How’s your mojo? Is it behaving? What strategies do you have to keep it in check?
Why am I talking about my mojo* as if it’s a thing removed from me? Because this is my coping strategy. It’s a new approach I adopted a few months ago… and for now it’s working.
It came to me as I was dragging my sorry-self up and down the pool. Swimming length after the length in the hope of getting stronger and quicker – the whole time kicking myself for having taken time off to wallow in wanting to be active, but being unable to get any further than the car park at the leisure centre. Yup. I’ve driven there (more than once) and as I’m parking, what do you know, my mojo’s gone woosh out the window. And so, I’ve turned around and gone home again.
One morning, as I was getting into the rhythm of the swim and allowing my mind to wander, I started thinking about why I’m so all-or-nothing with the things I tell myself I really want to do.
I’m a visual learner and my best ideas often come to me as pictures in my head. And there it was. As I was about to turn at the end of my friend, the solid black line at the bottom of the pool, I could see my mojo. It was sat proudly next to my water bottle, ahead of me on the wall.
Weird maybe, but stick with me…
My mojo is external to me. It’s a big, red, shiny balloon. It’s fragile and if I don’t grip it tightly, it’s gone (out of the car window in the example above!) Or, it just loses air very slowly. At first I don’t notice the balloon is dropping, but before I know it, it’s there on the floor, with the string tangled around my ankles, tripping me up and making me angry. Really angry.
I said it may sound strange, but over the last few months I’ve come to realise that this view is enabling me to manage it – Mojo management is where it’s at and for now, I’m all over it!
So how am I showing it who’s boss?
I’m becoming aware of the things that pose risks to my delicate balloon (mojo). They’re usually the things that give me an avenue to find a way out of doing something – REASONS. Although, many may say they are the product of bad planning and some may even go as far as to hit me with the e-word – EXCUSES (Reader: Insert your fave emoji here, that to you conveys utmost horror!). And get this, as well as identifying them, I’m putting mitigations in place… for me, this is revolutionary!
These are the mitigations I’ve put in place to manage the risks facing my shiny red balloon, as I continue to hurl myself into the madness that is my #Before40 list (predominantly activity/death-defying feats!). If you identify with this whole mojo situation, I hope these very practical things can help you keep your balloon afloat.
- If you know it’s going to be dull, automate stuff so you can TRY to enjoy.
Counting pool lengths is soul-destroying for me. Because I’m rubbish at it. I have no tolerance for monotony. So if I go for a quick swim with the aim of hitting sixty lengths and I lose count at around twenty four, that’s it, I’m done. And, rather than thinking it doesn’t matter, just keep going until your time is up, I quit. So, because I’m taking this death-defying stuff (moderate exercise!) seriously now, I’ve invested in a watch to count the lengths, meaning I can switch off and just do my swim-thing and enjoy the process. It’s been a game-changer.
- Adapt your wardrobe – Who says you have to be conventional?
At the risk of being accused of sexism, I’m guessing this is one for the ladies. Men, turn away now. Feeling the need to de-forest my winter legs just to go swimming is, ewsh. I know I don’t have to do it. Hairiness is all the rage in some places. But, I’m just not comfortable with it. I can’t wear my wetsuit into the pool, so my work-around is a pair of Primarni leggings UNDER my trunks. I may look like a tool, but I’m ok with that. Winning at life, yeah?
- Acknowledge the unavoidable things that might make you wobble – and plan for them.
Not rocket science, I know, but it’s taken me ages to work this one out. I’m fortunate to have a job that enables me to go off to meetings around the country, predominantly by train and usually for overnight stays (because home is so far from anywhere!). While I enjoy it, it makes for long days and stiff legs after being seated for long periods of time . It’s only as I look back over the last year or so, I’ve spotted these trips as being a trigger to start the slow air release from my mojo. I build these trips into my training schedule now, therefore they’re accounted for and are not de-railers.
- Get some routine – While my MBTI type is ordinarily drained by routine, I NEED some.
Until the squatters join the army at 12, they need someone to tell them where the doofer is and help them decide between waffles or chips. With Stu working shifts, there has been no routine around here, and not having routine has been my reason (excuse, blah, blah, blah!) for not being able to commit to things. With family support, there are work arounds and now, at 5pm on a Tuesday I go to bike class and it’s brilliant, because the routine has enabled me to form a positive habit – ONE positive habit has made all the difference to how I feel about my chances of completing my #Before40 challenges.
- Get excited about that (positive) scary something, as opposed to worrying about it.
An ounce of Emma-logic coming up… “Worrying signifies I care and, if I fail, well I already knew I was going to fail and that’s why I was worried”. It’s tosh! I’ve allowed myself to look forward to a couple of challenges lately and it makes for a much nicer experience all round. Doubt + Panic = Pressure to quit (it’s the ‘please let me break an arm’ mentality I’ve discussed on this blog previously).
- Tell people what you plan to do.
Maybe I overshare – that’s for you to decide. My motivation in writing all this stuff down is because the process of doing it helps me make sense of it all. I also hope that maybe others can relate to what I share – because not everything’s as rosy as it may look on Insta or FB and I think it’s important to acknowledge that. But ALSO, and completely selfishly, if I tell you, then I have to do it… because to not do it sees me lose face. I’m stubborn and while I say I’m not competitive, I hate to lose against myself. Weird, maybe, but I hope you get my jist.
So that’s that. My mojo epiphany and the mitigations I’ve been putting in place to help manage the risk of the balloon deflating or disappearing out of the window! So far it’s going well.
*Mojo – Oomph; Get-up-and-go; motivation… Not a cuban sandwich, which is what Google suggested it may mean!