I’ve always considered myself a fairly self-motivated person. I never really needed to be yelled at to do my homework in school or be told to attend. Also, I wanted to go to college and never skipped a day just because (if I didn’t go it was due to really bad anxiety or because I was sick). Even when I had online classes, I was self-motivated. There was no one to make absolute sure that I got my work done, but I did. I was never one to even really wait until the last minute.
However, I must admit, that when it comes to stretching, practicing, and exercising on a consistent and frequent basis to get through my anxiety, I struggle. It’s not because I don’t want to get through my anxiety (man, do I want to get through it!) but rather because 1.) sometimes my anxiety makes me so nervous I’m not even sure if I can stretch, practice, and exercise and 2.) while I’m not living exactly ‘comfortably’ there’s really nothing immediate that makes me feel like I have to exercise right away. What do I mean by this? Let me explain.
Let’s use the example of college. While it was difficult for me to go and stay in class at times due to my anxiety, I knew that it was something I had to do. Sure there were days when I stayed home or left early, but I knew that I wanted to and had to graduate (sure I guess I could have dropped out), but to me, that wasn’t really a choice. Not going and possibly failing my classes scared me and there was a more immediate repercussion: the repercussion of not graduating and receiving my diploma – something I didn’t want to risk.
Not graduating college was an immediate threat. While I took breaks from some classes and changed around my schedule sometimes, I still attended school and deep down I knew I couldn’t afford not to continue to try and go to school. I got through college and I graduated with a B.A. in Arts and Sciences. I went to enough classes and fought through my anxiety to make it happen! I did it with some help, but I still achieved my goals.
As much as I know that I need to practice, exercise, and stretch consistently to get through my anxiety, the threat of not getting through my fears isn’t as immediate. It’s not as if I have to worry that if I don’t do a certain amount of stretches for the day, I’ll fail a class or something or not graduate from college. However, I think I might have to start looking at things that way. I don’t mean that I should put loads of pressure on myself, but think about it. Getting through anxiety is just as important than graduating college, so why shouldn’t I treat it as such?
My advice to myself and others? Make it like in order to ‘pass’ the day, you have to exercise and practice facing your fears a certain amount of time. If you don’t achieve your goal, you’re not a failure, but you should still try to ‘pass’. If you do ‘pass’, why not reward yourself? Treat yourself to a snack you really like or write a fun blog post! Getting through anxiety is important and is something you should both want, and realize you need, to do!