Michelle Johnson is an Team BeautyFit® Athlete, IFBB Bikini Pro, ISSA Specialist in Performance Nutrition, and Fitness Trainer who is recognized as a national level fitness authority, figure model, speaker and writer.
Her innovative workout programs have been implemented into some of the nation's leading health and fitness organizations. Her articles have been published by many leading industry magazines. She is an industry speaker on topics including weight management, wellness and group fitness.
All of her online services are available worldwide and some are managed in person.
The Flip Side of Plateaus
Real living for most is all about making advances in life and achieving various levels of success. What do you do when your strategies are no longer working and the flame you once had for something is fading. Maybe things have been going very well for you and suddenly everything comes to a halt and there is no more change or movement. You are becoming frustrated and bored.You know innately the key is in your hands. It just means work and getting out of your comfort zone. That seems more grueling to you than blaming someone else or the situation. You would rather stay as you are, where you are then to have to move and do something different. Change can feel a lot like getting a molar pulled. Your eyes can't see solutions, what they see is a blank screen.
We all have experienced times in our life when our passion for something burns out, our bodies hit a plateau or our financial success in life come to a standstill? These moments may catapult some into a dark night of the soul pondering all the whys and a lot of self reflection? What you thought you wanted and what you believe you valued has changed? How can this be? Our lives are setting us up. The old ways have to die. We have to shed our skin to uncover what the next layer is. This may require us to adjust and discover new ways of operating. Some may prefer to keep grinding in the same way to prevent the halt. It's their mission to do everything in their power to prevent things from changing.
Maybe you have not experienced this in your life, well don't get too comfy because at some point you will. It's a natural part of life, especially later in life, when most do grow and evolved away from many of the things they found fulfilling when they were younger. There are natural transitions that take place that take the shape of a ball busting plateau. We have them more often then we realize, but it's the big ones that really get to us. The ones that require self reflecting. It can be heartbreaking when some things you really thought were right for you no longer bring up the same feeling of joy. Joy becomes bird watching or bingo later in life. Visiting with people and sharing stories becomes the norm versus competing with the rest of the world. We get to a point where we have no choice, but to sit down.
I'm not trying to sound like Debbie Downer here because there is a moral to this story. All the goals you have may not come to fruition. So what is the "secret sauce" to dealing with these bubble busting moments in our life that bring your goals to a standstill? When it seems like it is happening to several areas in your life, now that is what I call a rude awakening. There are no coincidences. The "secret sauce" is being okay with it all. Just say, "aha!" here it is. Ask, "now what?" We want that question to be spontaneously answered and that's where the frustration lies. You often have to be patient with the answer. The answers are not clouds in the sky you can just pluck the right one from. The answer require you to be resourceful, patient and calm. You may not find that fair. Even if told you in that moment that you will have some great opportunities as result of this very situation, you would choose not to believe me. It takes a person who has experienced this to really see where opportunities do lie in the frustrating obstacles that we encounter in our lives.
See if you can relate to any of these moments in your life. The relationship you once had is no longer be working. You may still be married and you know it, but you are just ignoring it. What are you waiting for? Will it really change and get better if you keep avoiding confronting or not communicating about it? How can you live where there is no fire and it's just cold? Is this good for you or your partner? Maybe your reasoning is sound to you because it's about the children. What child could be happy where there is no warmth. Children know. Maybe, the dream job you once loved may now lack a challenge, you did not get the promotion you deserved or your boss is disrespectful to you. If you had a choice, Is this a place you would choose to dwell to make your living if it makes you feel this way ever day? Well, maybe not everyday. You have bought into the money being worth the hell. How can you feel passion if you are not being challenged or enjoying what you do EVERY DAY? Moments like this are no different than hitting a weight loss plateau. Things go well at first, then suddenly you see no change. You keep checking hoping you just need more time and it will. The scale still doesn't budge. You begin to worry. You keep convincing yourself if you are patient it will change. You realize there really is a problem and it's not changing. In your mind, you were calm to start and now your brain is screaming, "NOT CHANGING!!!!!" You go into a panic. You start blaming, shaming, trying harder, checking in again and bam! Still no change, stuck at the same place. Red flags are everywhere, you have no idea what to do to change it. You seek advice, you obsess, you talk about it. You fire your weight loss coach knowing you kept skipping your meals and cheating here and there. You know it, but you avoid being accountable. You feel like a yo-yo, you are high with confidence one minute and the next you feel flatlined because the scale is not lying for you anymore.
Why can't we just hit a wall and just figure out what to do about it? Because we are insatiable creatures with big egos that can't be wrong or fail at anything. This is to the point we are failing at one big thing, a life really worth living and staying calm during the storms. We don't breath, come up for air, collect our thoughts and think enough outside of our comfort zone. What the opportunity is in these moments in our life is the fire it ignites. That fire is what creates movement. It gives us an opportunity to try something new and move in a new direction. Rather than just quit and sit longer in the discomfort. You do need a threshold for some discomfort in your life. You also need discernment as to when you need to make a small shift or big change. What a great way to keep from being bored or getting too comfortable and attached to something that has a short life line. Now that doesn't sound so awful does it? However, letting go of things we were once attached to for many is a huge struggle, somehow it leads to our biggest problem, our ego trips! We cling on for dear life to the dialogue of fear. What will people think if I fail? What will happen if I fail?! So what if you do make a mistake? Did you ever think about the so what? The good news is we can always go in a new direction. We don't have to blame anyone, we just keep moving and shifting until the chaos is clear.
