Is It Persistence or a Punishing Distraction?

Apr 10, 2024
tan and white bulldog sitting against wall that has the words

Have you ever found yourself persistently pushing towards a goal, only to realize that it's not bringing you the results you hoped for? Or worse, is making you miserable?  If so, you're not alone. Many of us fall into the trap of believing that if we just keep pushing ourselves harder, eventually we'll reach our desired outcome. That eventually we'll grow to like it.  Maybe you say "It works for other people, why isn't it working for me?" So you just keep going.  But what if all that persistence is actually just a punishing distraction?

The Thing I Was Certain Would Work

I used to be convinced that running was the key to both fitness and my desire to be outside more, grow community and peace. I admire the ease and grace of runners as they breeze along the path, seemingly without a care in the world. I longed for that runners high everyone talked about.  It looked like they were truly enjoying themselves. So, I decided to give it a try. I committed myself to a running routine, convinced that if I just persisted long enough, I would eventually come to love it.  That I would find this gazelle-like stride gliding along the paths of my park in a peaceful meditative state.  

What I Found to Be True Instead

Despite my best efforts and unwavering commitment, I never grew to love running. Instead, it felt like a chore—a punishing task that I had to endure rather than enjoy. But I kept it up because I had created this unspoken, yet rigid, rule about not giving up.  About running being THE way.  I had decided if it worked for others, it should work for me.  And if it wasn't (it wasn't), it must be me.  It wasn't until I took a step back that I recognized the flaw in this approach.  It wasn't until then that I realized I was trying to force myself into something that simply wasn't right for me.

Why I Thought I Had to Keep Pushing

I had decided this was the way.  Had an unspoken rule about quitting and what it meant about me if I did.  What if meant about me if I couldn't be like those runners I admire.   So, I kept pushing myself, hoping that eventually, I would "figure it out".  But here is the flaw- Not only was I not getting the results I wanted, I was punishing myself twice! Once by continuing to do something that wasn't working for me, and then again by judging myself that it wasn't working because of me.  And look, could I learn to love it- maybe.  Could I get better at it- probably.  But I found a better way.

How I Created a Better Way

I decided that I could spend all of my time and energy trying to figure out how to make running the way, or I could find my way.  The way that works for me.  And you know what they say, "when the student is ready, the teacher appears".  I had always wanted to do Reformer Pilates and a new studio seemed to open up just at the right time.   Reformer Pilates not only challenges my body in new and exciting ways but also brings me joy and a sense of accomplishment. I found myself looking forward to my workouts, eager to see what new challenges await me. Pilates has become a beloved part of my daily routine, transforming my approach to fitness and, through it, a fresh perspective on goal success.

Finding Your Unique Path

Where are you spending time and energy forcing yourself forward?  What rules or limiting beliefs are surrounding this "one way"?  Invitation to take a step back and with pure curiosity to learn from yourself (and zero judgment), look at what isn't working for you here and start exploring what would.  Brainstorm, without obligation, some other ways to get to  your result.  What's something you love to do?  How could that apply in some way?  When we spend time and energy trying to force ourselves to like something that just doesn't resonate with us, we miss the opportunity to find what does.  Whether it's fitness, career, or personal goals, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Trust yourself, be open to new possibilities, and don't be afraid to chart your own unique path to success.

My goal is for you to listen to yourself and honor your own needs and preferences. Instead of judging yourself when something doesn't work, get curious. Be open to being wrong about the activity (not about you) and to finding another way that works for you.  For your goals.

Don't be afraid to explore different paths until you find what works for you. Your goal success path is uniquely yours, and it's up to you to find the path that brings you the most connection to you and what you want.


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