Get Back Up Again: Tips for Picking Up Where You Left Off

Can there be anything more exasperating than trying to pick up an activity or habit again that fell to the wayside? Okay, maybe my two-year-old is more exasperating, but really, why is it so difficult to climb back on the wagon? And I don’t mean with just diet and exercise. With everything. For example, I ran out of dental floss for, like, two days, and when I bought more it took maybe two months to get back into the habit of flossing. Or I haven’t consistently blogged in forever, and it took me about four consecutive days of opening a blank page and just staring at it before the words started appearing on the page. And I’m pretty sure this’ll be the only post I write for the next couple weeks, despite my best intentions and promises that I’m going to find a consistent rhythm of writing and not let it drop like dinner on a plate when handed to a two-year-old (ah, we’re back to the exasperating again). And don’t get me started on the piano I bought two years ago, because I played a lot of piano in my youth and had the delusional thought that I would totally have the time and energy to pick it back up.

Getting started again always feels more daunting than trying something new. With a new thing, it’s so thrilling! You don’t know what you don’t know yet (ahh, blissful ignorance!) so you just do stuff and see what happens. There’s no bar set, no standard to uphold. You just do you.

Then you do it for a while, and maybe you tire of it, or Life Stuff happens and priorities shift. Other things in your life start to take up that space that once was. It fades.

Then one day you think, “Hmm, I should start playing the piano again!” And you commit to doing the thing, taking the classes, doing the chore. Maybe once or twice. But damn, it’s hard to remember that I’m supposed to do the thing now! Or maybe you remember how awesome it used to feel, because of skill level or life circumstances, and now it doesn’t feel the same way. Now it’s difficult, and kind of depressing. What used to be fun is not fun.

The one constant in life is that things change. Sometimes the pieces that once fit perfectly don’t quite fit together anymore. And that’s okay. I can get pretty frustrated with myself when I can’t pick up where I left off again. So here’s a few tips I’ve gleaned from that sage wisdom giver, Google, for when you find out that your sophomore round is a lot more daunting than your eager, green freshman run:

1. Be honest with yourself: is this really something you want to do?

At one point after my son was born, I thought I would get back into bike racing. I still had all the gear, so why now? Well, because now I have a small human at home, I don’t exactly have the time that I used to for 4+ hour training rides. Nor do I have the same level of fitness I once had. And once I really started thinking about it, did I even want to ride a bike? Like, is it an activity that made me excited and happy? Because I’m now in the Life Spot where any time away from my kids needs to be some form of productive or beneficial time to me, otherwise I feel like I’m wasting my time when I could be with my family. And I had to be honest with myself: no, I do not want to ride a bike.

If my heart wasn’t in it, no amount of scheduling, coaching, or bullying myself into training would have worked. I would just be even more cranky and bitter than my postpartum, sleep-deprived self already was. Life is too short to spend time on stuff that doesn’t contribute to happiness and well-being. So I prefer to focus on the stuff I do enjoy. I signed up for a boot camp class instead, and I loved it.

2. Get some new tools

Trying that eating/meal prep plan again, but it’s tough sticking with it for some reason? Sometimes you need to try something new or bring in another resource to push past the plateau. Say you’re eating plan leaves you lackluster and roaming the goodies aisle at the grocery store? Try out some new recipes, or join an only accountability group to offer a new perspective. Finding it hard to stick to a new at-home workout program? Splurge on some new music, or set a new ring tone on your phone for when you want to work out (extra bonus points if it’s “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie) to zap your mind in the “oh, we are doing this now!” mentality.

To get back into blogging, I’ve dusted off my old Feedly account to look for other inspiring bloggers, and am getting more involved with other blogging networking groups. It’s the little boost and camaraderie I think I need to get the flywheel turning again.

3. Accept that you are a different person today than you were yesterday

We all change and grow, and sometimes what worked before just doesn’t work anymore. I used to have no issue waking up at 5:00 to bike to work in the morning. But after 5+ years of sleep deprivation (because small humans), there is no way my body is waking up before 6:30 on a consistent basis. I can do it a couple mornings in a row, but by Day 3 my body completely shuts down. So I’ve had to accept that getting up early in the morning to do anything as a routine is just a no-go for me. I’ll have to find another way to squeeze in that workout/get some writing done/tackle that work project. There is nothing wrong with recognizing your limitations for where you are at today, and rolling along with Plan B.

Above all, just know yourself, and trust that where you are at and where you’re going is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Any thoughts or tips from the trenches on starting over?

That’s it for now. Go make it a great day! xoxo

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