Going Through the Motions

I have to admit folks, I’m feeling it to. The business closures, the mask wearing, the lack of handshaking, and the physical distancing… it’s getting old. I am definitely the person to say, “Suck it up! You live in America in 2021. Someone in the world has it way worse!” And, you know what? I still feel that way, but I have to say it to myself a lot more often these days.

In the past, I’ve been guilty of saying, “I don’t just want to go through the motions…” This could relate to anything: work, relationships, exercising, etc. But this past year has highlighted something that grows more true the older I get – sometimes you need to just, go through the motions. I’ve learned this lesson explicitly through exercise and writing. Now, I’m really beginning to see it everywhere in life. There’s no way you’re going to feel super motivated to do any activity 100% of the time.

When it comes to writing specifically, sometimes I have to force myself to sit down and squeeze out 1,000 words of pure uncut, garbage. However, by expelling that garbage, I am able to work my way to some high quality writing, eventually. I once heard a comedian say, “I have to write 20-30 garbage jokes in order to get to one good one.” For me, blogging very much feels the same way. I just recently crossed the mark of 100 posts to my site and I’m fairly certain that maybe 5 of the 100 posts are of really high quality… maybe. I am also certain that I am a better writer toady than I was 100 posts ago. It’s hard to see yourself making those incremental gains when you’re in the thick of it, struggling to get one sentence on the computer screen.

It’s beginning to feel like Groundhog Day in the midst of this pandemic. Days are starting to blur and it feels like I’m doing the same things over and over and over again. I think one of the biggest temptations during times like this is to forget just how valuable repetition is in any process of improvement. We’re a year into these adjustments to our daily lives and it’s hard to see the value in the sameness or the value in isolation. I understand, but it’s definitely a time to go through the motions.

You can’t get your brain to settle down – just go ahead and meditate anyway

You’re bored with your workout but don’t know what else to do – even if it’s at a much lower intensity, just do it anyway

You’re distracted when trying to sit and study, write, read etc. – Take a day off but get right back to it

You’re tired of looking at the same people everyday – Be kind and remember they’re tired of looking at you to

I had this friend once that I was encouraging through debt repayment. She was always telling me how frustrated she was and how she wished she were done with it already. During these moments of frustration I would ask her to think about saving for the future. She was working extra hours to accelerate the process…

I asked her if she was going to keep working extra hours once the debt was paid off.

She replied, “No.”

I said, “So, potentially, it’s going to take you more time to save the same amount of money you paid off in debt?”

She said, “Yeah, potentially.”

I said, “Are there going to be days where you’re frustrated with saving?”

She said, “Maybe. But saving is a different thing.”

I said, “Is it that different? Practically, you are putting money towards something every month. When you’re out of debt, it’ll just pile up as opposed to going out. There will still be temptations to spend money on things you don’t need. Maybe more so once you see a pile of cash in the bank and you feel like you should ‘reward’ yourself for getting out of debt. Either way you’re walking down a road to financial security and independence.”

She understood what I was saying. The road is the road. We have some destination we’re working towards and we have to put in one step after another. Sometimes our energy will be high, sometimes our energy will be low, but as long as we keep stepping in the right direction, I can’t see how that’s a bad thing. Even when we’re just going through the motions.


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