Getting In Your Own Way
On the homepage of my site, I have listed all the goals I plan to accomplish this year. Some things I'm really excited about and something not so much. I didn't really know what was going to be the hardest one - had an idea but all of the goals I thought were relatively ambitious. If I asked any person what they thought would be the easiest one, I bet most people would say taking walks. We are 11 days into the new year and I just took my first walk today.
Let me lay out why I wanted to take more walks and maybe that will provide some insight into why it's so difficult. It isn't about fitness or staying in shape, I already workout outside of this that I don't count, even on runs. It's not about checking out the neighborhood. I made the goal to help clear my head and meditate in a way. Think. I know people and have read walking as a suggested way to do these things. When I'm in my routine, I hit a wall in the early afternoon where it's difficult to make a recovery to work. I feel like my brain is just too tired. The only things that have helped me through it are working out a second time or taking a nap. Maybe a 20-minute walk would be what could get me through that.
What I'll say is that I'm glad I publicly committed to this goal because I probably wouldn't have done it. Every day I think about doing it and I put it off. Why can I not get motivated to throw some shoes on? It's not like I have too much going on, I'm free all day and make my own schedule. It's not a lack of energy and it's not the weather. I have no damn clue.
When I finally got myself out of the house today, I put my headphones on for about 5 minutes before I realized that listening to music or podcast violated exactly what the point of the goal was. I begrudgingly put my headphones away. A couple blocks past that, I realized I was speedwalking almost as fast as I could, practically rushing to get home. I had to stop for a few minutes and just breathe. Watched the sun go down for a few minutes before resuming. Nowhere to be but somehow everywhere to be.
To sort of punish myself, I walked the extra-long way home. Does anyone else punish themselves for things - maybe that's one of those things you don't say out loud. I thought about why I had done that. I went down the rabbit hole on my usual excuses but was able to fight through them and come to grips with the realization that I think not doing things is lazy. I always feel like I need to be optimizing and getting the most done every second of the day. No breaks because that's lazy. I have stuff to do. Feel like there are much worse problems I could have but the insane repetition is exhausting.
What I didn't realize right away, but did writing this is that my desire for thinking clear won out. Not only did I achieve clear thinking and make a breakthrough in understanding myself better, but the walk itself did exactly what it was supposed to do. That's why I set that goal and that was the first problem I solved. How ironic.
It's a humbling feeling to look back on a problem you had and realize there was no one else to blame but yourself. You were in your own way. But the crazy thing is that you'd never realize this without self-reflection. You need to be willing to reflect on your experiences with a critical eye to even notice where you yourself were the problem. That's not an easy thing to do, but I'm willing to bet that the more you're willing to accept, the more change you'll undergo and therefore the better you'll be. I hope that for myself.