Last weekend I was hiking with my dog, Max. Now, Max is a small dog and he weighs only around 11 pounds. Because he’s so small, I didn’t think he’d like these long walks, but he loves to go out on the trails with me. This time, he couldn’t decide how fast he was going to walk. For part of the hike he was super excited and just rushed ahead of me pulling on his leash constantly. Then, he would get tired from going too fast and be lagging behind where I was almost helping him along. We cycled through the too fast and too tired periods multiple times that day.
While walking with Max in the woods on Saturday, I started to think about how he was approaching this hike. It occurred to me that Max couldn’t find a comfortable speed that he could maintain without wearing himself out for a bit. Then, it occurred to me that I do that sometimes as well. I push myself too hard and then I’m burned out and need to rest in order to recover and move forward again. When I’m in this cycle, it’s my Stop & Go Life.
This stop & go cycle doesn’t really serve me as well as slow and steady does. It might work for some people, but I know that I usually can’t sustain a too hectic pace for very long before I need that break.
Finding that middle path between too much and too little can be difficult at times. There’s a part of me that thinks I can do everything all at once. That’s the part of me that leads me down the path of a too hectic life. That’s the ‘Go’ part of me. The ‘Stop’ part of me says it’s not healthy to be so crazy busy and now you’ll just need to rest for a bit. You might be able to tell that I’ve had this discussion with myself many times.
Instead of being in that Stop & Go cycle, what happens when I take that middle path? It’s a bit magical at times. I’m productive and I have greater insight into what I need to do. I also enjoy myself and those around me more.
So, what stops me from taking that middle path more often? Really, it’s just me. At some point I’ll start feeling like I’m not doing enough. This leads me to trying to fit more into my day, starts the next round of the cycle and I’m off doing too much again.
Do you ever have this feeling of not doing enough during your day? I know it’s fairly common in today’s society. How do you negate this message that we tell ourselves?
For me, when I catch myself in that hectic mindset, it’s time to stop before I absolutely have to stop. I’m getting better at this over time. When I give myself that chance to just stop and balance myself a bit with some rest, I usually return to a calmer equilibrium and can get done what I need to get done.
I may not be on that middle path all of the time, but I’m at least getting better at seeing when I’ve strayed from that path. I think that’s the first step. I have to be aware of my actions before I can change my actions.
I doubt that I’ll be able to teach Max to hike at a slow and steady pace any time soon. It doesn’t seem to be his way. Who knows, maybe he actually thrives on this method of going through life? Next time I take him for a hike, maybe I’ll try to get him to pace himself and see what happens. It works for me and it might just work for him as well.
This whole thought process around Max and my stop and go life was inspired by the Life Mentoring Sessions that I’ve recently begun offering. During these sessions, I help you see your own life patterns and discover what meaningful change could look like for you. If you’re ready for meaningful life change, then schedule a session with me. You’ll be glad you did! You might even see your own stop & go patterns in your own life.