from "food as entertainment" to "food as nourishment", but I'm slowly moving myself over that way. Drinking more water, and just trying to enjoy the food I do have without diving into more is helpful. Plus I'm doing some more exercising. Walking more, doing some exercises at home on the days I don't go to the gym, going to the gym regularly etc. It's all a process, right? And that's the point of this blog. To discover your own process and fall in love with it.
Keep at it, folks. Keep chasing your goals. Keep working on figuring out who you are. Keep talking to people and sharing ideas. Keep growing and keep going.