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The Simple (Baby step) To Avoiding Burnout
Just keep swimming!
Avoid burnout by taking baby steps
So, just another internal rant I had in my with myself about burnout on the subway home the other day. If you know anything about me, New Year’s Resolutions frustrate the heck out of me. They’ve never worked for me. And I think it’s just another form of society’s way to avoid self-guilt by encouraging group procrastination. Don’t get me wrong if they work for you, that’s great! But if you’re anything like me than read this post. Anyways back to the rant
We’re two months into the new year, and this is when you notice the progress of other people’s goals. (aka the gym is clearing). The committed have claimed dominance and continue to go to the gym. And the rest of us have reached or are near our breaking point. At this point in time, you’ve either have tried multiple times or have given up on your goal altogether. However, I’ve always found it odd, because it would have be literally two weeks ago you were probably thinking;
This is my year! I took on a really big goal and have been doing really well!
But the instance you miss one workout or you slipped up a couple times on your habit. We just stop, we say theres no more hope. And then just decide to give up completely. I’m not sure why our brains work like this but I believe that this reaction is known as burnout.
(You’re probably thinking) … thanks Dylan, obviously. But so what?
Well I’m not an expert or anything but from falling into to this cycle too many times, too often. I think the key (I hate using words like the secret) is that you need to make sure you can keep on progressing towards your goals is to always be taking baby steps!
From a person that’s only used to do things by fully immersing myself, this was quite a drastic mind shift. But the truth is, if you can wrap your head around this concept, I find that you’re capable of disciplining yourself to continually grow. So let me ask you a question that helped open my perspective:
If a person set a goal to become fit but did nothing for the first month of except go to the gym, get changed and sit in the gym doing nothing regularly, then would they be making progress?
My first instinct was to say no. But the truth is, that person is making incredible progress! Why? Because they are forming the habit of getting to the gym and not making any negative associations with the gym (Which happens all too often). They may not be experiencing any impressive gains; but mentally, subconsciously they are creating a positive habit. When you can commit to a habit, then it becomes easier to consistently improve by slowly increasing difficulty.
If this example didn’t work for you. Just simply thinking about lifting weights. If you couldn’t bench press, would you start by attempting to bench press a plate (45 lbs each side plus the bar = approx. 135 lbs)? Even if you somehow managed to do that your body would give out and you would need to rest before you could do it again because your muscles were completely exhausted.
So than what’s the process?
We’ll explained in context of my girlfriend and I’s favourite game, Sims: Imagine if you started your story with an unhealthy, out of shape Sim. How would you get them in shape? Well, you can probably have them walk on the treadmill for a short while each day. The next week you start running. And you would slowly build them up, because if you went too hard they become sore and can’t even work out. Then you would slowly introduce other exercises. And you usually don’t see your Sims body changing but after slowly doing this everyday if you put your sim under automation even they would notice that you’re attempting to build a habit and your once fat sim slowly becomes more and more in shape.
But Life Isn’t That Simple
Now you’re probably saying that’s true but life isn’t like that. (TBH I think the Sims computation is pretty complex and that argument is invalid). But to talk to that point, this may be my privilege speaking. From the perspective of stoicism, I think that life is as simple or as tough as you want to make it. I don’t deny the fact that other people have harder lives than one another, however if we all start slowly we can all agree that taking baby steps is physically possible.
If we only require to take 15 minutes out of our day to go for a walk, you can find time for that. (More can be read about prioritization in my last post). It is all possible, but the majority of our population decides to not do it, why? We’ll I’ve fallen victim to it, and I’m sure there’s multiple other reasons but my personal reason is that of… impatience. We all expect to mind boggling results. But the truth is that growth doesn’t have to be exponential, you can still grow slowly and often this is the way to avoid burnout or relapses.
We shouldn’t attempt for mind-boggling, instantaneous results but we should strive for slow consistent growth and we will be sure to see improvement.
Avoid burnout by taking baby steps
- Create a habit that is a small commitment that you can complete daily
- Don’t overload yourself, always get back up, keep going