by Ann Ferguson
Push until you can’t, rest until you can. Those are the rules for the new online exercise program I started a few weeks ago. This is a totally new way and rhythm of exercising for me. Honestly I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around it.
When I take a class at the gym, I push and push and push. I don’t like being the weakest in the room. I was a professional ballerina when I was younger. I know how to make myself push just a little harder. I lean in, breathe deep, distract my mind from the fatigue, and don’t give in to the pain. That’s how I’ve been conditioned. That is what it means to be disciplined. That’s my rhythm: push, push, push, push, push some more, stop. Do it again the next day. That is what creates strength and mental toughness…then the burnout hits. When I was younger, I could keep going. Now, I just collapse and stop. If anyone suggests that I start again, I meet the suggestion with a bit of self-sabotage and a lot of resistant procrastination. Justifications and excuses are abundant, and I start believing that it’s impossible to get into shape.
In this program, the trainer says, “Push yourself until you can’t go on. Then rest. Don’t pace yourself to make it through. Push hard and rest regardless of what anyone else is doing.” Huh?? Don’t pace myself? Rest in the middle of the exercise? This is so counter to my ballet training. If I were to stop in the middle of an exercise at the barre because my leg was shaking with fatigue, I’d be called out. “No!” my conditioning screams at me. Pace yourself so that you can make it. So you can push again tomorrow. The rhythm is: push, push, push, push some more, and stop when everyone else does. Do it again the next day. Ignore the pain, and…crash. I can’t keep going.
When I bought this program, I committed to give it a shot and follow it with exactness for a month. I like to test things out and prove them right or wrong. The program creator promises that if I exercise this way, it will reset my metabolism, and my body will be more efficient and strong. That’s what I want. A strong, fit, active body that will respond to me when I want it to. For the past 3 weeks, I have done the program as directed. Every other day I do the workout, and on the off days, I don’t do anything. As I exercise, I push until I can’t do another rep because my muscles are burning, or I become breathless. Then I rest for a few seconds. When I feel ready, I jump back in. The new rhythm is: push, rest, push, rest, push rest. Rest some more the next day and do it again when I’m energized. I can do this. It’s so weird, but it’s working.
This unfamiliar easier way of conditioning is enjoyable. I am feeling my body getting stronger and more responsive, I feel fit. I look forward to the mornings that I “get to” workout. Burnout isn’t happening, and I’m very motivated and energized.
I realized recently that my exercise rhythm and my creation rhythm have been similar. My typical pattern is to set a goal and try to think of all that I have to do to see it realized. Push push push push, even when it’s late, even when my family needs me, even when the creative juices are no longer flowing, and my mental muscles are shaking with fatigue. Push. Don’t give in. Discipline makes success. Collapse…I can’t do this. I just don’t have it in me. I’m done and it’s impossible to create the life I want. That’s my pattern.
Well, It was my pattern. After reading the Jackrabbit Factor, participating in Genius Bootcamp and Mindset Mastery, my rhythm has changed. I move in more of the push, rest, push, rest rhythm. I have let God be my creation trainer. It goes something like this; I get a spark idea, usually first thing in the morning. My mental energy is ready and charged up, so I pursue it. I take the inspired action steps that come into my mind and work on it until I feel the fatigue of creating. Then I rest. I do something else, even if what I was working on isn’t complete. After a bit of time, I get another spark idea or the motivation to work on the original spark. Because I’m resting until I can create again, I have the mental energy and excitement to create more than I ever thought possible. I find that I don’t spend a lot of time dabbling in distractions. I am not avoiding the tasks that need to be done. I’m energized and work on them until I can’t and then I rest until I can. It’s a great rhythm. Push, rest, push, rest, push rest. Rest some more the next day and do it again when I’m energized. I can do this.
What is fantastic is that my creative metabolism has been reset. My mental muscles are efficient, and life is responsive. Things I didn’t know I needed are coming to me. Thoughts, people, and resources show up, and I’m having a fun time receiving them. I’m the past, the idea of creating terrified me.. Now it is enjoyable and quite comfortable. My mind is strong enough to bounce out the toxic thoughts that gunk it up and stop the creative process. And when I need to rest from it all, I don’t feel the guilt that I should be doing more. In other words, by working with God as my trainer, I’m becoming a healthy fit creator.
If you are struggling to “make yourself” re-engage in a project, vision, or dream, I get it! Maybe your rhythm of creation is off. In the creative process, there is a time for doing, and there is time for resting. It turns out that the growth spurts happens just like it did when you were little. The most growth occurs when you sleep.
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