Motivational Failure

Like I’ve said previously, I’ve been having some mental health issues recently. This, and along with a recent bout of bronchitis, has really impacted my fitness levels. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’m currently reaching the goals I had set for myself, but I want to talk about how this impacted me and how I’m trying to get trucking through.

I’ve had a hard time accepting that I wasn’t reaching the goals I set for myself. It wasn’t for a lack of trying or pushing myself – I was going to the gym five days a week and making sure to mix it up. I suppose in some ways I underestimated how slow the process is. But I also underestimated the role my anxiety and depression would play. First, I’m not gonna lie, as I continued to get frustrated, that would bring my mood down more. However, what really started concerning me was that I started to get obsessive over my workouts, over what I was doing, how many reps I could do, and when I could up my weights next. My thoughts would starting racing and criss-crossing until I couldn’t even decide what workouts to do or focus during my workouts. This definitely didn’t help at all. Eventually, I realized that I had to step back and reevaluate what I was aiming for. Ultimately, I realized that the worst thing could happen was that my goals might take a little bit longer – and I’ve waited this long already. It was a sigh of relief once I accepted that it was okay to not reach my goals on the timetable that I had set for myself. I wasn’t giving up on my goals, I just had to readjust them. It was a standard that I had set for myself, I was the only one I had to hold myself accountable to and I definitely didn’t need to beat myself up over it. I was trying, I was making some progress (if not as much progress as I wanted), I was still going – and that is what mattered.

But my motivation had faltered.

This was before I acknowledged that it was OK to be where I was and not have made further progress. I was frustrated, my mood was down, my anxiety was up. I wanted to give up. I hadn’t done what I set out to do. I didn’t feel like I was ever going to reach my goals. I felt like I kept having setback after setback. First, my shoulder injury, then my Master’s program was keeping me way too busy, and now the bronchitis. I had made some of my strength goals, but my primary goal was concerning cardio. With bronchitis, I had to take it easy or I’d get out of breath or start coughing. So, it seemed like I was never going to overcome these setbacks. I felt like I was working hard for no reason and that I wasn’t seeing any of the benefits. What was the point? I was making myself miserable between obsessing over the workouts and feeling frustrated with not making progress. It wasn’t good for anything. Between that and the obsessing, I couldn’t get into my workouts. Even though my mood and anxiety are still having issues, my lack of motivation wasn’t helping anything.

I wish I could say that I had an aha type of moment when I realized this was all okay, but it really took some self-reflection and hard thinking to get there. Sometimes we forget the need to exercise our brains, too. I think the one thing that really helped  was going to a yoga class. It wasn’t overwhelming or difficult, it was fairly laid back. But in the class, I did notice how I’ve come along in yoga and was okay with where I struggled. And that helped me realize that it was okay that my progress was going slowly, even if it seemed too slow to me. That maybe I shouldn’t measure my goals in time but focus on keeping to a schedule instead and that progressing within that would be my goal.

I wish I could say that my motivation is back up and that I have that drive again, but I don’t. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my depression sneaking back up on me or my anxiety sky-rocketing, but my motivation is MIA at the moment. I’m still going to the gym, but lately it has felt more of a chore. But I know that not working out isn’t going to solve anything and probably will make it worse. It is hard not be negative, and I’m trying to focus on those positives and to stay focused on my goals. The one thing that I think is important right now is to not push myself too far – I think that was part of my problem before. I was pushing myself too far too quickly. I definitely think that yoga will help get me back on track, plus I’m still getting a workout there! So I’m going to keep up with that. I can’t read enough motivational quotes right now. There is definitely a learning curve here.  The most important thing for me to remember is that I’ve gotten this far – what’s a little bit longer? How does everyone else keep their motivation up?

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