Going Through the Motions

If all you do, each and every day, is go through the motions, then something’s not quite right.

But going through the motions also gets a bad rap.

Each time I start a run, or stand at the side of the pool before swimming laps, or contemplate an at-home yoga or meditation practice, the only way I’m able to start is by going through the motions.

Just start running, slowly.

Just jump into that too-cold water and go.

Just stand, or sit, and breathe a few times.

Before starting, I have lots of ideas about what my experience will be. It turns out that these ideas are terrible predictors of what ends up happening. It’s the act of going through those motions that creates my experience – at times powerful, energizing, or transformative, at times just as plodding and heavy as I feared it would be.

The consistent choice, day after day, to start even if we don’t feel like it, to willingly and deliberately go through the motions, is the embodiment of our persistence. We persist when we ignore the voice that says, “Not this time, not right now, not yet. Today I really can’t.”

It turns out that the story about how terrible it’s going to be doesn’t represent any sort of profound truth. Nor is it a story that’s going to help you to reach your goals.