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Peaks and Plateaus

Peaks and Plateaus


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Experiencing peaks and plateaus in our progress and level of motivation is all part of the journey. Especially when you are committed to growing for life.

I recently heard from a friend who just achieved a physique goal she'd been working toward and was having trouble finding her mojo again. This is quite normal! It is great to have goals and even greater to reach them. In my experience, it is really common to feel a little low after reaching a new high. Sometimes, after pushing so hard and with such singular focus for a period of time, our minds and bodies want a rest. This can leave us feeling discouraged, or even worried that we will "backslide" into bad habits.

I've experienced my share of peaks and plateaus along my transformation journey, and here are some lessons I have learned.

When I feel stuck or like Iím not moving forward, I sometimes call up a visual of climbing a mountain (or a very large hill actually, since climbing an actual mountain is a frightening thought for me!). Have you ever been on a steep climb and felt at one point like you are just exhausted and canít go on any longer or that youíll never get to the top and no longer care? Then you turn around and see just how far up youíve come! So I imagine sitting on a little grassy ridge, or a nice sturdy boulder and just taking a little break and patting myself on the back for having come this far. I change my thoughts to knowing that I will keep going in due time.

After reaching a big goal, I try to sit quietly and let the feeling of success and excitement fill me up and then I bottle it up internally so that I can drink from it again at will. When I can call up those feelings again, I feel very motivated to hit my next goal KNOWING that I will get that feeling again. The journey has little highs along the way, but they are not end points. Each goal we hit builds our feelings of confidence and competence, so that when we go for something brandy new, like a competition, we can think Ė Iíve never done this before and I donít know how it will turn out, but I DO know that I can figure it out. I DO know that I can bring that vision in my mind to life, because I have done it before.

Two things I heard in recent months have helped me out, too. My mentor, who is 63 and whose wife is 60, talks about not wanting to go back to the athletes they were in their 20s or 30s. Thatís actually limiting! Because there is no reason to believe they cannot continue to blast through their personal bests and eclipse their physical condition into their 60s. Why not? Thinking that your peak or your best days are behind you will just serve to steal away your dreams for the future. I also heard a podcast with author and motivational coach Debbie Ford. She said Ė Next year I want to be unrecognizable. I think, yesterday was really good, but how exciting that I am NOT going to stay there. Whether up down or around, I am going to change. And I canít wait!

And a final thought Ė I know I canít always sustain the intensity needed to hit a big goal. Every now and again I need a break from that intense focus. Rest and rejuvenate body and mind. And then Iím ready to go again! I have been training myself not to even entertain thoughts of Ė what if I go back to the unhappy place I was in? What if I stop caring about my fitness? What if I let it all go? What if I disappoint myself? Because what you focus on will persist. So I just wonít even let my mind settle there for a minute. Of course those thoughts will come. But I try to recognize them as the voice of the Dream Stealer. And I refuse to listen. The mind is very powerful.

So there's a dose of positive mind-talk for today! It has worked for me, and I hope you can find something to help you along your journey, too.

Author: Elaine Morales

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