“I Don’t Just Want To Get Through This, I Need To!”

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!


9 Replies to ““I Don’t Just Want To Get Through This, I Need To!””

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this post I can completely relate to what you are saying. You are not alone! I am following your blog so that I can read more!

  2. I have never been able to explain the difference between my motivation levels for different activities but you have put it into words – thank you! I love your idea of doing things to ‘pass’ the day, it is definitely something I am going to try out

    1. Thanks, I’m glad I could help! It’s weird – I WANT to get better but I just don’t seem to be able to keep up the motivation to do what I know I need to. I think it’s because no one pushes us and we’re not doing it, like I said for a grade or to graduate, etc. Maybe it’s just how our brains have become programmed. I don’t know. Thanks for reading!

  3. It’s almost like you’ve written my mind on the days when I’m supposed to go to the gym or days when I don’t, but I know I should stretch/exercise/move around more.

    It’s imperative to treating my fibromyalgia that I exercise regularly (with at least a day between strenuous exercise), but I’m often so engrossed in whatever I’m doing that I “just don’t feel like it.” Also, the pain I have every day makes me think of exercising & groaning out loud… even though I know it would make me feel better, sleep better, & be less stiff.

    I think that the idea – treating exercise/stretching like school, a job, or something else you can’t really skip – is brilliant. I worry that, if I tell myself I “passed” by exercising, I would definitely feel like I “failed” if I didn’t exercise. That’s a personal issue, though. So, maybe I need to work out the way I think about it to make it work for me.

    Reward systems are a wonderful idea too. Maybe even doing small rewards – a cookie for stretching today – & then, if you stretch for 5 days (or a week, or two weeks, or a month) consecutively, giving yourself a bigger reward – like a whole cake in one sitting. OK, maybe not that sort of thing, but the idea is brewing. *ponders* 😀

    1. Yes, exactly! It’s like we know we have to do these things but we allow other stuff to distract us. We want so badly to get through our issues and health problems but because we’re not being graded on it or something, we just let it go by.

      I totally get what you’re saying. If we look at succeeding as ‘passing’, the negative portion of our mind is tempted to look at not passing as ‘failing’. I think it’s due to school being like that, it’s almost like teachers grading like pass or fail. I guess we just have to look at it as an E for effort kind of thing!

      1. Also, sometimes it can be freakin’ hard to get moving if we’re having a rough day! For me, it’s sometimes the LAST thing I want to do, even though I know it will help. So, I think it’s brilliant that you phrased it in such a way (it really resonates with me) that the exercise/stretching is as important to your future life as school.

        This idea will be on my mind the next time I wanna bail on going to the gym/stretching. Maybe that will be enough to avoid beating myself up for “failing” every so once in a while. Or maybe I’ll think of it more in terms of attendance. Regardless, the basis is, again, brilliant & my personal issues on negative thinking doesn’t detract from it.

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