Have you ever had one of those days that it’s just too hard to get anything done? Dishes are piling up in the sink at an alarming rate, the floor is somehow sticky AND sandy, and on every surface there is a red mystery spot that may be dried strawberry jam, but better NOT be food coloring so help me Chuck? Or maybe it’s been especially hard with the gyms closed. There’s no one to urge you to lift heavier or go faster, it’s definitely harder to shut out the little voice saying you can’t do it, and making the effort to actually get up at the crack of dawn to work out by yourself feels pointless. Finding the strength to complete a chore, a project or a workout can be near-impossible when you have to be your own cheerleader.
Well, that day (heh, week) is upon me. Of course, in the midst of unpacking from a recent move, it’s understandable that I just can’t be bothered to load the dishwasher for the umpteenth time or whip out the dry mop and dust the floors. It’s hard to stay motivated, especially with everyone else home and the housework essentially quadrupled. I am tired and cranky and just want to lie on the floor in my empty living room and drink alcoholic beverages.
To cap it all off, I have even sacrificed my beloved fitness time to the dread unmotivation swamp. It’s only been a week and some change since I had any sort of decent workout, but to my mind it’s like I’ve completely quit weightlifting cold turkey. Every little thing I can find wrong about my body, I do. Any ache, any bump, any sort of “flaw” in my design, and my brain immediately latches on to it and tells me that I’m not good enough, I’m too weak, better to just give up now.
But I’ve had enough of my brain and its negativity.
Something we tell each other during a particularly hard battle (TrinityFitness version of CrossFit WOD) at the gym is to do one more rep, and then do one more. Telling myself that I only have one more rep to do before the next helps calm the voice that tells me that I can’t do it, it’s too hard. Chipping away at something that is huge or messy or especially tough is one of the better ways I’ve learned to tackle tasks I’m not incredibly excited about. And right now, it’s hard to stay on track, especially with everything gone to pot out in the greater world, but it’s important to stick to those little habits and rituals that get me through the metcons and chippers in the gym. I may not feel like lifting anything heavy or doing a bazillion burpees, but I know that if I just work at it in small portions, I’ll get it done in no time. It may take a few tries to get in the rhythm of the task, and that’s okay. Knowing that I’ve got to finish it before I can go on to the next thing gives me the extra boost to get it done as quickly as possible. When it’s finally done, I will feel better. And feeling better will boost my self-esteem, sharpen my cognitive thinking and (hopefully) make me more productive throughout the day.
So I am making it a priority today to get shit done. Does it have to be anything big (like unpacking), or can it be something simple (like taking out scraps to the compost pile)? Whatever I choose to do, I’m choosing to do it to completion. For if I don’t set that goal of finishing what I started, things will just continue to pile up and all of that clutter will bog down my mind and, essentially, my motivation.
If you struggle with this as well, I challenge you to start small. Just like in the gym, all you need to do is one more rep. And then one more after that. Keep on chipping away at that daunting, seemingly impossible task until you reach completion, and you will find that, although you are tired in body, your mind and spirit will feel lighter than before.