Go With the FLOW

Well, the Christmas activities have come and gone, and New Year's is right around the bend. It's at this time that a good bit of us make our well intentioned resolutions in an effort to better ourselves. As with all things worthwhile, challenges arise, and obstacles emerge. We want to be debt-free. We want to be in better shape. We want to travel more.

Whatever aspirations we may have may well be met with opposition. If they're worthwhile aspirations, this is almost always the case. Those opposing forces at work (time versus money, activity versus accomplishment, etc.) can either become a person's excuse for not doing something or the reason they're doing it. I suppose the real question is: Where do we find our motivation?

Earlier today, I became acquainted with the concept of flow training. The diagram below might be of interest:

To explore this on a deeper level of analysis, let's use exercise as an example:

If you want to engage in a physical activity, but that activity is too taxing, you will find yourself in the doubting, anxious part of the equation.  If the activity isn't challenging enough, you'll get bored. In between the two extremes is the flow, that steady channel of happiness where you are at your productive best. Let's say that the maximum amount of push-ups you can do is 10. If you were actually to do just 5 anytime you have your workout, you could do it without torturing your body, you could ramp up your energy levels, you can stave off soreness, and you can do the activity more frequently. Consequently, there will come point doing 5 push-ups is no longer challenging enough. So, you get the best of both worlds, consistently challenging activity with upward momentum, and the desire to come back day after day in pursuit of the goal in a pleasurable manner.

Maybe you're a musician. Is there a level of practice that's on the upper end of your comfort spectrum where you can get something out of it without the anxiety attached to getting instant gratification in the pursuit of an unrealistic goal? You may be surprised exactly how much you can grow over time, especially if you show up everyday and actually ENJOY doing it.

Whatever your goals, resolutions, and aspirations may be, I hope you find pleasure and inspiration in the process.

Happy New Year! Now go with the FLOW!