Experimentation Is The Key To Not Burning Out
How to get stronger without burning out:
Slow approach daily micro habits, weekly cycles, fit into quarterly results.
Being ok with sidestepping, backtracking, or staying at the same level when you are working with quality.
Go for it everyday, push your boundaries.
Paying attention to only the micro can leave you with a shortsighted view of how you are progressing.
If you do something new and you do not see results in the first few days and feel the pain of trying new habits, no need to fret. Balance how you feel in the moment while having patience for what will take time. Everything in our modern world of progress works on a lag time, so the work and habits or laziness and procrastination are going to have their effect on your life in several weeks or months but right now we have to have delayed gratification.
Contradictory I know.
You're in the moment physical being instrument is all about comfort, survival, satiety, low energy cost, stimulation. These are our primitive instincts. These are useful to make sure we survive. Thankfully not many times these instincts are called upon for legitimate threats to our survival. In our modern world there is danger for sure from car accidents, household accidents, forces of nature, things can go bad really quickly. But when we are behind on paperwork or are stressing about bills, we can confuse these modern day stresses with survival fear.
We can instead use our primitive instincts to help us change habits by paying attention to them to keep us in check from trying to change habits too fast. For instance, trying to go paleo and cut out all grains and carbs? You can try to go cold turkey but that might lead to burnout after a few days and splurging on beer and pizza, frustration and never returning to new challenges. With intermittent fasting or changing to a high fat diet we can strive to make daily and weekly improvements to get cleaner while still indulging as we wean ourselves off of a habit that we may want to reduce but sprinting to the end for a few days does not lay down sustainable habits.
Making hard changes takes hard work, there is mental pain and physical pangs in changing habits out of comfort in the moment to making lasting changes. There is no way around it. You have to harness the immense mental power to overcome these barriers. There does not have to be a conflict between our body and mind. They are both always communicating to each other.
There is a lot of talk by what I have learned from yoga teachers about denigrating the power of the mind and listening only to what the body tells you. “empty your mind” there is a place for this, but misapplied can bring you pain in not being able to take full experience in what modern life of humanity has to offer. If you are filled with fear about how to put one foot in front of the other on a project or a workout plan, a measure of embodiment can be helpful, listening to the sensations of the body, the key is without judgement. If you are hungry, eat, if you are tired sleep, if you are awake then move.
The other end of the spectrum is the power of the mind. When he are racing up a hill on a bicycle and our lungs and legs are burning and we feel our body talking to us, our mind can judge and say “no more” I am going to drop out, my body can do no more” try the opposite saying “ I can, I deserve to be here, I am contributing to this group and I am hurting no more than my fellow competitors. Psyching yourself up is our way of up-regulating our central fatigue limits. In physiology we have terms such as VO2 max is the maximum level of oxygen the body can consume when tested to our physiological limits when after reaching our limit we immediately collapse without any control. What most of us get to is a VO2 peak where we get up to a level that is extremely uncomfortable and we decide to stop the test. We are afraid of feeling so much. In research studies we know that external verbal encouragement can have a significant benefit in pushing further past our VO2 peak and closer to our true maximum. What is our mental talk, what is the influence of people around us? Are they telling us to relax and not work too hard and live a balanced life or are our peers and mentors telling us to keep going dig deeper? Is it more satisfying when at a pivotal moment in our life we could have done no more and we failed or when we stopped short of our true potential? We do not even know where our limits are. Kelly Starrett says that in this age we are understanding more about having it all from our greater understanding to measure and reach our potential.
“You have no idea what you are capable of."
Using the beauty of our human experience, understanding, art and science, objective measurements to help us see where we are falling short in our long term goals so that we can learn how to be the master of what we do. To own what we feel and not be owned by our feelings, to use the power of the nervous system to do what we love rather than being a victim to poor mentality or untrained urges.
Suppleness of mind and body so they can communicate without conflict. Push your limits and when you find them, celebrate that you have found a peak and keep searching and challenging the boundaries.