Pause If You Must, But Don't Stop

You know - the thing about movement is that it improves your stability, balance and coordination. So, if you ever find yourself in a place where you have to ask, why should I keep moving - always remember that movement leads to finding the right balance; how then can you keep moving when you feel so tired and frustrated? When everything seems like it is falling apart. You wake up, but you are not ready to take on the day.

At work, you struggle to focus; your social life - does not exist. How do you focus on moving when it has become so cumbersome - think about it for a moment, assume you have a goal to take a hike on a mountain, not one like Mount Everest of course, maybe something smaller like the half dome, which is about a 14 to 16-mile round-trip.

You have prepared for this hurdle; you have the right attitude and everything you need to start this journey. You begin, somewhere along the line, the bustling wind, hard rock and piercing cold amongst other natural aggressors causes your high spirit to drop.

Little by little, you start to feel the heaviness all over your body; you realise that your movement, which possibly was at 4 miles an hour when you began, starts to drop by the time you get to the middle of what was fun and exciting would feel like a Herculean task. At this point, what would you do? Pause if you must, but don't stop.

Yes! Don't stop, it's okay to take a break; anyone that says otherwise is a slave driver and is probably lying to you and themselves. Your body speaks to your mind when it knows you are overwhelmed and heading for overdrive. Let us go back to the hike; you had not sipped water because you only focused on getting to the peak. You began to feel that heaviness as if all the fluid inside you drained. It is your body speaking to you, telling you — "It's time to slow down" — breathe easy and drink water. So, imagine if you don't pause, and you keep moving? I would leave it to your imagination.

Next time, when you feel overwhelmed, unable to focus, or unhappy with where you are, it's okay to pause. When you do this, you are interrupting the cycle of stress, which is most likely what led you to become overwhelmed in the first place. Taking a break allows you to regulate and allows your mind to re-focus. It increases your productivity and fun-fact; you begin to think clearer. Now we are back on the hiking trail; you listened to your body and took a break, slowed down your breathing and drank enough water.

You begin to feel relaxed, lazy even; still, you look ahead, you can now see your path again, your mind, however, is playing tricks on you. It is telling you to turn back or maybe take a nap, but you know that is a bad idea, you've come all this way, you stayed motivated to this point, so you can't turn back, you can't take a nap, what then can you do?

The answer is very simple, don't stop. You needed to pause, yes, but now you are energised, you know you have the energy and the vexing feeling of exasperation is all but gone, and you are ready to continue the challenge or even take up a new one, but something seems to be holding you back here's how to stay motivated:

  • Keep your goals small and reachable: Remember our hiking journey? We are now at the point to begin our journey again. We are halfway there about 8 miles out, so it's easy to time ourselves. If we did 4 miles in 1 hour, then we can do it again. A short achievable goal helps you break down larger goals that seem difficult and farfetched into smaller targets. This way, it doesn't seem like much of a burden.
  • Appreciate and celebrate yourself: You did a lot already, what if Kevin from 5th street did 14 miles in 4 hours at the Dome? You are not Kevin; you are yourself, and you have done so well. So, remember to celebrate your small victories because, with each win, you are one step closer to your ultimate goal.

  • Talk to yourself: Sounds weird, right? But it isn't. There's so much running through your mind at the same time, this is part of the reason you are overwhelmed, so self-talks help you to focus on the positives. On the trail, continuous chants of inspirational statements like "I can do this" or "I was built to conquer" can influence you to focus and believe in yourself.
  • Change your posture: Remember when I told you; your body speaks. So, we are back on the trail-ready to go, but there's one more thing to fix and that's your posture, you stand upright, no longer slouched from weakness. That singular act allows energy to course through your body, allowing you to feel refreshed and revitalised. The way we feel and think is very much connected and can be influenced by our body language, this is why it is important that when you find yourself losing motivation and self-confidence changing your posture would set things right.

Now you have self-motivated, you've done an amazing job, and you are headed right to the peak of the half-dome. There's something different about you; you are more refreshed, coordinated and stable. Why is this happening? Well, not too long ago I told you what movement does, it gives you balance; remember while you paused, you didn't stop.

You didn't stop thinking about what it would mean to get to the peak, you inspired yourself and re-ignited your fire, and now you are ready to take on the world. Remember to keep on moving, and you can pause every once in a while, but never stop.

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