Last night I was in a terrible place–probablyyy just a mood swing, but in the moment it felt really crappy. It may also have been because I forced myself to have food that was too spicy for me and my skin and insides burned for the next few hours, and I just felt so sad that I was treating myself to badly.
I called my mom (hallelujah for parental support. It’s so important to have a tribe you know you can count on, be it family or friends). They were gushing about how happy they were with the yoga I’d told my dad where to find on Youtube, and telling me how much I inspired them and how they in turn influenced their friends to take better care of their bodies. That struck me even more–I’d done myself so much good in learning to get my body up and moving to get stronger, but I let vices hold me back (like crappy asf eating). I confessed that I was at a constant struggle against myself–I know what I need to do to get better at what I do, to feel uplifted and cheery every day…but it very quickly turns into a test of perfection, where a part of me starts scoffing and trying to convince me that I’ll never be what I aspire to be, so what’s the point of trying? I can go half a week feeling and doing great, then on Thursday I tend to fall into a downward spiral of slack and sloth. It’s as if I used up my badass fuel and all I’m left with is the drive to be a blob.
“Resistance is futile–why leave your comfort zone when you’ll be back again?”
Thoughts like this keep me from improving myself. I found out from Susie Moore that these thoughts come from a part of you she calls the “itty bitty shitty committee”, whose sole purpose is to tell you you’re not good enough, to ‘protect you from your true potential’ (my words, not hers haha).
When my dad heard me telling my mom this, that I was afraid to commit to long term change because fear of failing and having my effort wasted gets to me before I even begin, he took the phone and told me something super important. He was like “Nat, this is because you’re committing to your expectation. Commit to your intention, and it’ll be super different. I do yoga every day not because I expect to sleep well, do a headstand or whatever…I just do it because I intend to be healthy.” And I realize how much it applies to all my life and everything I do. First half of the week I’m a friggin dynamo, productive and just feeling on point, mostly. Then Thursdays come around and I’m like…I don’t feel like being awesome. Like bruh, what?? It became all the more clear to me that this self sabotage is coming from my failure to meet the super high expectations I’ve set from Sunday-Wednesday, and around Thursday is when the thoughts set in like “Hey…you’re not perfect ha ha told you. Let’s just go watch a movie or three instead of reading that pretty cool book you were planning to. Your plans suck lol.”
So yeah, my takeaway from that conversation which I feel is a really powerful spark to supplement willpower is to commit to intention, and not expectation. Willpower sputters and dies when expectations loom and fail to be met, but willpower thrives on the intentions we hold on to.