It is so exhilarating when we are making rapid progress towards our goals. For some of us, that might mean steady weight loss as part of a diet and exercise program. Or, it might be seeing our daily word count accumulate as we develop our writing skills.
When we are making progress, it is easy to stay on track and to stay motivated.
The real challenge is when that rapid progress suddenly…stops. It is when that scale just does not want to budge past a certain point, or when a frustrating creative block becomes chronic.
While this lack of progress may feel like being “stuck in a rut,” I prefer to think of it as a plateau in personal evolution.
Whether it’s a physical fitness goal or a skill-building objective, the angst and frustration is the same. It is often easy to identify the areas for improvement and general ideas for how we may make those improvements. However, in practice it is not always quite so clear cut.
It has taken me a long, sometimes painful amount of time to finally recognize and accept: plateaus are part of our personal evolution, whether we like it or not.
Plateaus are sometimes indications that we have become comfortable and complacent again, that the sense of urgency has waned. They are cyclical, these periods of slowed evolution. But so, too, is the period of rapid improvement. We should take heart in that fact.
So the key, as I see it, is to acknowledge that plateaus are part of the evolution process and we should not allow ourselves to fixate on this lack of progress as that will only serve to demotivate us.
A plateau should be viewed as an opportunity: this is a time for reflection and self evaluation!
- What has caused this period of complacency?
- Did I allow the usual distractions of everyday life to get in the way?
- Maybe I felt a sense of entitlement that eroded my discipline; the classic phrase “I work hard, I deserve a break” so easily becomes a recurring excuse, derailing the progress towards our goals.
The proactive question to ask ourselves is: how can we recapture that spark which preceded past personal evolution blitzes?
This is where daily journalizing may pay dividends by reviewing the insights we had during past experiences of self motivation.
While we don’t want to get stuck on a plateau for any longer than we must, we should not let this very normal cycle discourage us.
We should instead remember to keep an eye on the big picture and take advantage of the opportunity to set ourselves up for another inspiring surge of rapid personal evolution. Persistence is essential to success!
What do you do, Dear Reader, when you get “stuck in a rut” that stagnates the progress you are making towards your goals? I invite you to share your ideas and experiences in the comments below.