“Last year, foolish monk. This year, no change.” -Ryokan Taigu (Zen Buddhist monk)
“You know when you’re walking in the woods on a dark night…and you see a light shining far off in the distance…and you think to yourself: even though I’m tired and it’s dark and the branches are scratching my face…everything is gonna be okay…because I have that light? And I’ll get there eventually? Well, I work–you know this–I work harder than anyone else in this county. I mean, I’m beaten down, Sonya, I suffer unbearably…but I have no light in the distance. I can’t see anything up ahead. I no longer expect anything of myself and I don’t think I’m capable of really loving people.” -Astrov to Sonya in Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekhov (translated by Annie Baker)
Anyone who’s tried to lose weight will tell you the most difficult period is when you plateau. The first few weeks on a diet and exercise program, the pounds come flying off. You feel tremendous as you get the positive feedback loop from seeing the fruits of your efforts pay off.
Then the inevitable wall hits. The plateau. You’re sticking to the program, yet you see no change. In some cases, you might even gain back weight. THIS is the hardest part. It’s so tempting to quit. You think you’re doing something wrong.
“Might as well quit and go back to my old ways cuz this sure as shit ain’t working.”
But anyone who’s been through it will say that at some point, if you stick with it through the plateau, if you can remain faithful and diligent, at some point you’ll see another breakthrough. One day you.get on the scale and you’re several pounds lighter. And the next day, more pounds come off. And the next day, again…
Whether it be weight loss, trying to make more money, writing a novel, manifesting a passion project, etc…any kind of goal, the plateau is coming. Depending on the length of time, many plateaus. Can you stick with it when there’s no light in the darkness?
Two things that might help.
Perspective. Instead of looking forward. Look back. See how far you’ve come.