Ep. 53: Moving Past a Mental or Motivation Block

Fed & Fit
Fed & Fit

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    The Fed+Fit Podcast | Nurturing a Healthy Mindset for a Healthy Lifestyle

    We're back with our 53rd episode of the Fed+Fit Podcast! Remember to check back every Monday for a new episode and be sure to subscribe on iTunes!

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    Ep. 53: Moving Past a Mental or Motivation Block

    On today’s episode, I’m dialing in out on a walk with Gus to share some of my thoughts on mental blocks maybe that are keeping you from finding that same motivation that you had when you first started on a new project or working towards a new goal, and how to really actively work to get past them.

    Cassy Joy: Good morning everybody! I hope this finds you well. I am talking to you from a walk that I am on with my puppy dog, Fed and Fit Gus. It is a very richly scheduled season for us right now; by us I mean me {laughs} all Gus really has to do is eat and keep me company during the day. I’m working on some big projects, and if you’ve been following along on social media, you are pretty much up to speed on all the details I can share at this moment, but some of those really fun exciting announcements are coming soon. So there’s a lot going on, so I’m multitasking; while Gus is strolling around our neighborhood trail, I thought I’d dial in and really just kind of share some of my thoughts that I have right now.

    So, to kick this week off; this is our last week in January, we’re kind of coming to the end of that first month where we had all of these New Years’ resolutions or, maybe not resolutions. I know a lot of folks just made goals for the New Year. We really just wanted to make a declaration. There are a lot of folks who I know said they wanted to be more positive in 2016, or; goodness, just cook from home more often. They didn’t really put a number on it, but just wanted to set the intention. And I think that’s great.

    So I’m not necessarily speaking exactly to you guys, because that’s something you can very easily keep up, and you probably are not grading yourself on it. What I want to talk to; I’m sorry if y’all hear the rustling of my jacket. So what I really want to talk to are those of us who have a tendency to grade our performance on the goals that we set for ourselves. So, it’s kind of; this can turn into a little bit of a slippery slope when we have a hard time either keeping up motivation, or if we easily become discouraged by our progress or lack of progress. Or maybe lack of where we thought we would be.

    So that’s really what I’m speaking to. And it resonates with me right now, because I’m working on all of these big work projects, and these same sorts of things do come up. These mental blocks; these moments where you wonder, do I really have the motivation to make this happen? So that’s what we’re going to talk about really briefly on this morning walk with myself and Gus. So thanks for joining me; and if you hear me have to chitter chatter with Gus, I hope you’re ok with it. {laughs} And if we pass a neighbor, don’t mind me saying hi to the neighbor, either; it’s a nice friendly neighborhood.

    Ok, so, let’s talk about motivation blocks. You know, you guys might laugh at me when I tell you this, but I was recently watching; I do watch the occasional Netflix show. I know some folks who I talk to, they’re like; how do you even have time to watch TV? There’s always time to watch Netflix. {laughs} There’s always time, whether you’re folding laundry or you’re recipe testing or something in the kitchen; there’s time to have it on just to keep your mind off of whatever may be overwhelming you at the moment, it’s a nice distraction.

    One of the shows that I recently watched; because I was looking for a show that I could watch when Austin, my husband, was out of town, because I don’t like to watch stuff that I know he would really enjoy when he is there, or when he’s gone excuse me. So I picked this show, Jane the Virgin, on Netflix. And if you’ve seen it, then you probably know how adorable and charming this show is. It really surprised me, actually; I had really low expectations of the show, and I thought it was precious. So watching this show, I went through however many episodes there were, and it’s just kind of quirky. It really speaks to my humor; if you know me well, you know that I kind of have a slapstick sort of sense of humor, I laugh at myself a lot. And Jane the Virgin definitely speaks to that; there’s a lot of cheesy telenovela kind of settings and plot lines, so it was pretty cute.

    Well, there was this one moment where Jane, the lead actress in the show, she’s deciding that she wants to be a writer, and she’s’ working on a short story. I’m giving this example because I’m going to make a point of it, because I think it applies to anybody who is struggling with a block right now. So if you’ve seen the show, you might know what I’m about to say.

    So she’s writing, and she just is having a really hard time finishing this short story that she’s working on. One of her mentors, and at this point I cannot remember if it comes to her in a dream or one of her telenovela fantasies, or if it was her actual writing coach at the time, but one of them Jane said, she’s like; oh, I’m just suffering from writer’s block. I’m having a hard time getting past this point, and it just is what it is. And that’s kind of true of all of us when we run into a road block, right? Well, I’m just not feeling very motivated right now. I’m running out of steam, maybe I’m just burned out. You know, we kind of start giving all of these excuses and justifications for why we don’t have the same energy that we did when we first committed ourselves to this goal, or maybe the same degree of awesome inspiration when we first started.