Our fulfillment in life has a lot to do with the progress we make. We measure our success by how well we move and not only maintain a momentum, but by the sense of balance we experience in our lives. Everything is flowing in the right direction. We have to keep the wheels churning in some areas, while keeping calm and peace in others. We need an anchor. There is a great book called, "Wherever You Go There You Are". It teaches you the art of mindfulness and that much of what you create begins and ends with you. Your mind, your heart, your attachments and just by becoming in tune with these core things you will move in the right direction. It begins with your own breath. Some will take productive action to create a life worth living. Some will be banging their heads against the same wall relentlessly. The truth is you can think you are crafty with your strategies, but every strategy will cease working at some point. You will not always have the control you desire over your outcomes. What we all have in common is our desire to seek a level of normalcy. The body is the same way, it seeks it's version of normalcy called "homeostasis". Our nature will let us know when something is not out of balance.
The problem with our species is that we put ourselves into a lot of abnormal situations. We subject ourselves to all these stresses. We force ourselves into situations we not be able to adapt to. if it were that easy, we would all be fabulous people without any difficulties. We would be everywhere! How boring would that be? We can only achieve dramatic progress and transformations in our lives by having a balance. We need to take action and work towards it and then relax and let it marinade. We have to be in balance in some areas of our life so that we can "root to rise" and reach our potentials. I say "potentials" because what may be your potential at this moment, may change once you get there. Reaching your potential should not have a ceiling, but a sky. Think less practical and more like Alice In Wonderland. Just like muscles, we need some confusion to propel our lives to the next level. Being in a comfort zone may feel nice, but not when it isn't working anymore. The discovery of new things and situations should be less painless than sitting on coals that are cold and no longer full of fire.
When you find you are at a plateau in any area of your life then it's time to create new movement. Invoke the spirit of your inner pioneer and be ready to learn and discover some new things. The movement may not be easy, it may be uncomfortable, but this may be the secret sauce you needed to get yourself onward and upward to the next phase of your life. You can always count on one thing a new adventure because change will always be on its way. Call it a plateau or a wall, if you want to drop into the next hole in your life and come out more successful follow my five plateau busting strategies. You will be sure to come out with some laughter and enjoyment:
- Change your routine. Whatever you are doing, you must recognize the writing on the wall or read the book, WHO MOVED THE CHEESE. It's short and sweet or go back and read Alice in Wonderland. Take a step into the looking glass and see the flip side.
- Change the frequency. Stop thinking about it, obsessing over it and spending so much time and energy trying to fix it. Let go of any stinking thinking. Accept that it is a frustration of yours and put your thoughts, time and energy into other things. Ideally, new things. Don't be afraid to experiment. There must a mad scientist who lives in you and likes to discover what will and won't work? It will work itself out eventually.
- Avoid doing nothing. Don't be that girl or guy who spends years in an unfulfilling relationship that leaves you empty. Don't keep people pleasing when you are cringing on the inside and you don't even like the people you are pleasing. Know yourself. You know the truth. Accept it. Do something about it. End it and believe in yourself more. Do what pleases you. When you please yourself you shift relationships and what a plateau buster that is. This is not being selfish, this doesn't mean be ego-centric, it means be honest about your relationships with others and start speaking the truth or surrounding yourself with more truthful situations. Doing nothing is dangerous and can mean you wind up wasting years, hours and minutes of your life in dead end empty situations.
- Change your energy mode. Do all you can to get healthy, empowered and feeling strong so that you can bust through your plateaus in your life. The goal is to do it with the some grace and ease. Invoke a self assessment as to where you are imbalanced in your life and where you want to breed more personal happiness. Same your energy for nothing less. Never settle because you feel you have to accept something that does not resonate with your soul. We are drained when we are not in our truth and we are stagnate. The energy becomes stale and lifeless. Stuck energy is a sign of a plateau and loss of passion.
- Learn how to sweat. It's the times in our life that we have the most doubt, fear and uncertainty that we have the potential for the most growth. We have to learn to deal with the heat and take it like a champ. We have to believe in what we want and value it enough to take risks to communicate, walk away, rise to a new level, try a new sport or end the cycle. You can always say, "ENOUGH" and release all that is no longer serving you. If it's a diet, we need to realize maybe this is not the path and really look closely at the truth of what we may not be doing to expedite our progress. Diets are not just food related.
The path is always truth. Knowing yourself and being true to yourself. Just to lose a pound or to gain a muscle you should not have to resort to desperate measures that put your health at risk. You should not have to have an affair to let go of a partner who is no longer the one for you. You should not have to quit every time you fail. You have to figure out whether it's resilience you need or you need to stop tolerating your comfort zones. You and only you know the real you.
No one said it would be easy. Overcoming a plateau requires a concentrated and sustained effort. You will need mental muscle. Most solutions are going to fall outside your comfort zone and it takes a person who has the discipline and determination to make some shifts and changes. We all want things to be comfortable and to turn out the way we desire. If you do your part, you will be rewarded. Big changes, little changes, leaps or bounds all lead to something more. You have to trust that voice in your head and stop resisting it. Let it guide and lead you to the answers. If you stop trying to control everything and just shift a few things you may regain your moment and rediscover your passions. Your heart knows what it will and won't bleed for. Your breakthrough is not going to happen by aiming your desires at things that don't have real meaning to you. You will want to get into the trenches when you feel the passion for it. There will be no stopping you. It's time to mastermind your movements and align them with your hearts desires. That's when the magic happens and you achieve new heights. You have to believe in it just like you did with the first goals in your life. You have to have the innocence of a child seeing your visions in a way that there are no obstacles that you can't conquer. Rediscovering these moments with new eyes and a beginners mind will pave the path. Even if you don't know where the hell you are going, know that the great wall you hit may play on your strengths and attack your weakness. How you handle these very moments in your life will determine your success if you grown from the light that shines on what you are made of. The obstacles are the oracles in your life. The opportunities are apparent when you view them as your greatest teachers!