‘Just keep swimming’ (towards those goals)

“Just keep swimming.” One of the many life lessons that Disney has bestowed upon us, and a phrase that’s been something of a mantra to me for the past few weeks.

It’s about mid-July now so we passed the halfway mark of 2021 not long ago, and if you’ve followed my blog long enough then you’ll know that it’s about time for another update on my goals. It’s a little later than usual, but at least I got to it, right? 

And that’s really about the attitude I’ve had to develop with all my goals as of late – appreciating the little victories. Things have recently improved as compared to when I last updated, which I really appreciate considering how bad things were for some time after that.

Now, I have several goals I’m working towards (something you’ll also probably know if you’ve followed this blog for some time and read the relevant posts). To avoid taking up too much time, here’s a quick rundown of how I’ve been doing:

  • Guitar – My skills are slowly but steadily continuing to improve, at a rate I’m relatively happy with.
  • BSL – I’m progressing more slowly than hoped, and probably need to dedicate more time to it if I want that to change.
  • Writing – Though most of my projects are coming along relatively well, it’s slightly slower than hoped, and my blogging efforts have sadly been extremely limited.
  • Fitness – I’m still dieting and exercising regularly, but I continued to struggle way longer than I hoped to, following my last update.

After my success and optimism in 2020, I was really hoping for more of the same this year. That hasn’t been the case so far, but like I said I’m doing my best to appreciate the little victories. At least where my guitar, BSL, and writing (excluding my blogging) is concerned I can say I’m mostly happy. But when it comes to my fitness efforts, I’ve really disappointed myself for most of this year, so far.

When I updated three months ago, I was in a bad place with my fitness, but though I had missed a few workouts those first few months and exceeded my calories limits very occasionally, I had plans that I thought would see me improve since the first quarter of the year. Unfortunately, those plans didn’t pan out. At least not immediately. 

There was some improvement early on but then for some reason, I lost momentum again. I missed more workouts and threw my diet right out the window on some days. And that felt worse than when I had struggled before because it felt like I wasn’t even trying anymore.  

That found me experiencing some dark moods because while I’ve learned to accept slow progress, not trying is something that can make me feel really down on myself. In the past, when my efforts have been similarly lacking, I’ve had a tendency to self-destruct and give up even my lacklustre attempts at self-improvement.

That’s something I’ve very consciously been trying to avoid since I started on this latest goals journey of mine, which I’ve been on pretty consistently since the beginning of 2020. (Which offered a routine that helped keep me focussed and sane in an otherwise insane year.) As this update approached and I remembered my accountability to myself, as well as my readers, I decided it was time to really push myself again. 

So, I started taking protein and creatine monohydrate pretty much daily, to make sure I had the energy for workouts – which I planned to do months ago but failed to really commit to. I’ve also cut sweets, pastries, and other treats I love almost completely out of my diet and stopped indulging even on cheat days. Also, more generally for the sake of my goals, I started paying attention to my reward system again and added a few rules to help keep me on the straight and narrow. It’s a tricky tightrope I have to walk as I know that being too strict with myself can have detrimental effects but, right now, I think it’s what I need.

Encouragingly, in the weeks since I decided to do all of that, things have been going much better. I’m happy with my fitness progress again, and that’s meant that I’ve been in a headspace to start focussing on how I can make better progress in my other goals as well. My commitment to publishing a couple dozen blog posts this year, for example.

It’s still a work in progress and I’m still trying to get back to where I was as far as my efforts and contentment in my achievements is concerned, but it is what it is. I can’t change what happened in the past few months I’ve struggled, so it’s no use to get caught in those failures. Better to accept that, take the new lessons I’ve learned from this latest rough patch, and “just keep swimming”.

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