Coming back to anything after time off or a long break is always hard, but it’s finding the motivation to push yourself through the initial stages. I find this especially hard after a long Summer! Since I was away a lot over Summer I found I didn’t have time to go running or practice cello regularly. I mean I guess I could have gone running in China, but in forty degree heat running was definitely not an option for me!
I know Summer seems long gone but it is only now that I’m back at uni that I’m starting to get into a regular routine again. The first time back running or playing cello is always hard and almost painful having been so put of practice, I think this is why I kept putting off starting again because I’d been away from it so long.
First runs are never fun to start out with, I find myself getting out of breath early on and sometimes end up walking. This all contributes to me knowing I am unlikely to get a very good time and makes want to give up. However, after the second or third run my fitness begins to pick up again and my stamina improves meaning I can run for longer and enjoy it more.
This is the same with playing cello, the first practice makes me feel as if I have gotten worse, my fingers don’t seem to play right and everything seems just that little bit harder to do. But after pushing through and persevering I find that I can get back to the standard that I used to be and continue improving. Playing becomes more enjoyable and this itself makes me want to practice more.
The key to this is perseverance; thinking about the long term achievements and not the short term feelings of perhaps not being very good. Here is a list of things I try and think to motivate me to begin again and push through the initial stages:
- Don’t expect too much too soon. I’m not saying don’t set goals and aim high, but for the first time back after a break, setting expectations too high will only be demoralising. For example, if you’re running, don’t set a time to beat, just run. Know that it’s okay if you aren’t performing to your very best right now, but know that this is the first step to getting back to that standard and improving.
- The first step is always the hardest. From this point on it can only get easier! Check out the blog post I wrote here about reaching goals.
- Don’t feel bad if at first it doesn’t go as you’d hoped. Whether it’s coming back after an injury or just an extended period of time off don’t feel discouraged, bringing me onto my next point…
- Know it will get better. Once you’re back to where you used to be you can continue to get better and you will find you enjoy it.
- The sooner the start the sooner you will get better. After getting back into doing whatever I’d had a break from I always regret not starting sooner and reaching this stage earlier. It’s never too late to start again so why not now?!
Thinking about this had made me think about taking up dancing again. I danced my whole life all through school and only stopped just before my A level exams. I tried to get back into it in my first year of Uni but found I had lost a lot of flexibility and fitness. I felt really bad about it and didn’t enjoy it as I used to and in addition to timetabling I soon stopped and haven’t danced properly since. I know that getting back into it properly will be hard but it’s something I definitely want to try and I know that things can only get better! I would love to know your thoughts!
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
– Martin Luther King Jr.