    So we make all of these excuses, and we just tend to write it off. And we tend to think that we either are just going to have to give up, because the motivation is just not going to come back so we either just abandon the short story we’re working on, or we just abandon whatever new diet or lifestyle we’re following because, maybe it’s just the wrong fit. Maybe it’s not for us. We tend to entertain those thoughts. And then on the flip side, some of us tend to think that, well this too will pass. This is just a moment where I’m struggling a little bit, and the light bulb will light later on.

    So the point of this story, and I’ll tell you the rest of what happened with Jane, but the point of this story is there’s really a third option. And it’s to work through it really purposefully. So if you do hit a roadblock, and you do start to lack some motivation, there’s a way to work through it that kind of allows you to really be more intentional in the process and also understand where you’re at a little bit better, not blame yourself as much, and also realize that you’re not as out of control as you might think you are.

    So, going back to Jane’s story. What her teacher told her in hearing about her story about her writer’s block and it just is what it is; her teacher gave her some sage advice, and it really struck a chord with me. She said; “often times, the block is further back than you think.”

    Ok, so what the heck does that mean? And it was one of those chilling moments where you’re watching; I think that’s why I adored this show so much, because I had such low expectations of it, and it managed to deliver a line that has really served me since. But come on Gus; I think Gus sees a bunny. {laughs} Good boy. So, what does that really mean? “The block is further back than you think.”

    What we’re talking about is, let’s say you are on your diet path, or you started a Whole 30 or a 21-Day Sugar Detox, or whatever have you. Whatever path you chose in 2016, or you started a workout regimen. And you’re feeling burnout. You’re feeling the weight of that block, that lack of inspiration, that lack of motivation, ok? And you think; well, it’s because I’m burned out. It’s because whatever moment you’re in isn’t the right moment. Maybe this isn’t the right fit, and we tend to think more localized. We don’t tend to rewind the clock and think about if there was something else that happened in our past that was causing us to feel this way.

    So the block being further back is so true, and what I encourage you to do and how to be intentional in working through these moments is to sit down and think about if something happened in recent past that, although you didn’t feel the impact immediately or at least you didn’t feel the immediate impact on your current goals or your current motivation, it left a lingering effect that you’re having to deal with right now. So what could have happened? Maybe you had an argument with your spouse about finances, and then a week goes by and all of a sudden you don’t feel as motivated to go to that Crossfit class anymore because it was an extra $150 a month.

    So what could be the blocks? Or, goodness. You had an argument with your sister, or a conversation with a sister, and she said that she read somewhere on the internet that lifting weights is actually one of the worst things ladies could do, and everyone just needs to go and do yoga. I’m just pulling these examples out of nowhere. But someone said something, and at the moment maybe you dismissed it and maybe you brushed it aside, but for whatever reason it planted a seed in your mind and now you’re dealing with it. And now it’s become a block for your motivation.

    So now that you’ve identified it, I’m going to give you one more example. Those of us who maybe we didn’t have a health and fitness goal, but we have a project goal. We’re working on something for work, for a business we’re creating, whatever it is. Like I’m working on a major project right now; I’ll use myself as an example. And I tend to just jump in and fly by the seat of my pants. I have a lot of ideas that I have set out, tested, and thought very critically through, but how it all comes together I just kind of let that happen. There’s not a whole lot of reason for me to stress about that. And that’s the recipe for my success; really, that’s how I stay motivated throughout all of this stuff.

    However, I ran into a motivation block recently; not because I believed any less in what I was working on, or because I didn’t see the potential that I saw before, I saw all of that. But something was a little bit amiss. And what happened is I had to sit down and literally rewind the clock to remember what possibly could have had an impact on this. And what happened, it was a basic misunderstanding that I kind of brushed past at the time, because I didn’t think it was a big deal, but it planted a seed in my mind that created this block in the present. I had a conversation with somebody that I really respected and looked up to, and they made a comment that I should really consider adding in another, I guess I can call it a marketing element to it in order for it to be successful at all.

