Obsessiveness & Fitness
And the fear of losing focus.
I’ve decided to share a conversation with a newer member of Gaintrust. Abby, is a self proclaimed “obsessive”. Something I can definitely relate to. She describes her obsessions as “totally consuming her” and admits to fearing what will happen when her inevitable, obsessive focus shifts off of fitness in the future.
I think everyone can relate to having these fears, obsessive or not. You get into something new and it’s super exciting and motivation is high. Then a month later, the motivation is gone and you feel like you’ve let yourself down. In that way, this conversation highlights a lot of that and how you may be able to refocus perspective and attitudes to promote longevity and set more realistic expectations for your latest fitness obsession!
You can follow Abby on Twitter here.
abbypaulielibby — I have a thought/question/thing.
MichaeI — Sure.
abbypaulielibby — I'm a super obsessive person. And about a year ago I decided not to fight it. If I have an intense interest in a thing and a lot of drive to pursue it, I'll go for it, and it's been amazing. Some of the highest levels of production in my life. The problem is every obsession burns out after a couple months max, and I move on to my next thing. Right now fitness/swimming/working on my pain issues is The Obsession, but it will absolutely not last. When I drop down off it, and get into my next thing, Idk if the community will be able to keep me in this.
MichaeI — So you're worried that when your focus shifts, you wont keep up with fitness?
abbypaulielibby — Right, because that's how it always is. It's not that I lose motivation, and need a hand to keep going, it's that I completely replace the thing. at the end of last year into this I was obsessively cleaning my house. I still keep it decent, but it's nowhere near the same level.
MichaeI — I can tell you that you may not always have stretches of time to devote 100% to something, which you've admitted is inevitable. But while you do have that focus, you should go as deep as you can so that you can at least pick up some good lessons.
When you eventually fall off a bit...
1. You may not exercise 5 days a week, you'll maybe exercise 2 days a week. 2 is a whole lot better than 0.
2. If you fall off entirely, at the very least you may remember how it felt, regularly exercising. Just that alone, fresh in your memory may entice you down the road to pick it back up again -- more-so than if you had never had this recent stint into your fitness.
But let's be more optimistic. In this stretch of time you have to go deep into fitness, you may find something manageable that you REALLY enjoy. May be a routine like, walking and listening to a podcast. Or outdoors activity like hiking... things you can do with your husband. So even if your focus does shift, you'll be in a routine that you enjoy that is supplemental to your life, not YOUR ENTIRE LIFE'S FOCUS.
But either way, adding fitness into your life will require a shift in priorities. You can maybe reframe fitness as being the thing that makes the things you love the most, all the better.
abbypaulielibby — Right.
MichaeI — There are things in my life that I KNOW I do better because I lift weights regularly. My job for example. Relationships too. You can eventually, when you're routined enough, think of fitness as a daily pill you have to swallow in order to be your best self.
abbypaulielibby — You're right, I need that. I'm much happier this month picking all this up than I have been in a while.
MichaeI — While fitness is on a pedestal for you, embrace that... go deep into it, be enthusiastic. Talk about it with others. Form relationships based on fitness (maybe at the gym, or with your husband).
abbypaulielibby — the major struggle is that new Obsessions take me over so completely that sometimes I forget everything and every feeling from before.
MichaeI — Create as many lasting anchors in your life that will keep you from straying when eventually, your focus shifts.
abbypaulielibby — you're making really good points. I try not to pull Jon too much into obsessions cause it's a little “whiplash-y” for him (laughs).
MichaeI — Some obsessions can cause a person to crash and burn... I know that because I'm very much like you.
abbypaulielibby — I'm Deep in this one, it's scaring me (laughs).
MichaeI — When i get into something it's all or nothing, I go DEEP and I get lost.
abbypaulielibby — Yep.
MichaeI — however, the benefit of fitness is that it has mental health BENEFITS.
abbypaulielibby — Yeah, for real.
MichaeI — Getting insanely obsessed with the guitar will exercise your brain in a mathematically and creative way sure... but that can just lead to straight up burnout.
abbypaulielibby — Right.
MichaeI — Exercise can actually balance you because that's what it does.
abbypaulielibby — I used to be so hard on myself about all the things I thought I loved that were part of me that I let go.
MichaeI — Guitar may be interesting, but it's not going to balance you.
abbypaulielibby — "I used to play ukulele" "I used to swim" "I used to knit". Now I'm trying to focus on the positive of the thing I'm into rather than the things behind me. I'm keeping track of them.
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MichaeI — For me, as another obsessive person.. I like to think those former obsessions added to the whole. Like, I drew my whole life but I no longer draw anymore.
abbypaulielibby — Right? You on the peak of the wave are a tough act to follow.
MichaeI — What do you mean?
abbypaulielibby — it's a poem I read somewhere. "I'm a tough act to follow".
MichaeI — Oh I understand. Right, but life is not linear for 99.99% of us finding our sustaining purpose is a lot of meandering.
abbypaulielibby — Not at all. Exactly.
MichaeI — But you learn a little bit at each stop. Where your strengths lie, who you are.
abbypaulielibby — Yeah, I'm a lot better of a swimmer this pass than I was four-ish years ago when I had my last swimming obsession.
MichaeI — If/When you do move off of the current obsession, try to remember Fitness doesn’t have to be an obsession. It can be a supplemental part of your life that makes everything else a bit better.
abbypaulielibby — Right. I really thought I had developed systems for keeping the house super clean that would last beyond the obsession, and I was really discouraged how much of that left me when the next thing really hit. But it's still cleaner than it was before that obsession.
MichaeI — Well there you go. That's a good sign of what will likely follow. You wont be obsessed with fitness but you'll be better than you were.
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