Life is a perpetually uphill battle. Daily routines help in keeping you on track to your goals. They provide structure so that you can take small, but concrete, steps every day to reach the goals you have. Whether it is to be a fit person or to be a better worker, small steps everyday clearly work. However, this prescription of a carefully mediated daily routine can come with its own downfalls which should be monitored and mitigated.
Inevitably, you will fail. It may be in a few behours, days, or months- but it is coming. For me, I have realized these failures to being the cause of two main things: Feeling that I am deserving of a break which lets me take a breather from my routine, or the feeling of pointlessness, which leads me to abandon my routine, and consequently, my goals. I am writing this to try to help myself nip these tendencies in the bud, but also remind me that it was coming anyway. It is a paradox that I must learn to accept and continue to work with.
Firstly, whenever I follow through with my routines for a while, I start to think back to when I was a mess. To when I had nothing to be proud of and that now, I am working daily, with my chest out, trying to be the best me. Often times, it will come at a weekend, when I feel that I have been working pretty hard, I think I deserve to wind down and relax. This is the danger because I know that I may relapse, and the thought of having to go back to routine after enjoying life is stress-inducing, which pollutes the weekend. My inability to accept that I have to be okay with something less ideal. In these times I start to look at the daily routine as something I am proud of. Something that I worked hard on and deserver recognition for. I stop looking at the goals that the routine works towards and look for immediate gratification. How can I combat this? every so often take a moment to write down the goals I have for the future, refresh them to myself. Remind myself that my daily struggle is for a good goal. It's not like I deserve the spoils of the victor just for trying. The ego is a scary thing- it will convince you that you did good and should be complacent. But remember, that the goal is not yet reached. You are not peak you yet.
This thought process, while it helps ego inflated pseudo-victory, also fuels the opposite reaction. The point of view that it is all pointless. If it is actually impossible to ever win. To put in enough work that you finally do get the spoils, then what is the point in even trying? Eventually one of these two mindsets set in and take you off of your game. This is a sign that you actually have made good progress. If you had not been on your routine working to get to the next level, then you wouldn't be here and could not afford to have this thought process. Don't let yourself shoot yourself in the foot, and worse even, drag yourself lower than where you have worked to up till this point. The ego is a scary thing, it can make you give up what you have worked for when it is harder to get to the next level because then you know it is achievable. One step forward, two-step backward. How can I stop this? Realize that there are things that still worth working for. If it is fitness, set new goals. If it is career-wise- figure out the next steps. This next wave of goals will be even harder because you will see fewer results for the same work. You will start having to put more work in to see glimpses of what you want. This is when you start to treat yourself. Give yourself time and space to be yourself. Appreciate what you have and practice gratefulness. But continue to be disciplined and continue to follow your routine, no matter how pointless it may seem. And be dilligediligentnt in these steps, because with each step in the routine, you are indeed chipping away at the goal. So you might as well put in the effort.
In both cases, it seems to be a matter of ego. Knocking you down because of fear of what is next. Or knocking you down because complacence of what is past. In both cases, it is important to practice gratefulness and realign yourself with your goals. Discipline and diligence is key.
Some tips to stave off complacence:
have a backlog of projects which you can work towards. Something with a purpose and something that you can learn from. This way you will have an outlet to deflate your ego and be in touch with reality. There are things out there that can be fun when you don't know how to do it. The fun in achieving a small goal in a field that you are new in.
Do breathing exercises to ground yourself in reality. Mindfulness exercises to reground you. Meditate to let your mind be calm. Don't let your amygdala make big decisions.
Have patience with yourself. You will fail. A lot. But keep at it and eventually you can reach new heights.. but remember that you will still fail. this is a recursive process.
Finally: Just do it. it is hardest to start. but get started and don't look back. be ready to fail. be ready to face it with your chest out.