    And the way that conversation played out was, I like to consider myself a student of everybody. I think everybody’s got to teach me something. So I took that into consideration and I said, you know, thank you so much and I will definitely think about this. And I weighed all of it out, and I really decided that it wasn’t the right route for me, or for what I was working out. It just didn’t speak; I didn’t think it held a lot of weight or integrity with what I was working on. And it’s not the other person’s fault, they just didn’t understand the project as intimately as I did.

    However, the implication that was made was that I, it wouldn’t be a success with me. With just me, or the way that I had planned it out or mapped it out. And although it wouldn’t have been as great a success; or as great of a success in the eyes of all, it would be a greater success in my eyes because I operated to my own personal code.

    Anyway, everything ended very amicably. There’s no bad blood in any of these scenarios, but for whatever reason that kind of planted this little, you know, downer of; wow, this person that I really respect maybe doesn’t believe in the potential that I thought I saw. And that’s not going to determine my outlook on it; like I said, it doesn’t make me believe any less in the project, but it kind of deflated a little bit, and that deflation just kind of turned into a very slow leak over time, and the next thing you know, I’m having a hard time; I don’t wake up as excited to finish working on it as much as I did in the beginning. It took me having to look back and reidentify that conversation; although I had worked through it with that person and we had wrapped it all up with a bow, and we were both good with it, all parties involved were good with it, I kind of missed that puncture; that slow leak to my motivation when it happened at the time.

    So what it took me doing was kind of revisiting it, and identifying that moment when; I hate to put it this way, but when my ego took a hit in a way that I thought was no big deal at all. I didn’t want that to be the focus of the conversation, was that I was insulted. Because it wasn’t the focus of it; it was such a minor consequence.

    So, anyway, it took me revisiting it, figuring out what had happened in order to identify it; say, you know what, that’s not a big deal. Though there might be elements of truth to it, have purposefully made a decision to move on from here, and I realize that little slow leak has no power over my overarching belief in what I’m working on.

    So, in the show, Jane the Virgin, Jane realizes that there was a block associated with, I think it was her father at the time or something like that; again, I kind of is this satirical telenovela type of show, so there’s all kinds of crazy plot lines {laughs} so I don’t remember which dramatic character it was associated with, but there was something that had happened that she had to resolve with somebody else. And then as soon as she resolved it, and fixed whatever that thing was that she thought was totally unassociated, the writer’s block lifted.

    So all I’m trying to get at is that if you’re facing some sort of a motivation block, lack of inspiration, you feel like you’re running out of steam or like you’re burned out. Burn out is kind of a scapegoat that we tend to use a lot when we’ve been working really hard and we run into one of these blocks, we tend to write it off as, well I’ve just been working too hard and I’m burned out.

    When you are actually burned out, you know the difference. So kind of audit yourself and figure out if you are really running on fumes; if we’re talking like adrenal fatigue, you’ve been sleeping 5 hours a night, you’re not eating very well; that’s pretty much, that’s a burn out. But if you just think that you’re motivation has started to lack; that’s not a burn out, that’s a block. So think back, rewind the clock, remember why you started whatever you’re working on. Remember the feeling that you had when you first committed to it and when you thought about how great it was going to feel and when you thought about all the awesome potentials. Revisit those feelings, because they’re still; “steal”. {laughs} They’re still just as real today as they were then. Ok, you just have a little bit more experience and a little bit more perspective under your belt, but that doesn’t devalidate those original thoughts that you had when you first committed yourself.

    So that’s pretty much it. If you’ve got a block, try to think outside the box. Think about what else could have contributed to it. Even in things, in my instance, a blow to my ego, which I don’t consider myself a really egotistical person so I blew it off, I didn’t think that was going to have any impact on myself. You know? This person is a mentor and I want their advice. I love harsh advice. But how it was presented, I didn’t take actions to resolve that at the time and it snuck up on me as an unintended consequence of that conversation, that piece that I left unresolved, because I underestimated it.

    So think if there was something that you encountered; a conversation that you had that you underestimated in the past. Revisit it; either talk to that person or sit down and maybe do some journaling, just to write through it, and come to a decision. Actively choose to work through this, because if I understand you guys, when you commit yourself to a new goal, that fun and that excitement that you have, you can feel that again, you just have to get past this phase.

    I’m here for you, as always, and I hope you liked today’s episode. I would love to hear your comments. If you’d like more of these kind of off the cuff kind of thing, let me know. Or if you’d like me to go back to a little bit more structured, I’m happy to do that as well, I’d just love your feedback. I can do any and all, or keep a nice mix going.

    Thank you guys so much for tuning in, we will be back again next week.


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