I used to do aerobics, as I got more fit it didn't make me feel better anymore so I would rewind it and do it again, but I got into a routine where I had to do the same I did the day before. & what I did the day before kept getting longer. The relief of finishing the ritualistic routine always gave me energy and excitement to do some other exercise but that would add itself to the other routine the following day. So everything I started off doing because I liked it was turned into something I had to do. I found that running was one way I could get away from the routine and outside of the house. But now running is being turned against me. How far I ran yesterday taunted me the whole time I ran the following day and now it is how fast and up how many hills. I can't run fast enough to feel better, fast enough to escape the thoughts of failure. How can I reprogram my mind so that I can enjoy what I am doing and not be burdened by it.
Mix it Up!. Welcome to the world of plateaus. It sounds like you are fitness oriented, which is great. It sounds like your works are fairly one-dimensional. Meaning, you do the same thing every day until you get bored of them.
I'd urge you to mix things up. Maybe hit the weights on certain days and do running on others.
Also, you must schedule easy days. Trying to run faster each day is only going to bring on heartache and misery.
I think you need to get out of the mind set of competing with yourself every time you go out and do a physical activity. I know it can be challenging, but you have to realize you cannot beat yourself or set a new personal record everytime you tie up your shoes and hit the road.
That being said, enjoy the fact that you are fit and can do physical activities. As a competitive runner, I know that sometimes I turn off my watch when I am running and just get out and enjoy the scenery. This is extremely tough to do because I feel like I am slacking or not trying hard enough. But I've come to accept that not every day I am going to shatter my previous record (it gets harder every day). Some days I am just 'burning calories' and other days I am working on a specific goal.
This guy writes some nice columns: http://www.johnbingham.com/. He's a slower runner, but he's always got nice things to say about being fit and able to run. Check him out in http://www.runnersworld.com or in their magazine. He's helped me from beating myself up after a poor race effort or when I am in a slump.
Savor the moment. The time you spend working out should be time that you enjoy. It's something you do for yourself. You don't have to prove anything to anyone. Not even yourself. Instead of tacking on something new at the end of a workout, why not allow your self the joy of doing something totally different. Take a dance class, spinning class or do Pilates once or twice a week instead of running not in addition to. Change your workouts every couple of months. It's better for your body and your mind. Exercise is something you'll do all of your life so savor it, don't make it into another job.
Ditto savor the moment!. I'm with Mary...Slow down and savor the moment. When anything becomes highly ritualized or robotic you've left the moment and the opportunity to experience the reward of the Present. Moving from activity to activity will eventually present the same tedium until you can turn off the critic that says you should be running harder, doing more, etc. "Reprogramming" takes time and begins with a kinder, gentler voice that celebrates whatever your body can achieve for that day. So concentrate on being present wherever you are by noticing your surroundings, your bodily sensations, etc. Then when that judging voice comes along, shoo it away and instead offer yourself some support and appreciation for treating yourself and your body to the exercise it needs to stay well. "Thank you body for helping me run, or fill in the blank." Thank you legs for moving. Sounds incredibly cheesy but over time you'll notice less of the judgments and more appreciation.
Cut Yourself Some Slack!. Try to be kind to yourself. The exercise aspect of the soluntion is to alternate the things you enjoy doing based on a rotation, your schedule, or whatever. The mental challenge is greater. You need to acknowledge the good you're doing for your body by doing ANYTHING AT ALL!!! Sounds like what you're doing instead is criticizing yourself for not doing enough. Perfectionist maybe? I know having routines is comforting, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. There is not guaranteed success so you have to be happy and healthy one moment at a time!
Your Flow is not Flowing.. I'm in agreement with Gabi. You've hit your plateau and it seems that your literally trying to run your way out of it! I can really empathize with you when I hit my real first big plateau, I felt that my workouts and runs weren't really doing anything for me anymore, and that I accomplished nothing for that day.
I can see where everyone else is coming from about living for the moment, and you really should, but after that moment, for me at least, its time to get back to business. Being in retail, its always about "beating LY" ;) which i try to bring into every aspect of my life. So to me, its always about progress.
In Sport Psychology there is a concept called 'Flow', a state of mind, and you've probably experienced it. When you do an acitivy simply for taking part in it and we don't care about the consequences or how others feel about it when things just...flow. Some have describe it as "when your in your own world", ..as if my memory input as been cut off. all i can remember is the last thirty seconds, and all i can think ahead is the next five minutes." Sense of time is totally lost. I think we've all experienced times like this in our work outs or physical activity, and I think I can say we all love the feeling.
According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist who has investigated flow for around two decades your skill level increases as you 'flow'. If you perform the SAME task without new challenges boredom sets in and can lead to not performing the task anymore...which i like to call your plateau, mentally.
It seems to me though that you have added on activities. I would reccommend doing an aerobic activity that you really enjoy doing, an activity perhaps where you've experienced flow before, but this time instead of adding on other activities or doing them over and over, add new challenges to your routine...mix it up. This way you won't get bored, you feel a sense of accomplishment and progress, and you don't have to continually lengthen your aerobic activity to feel like you've accomplish anything or feel like your failing.
Find a great, fun activity, and when it starts to get boring, mix it up. Or change to a new flow activity and continually add new challanges.
Get back in Flow! It should be enjoyable.
If you would like to read up more on Flow, a good book is, "Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience" by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
a few criteria to experience flow:
-a confrontation with tasks we have a chance of completing, have clear goals, provide positivie feedback, a deep but effortless involvment in the absence of worry or frustrations, a sense of self control over one's actions, one feels stronger after the activity....sense of time lost.
I hope that helps!
Work Smarter, Not Harder,
routine escapee. It sounds like you are always in competition with yourself. Trying to do better and be better is certainly a healthy philosophy, but you can't ever win if you continue to keep going like this. It is as if you are climbing a hill and the top keeps getting further away even if you run faster and walk more and more each day. I think you may just need to tone down your competative nature and relax a little more. Realize that in the end, you are exercizing to be healthy and feel good rather than beat yourself in your own game. I am similar to you in this way and I find that varying my routine MORE helps. For example, never do the same exercize 2 days in a row. Do yoga one day, running the next, videos another day. Or even within the same day you can vary the exercize by doing the aerobics for 30 minutes and then running for 30 minutes. You may find yourself still competing with the day or week before, so my biggest advice is "give yourself a break" and know that you did good and you're a good person and be calm in that thought.
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