Motivation is garbage. Accomplishing the things you set out to do means saying yes to your commitment when you’re dying to say no. It means pushing yourself beyond comfort. It means cancelling the things you’d rather be doing to stay loyal to what matters to you.
It’s a new year and this year I felt something different rising up inside me. I felt a drive for change and a fire that was beyond the kindling of my usual motivation. The truth is, after I returned from my trip to the Yoga and Meditation Retreat in Cambodia I fell into a quicksand of depression.
The fire that blazed inside me and the contagious smile that was consistently decorating my face on the other side of the world had been peeled away as soon as the plane hit the tarmac in Toronto. Back to reality, I told myself, as if the whole trip had been a fantasy and it was time to drag my feet all the way to my desk.
I felt sorry for myself. I felt like a victim of my circumstance, as though I was cursed to live in a city where the air carried a chill powerful enough to snap my own wet hair. I stopped doing the things I knew made me feel better like going to the gym or eating real food. I masked my pain in late nights out, overpriced Uber Eats delivery fees, online shopping, and incessant scrolling.
That stuff never works. When I ignore what’s important to me like my health, my financial plan, or my sanity, I know where it leads me. It leads me into my dark room, body numb from laying dormant in bed, my eyes sore from the TV, and my hope dimmer than the street light weakly streaming into my window.
After the holidays came to an end, I felt a sense of relief falling back into a routine. I sat at my desk eager to plan my goals. I had something to work toward. The night before, I had spent a few hours in my room dreaming up all the things I wanted this year, finally hopeful. I created a no-nonsense plan that involved a lot of early morning wakeups in -10° conditions, sitting silently for extended periods in painful meditation, and doing things that scared the shit out of me.
For me, 2019 is all about discomfort. My plan is to write down everything that terrifies me, the things that bring out my deepest insecurities, and the places where I feel inadequate and start to bring light to the darkness. I’ve learned that hiding our weaknesses from the world and from ourselves just promotes our avoidant behaviours.
When we live in fear, we’re really living with the concept that we’re incompetent at dealing with what life throws at us. In reaction to this, we place ourselves into situations that we know we can handle. Life doesn’t protect us in the same manner. No one can hide from the death of a loved one, the diagnosis of a disease, or their own undeniable temporality.
What can we do? We can actively seek out growth opportunities. Growth opportunities are situations where we are pushed beyond our default mode and often times when we experience anxiety, pain, and fear. Putting ourselves into these situations repetitively can do something very powerful, it can create confidence in our capacity to overcome.
This resolution sounds daunting and it will be. My mind will try to convince me to sleep in, stay in, and say no. Our minds want to be comfortable, we are programmed to seek shelter. Despite this, I will consistently hold onto the truth that I feel better after I’m uncomfortable. Laying in bed unchallenged is an alluring choice that leaves me rotting in the bottom of an empty well of depression. Getting up and working toward my goals may leave me sweating, sore, and afraid but it leaves me better than I was the moment before.