It was fourteen days ago that I decided to take control of the brain fog I was struggling with for the last couple of months. It all started the day I woke up with a sore throat and chills through out the day. My mind just didn’t seem to be able to think clearly.
A few days later both my fiance and I came down with the longest flu we’ve ever had. We felt exhausted for ten days and had very mild symptoms of feeling feverish, brain fog and chest tightness. We had just started to see cases of COVID-19 here in Vancouver and when I read about the symptoms online I was fairly certain we had the virus, so we went into quarantine. There were days that I thought I felt better only to feel much worse the next morning. The unpredictability began to create increased anxiety for me as I didn’t know how much worse it would get. My partner ended up getting tested and her results were negative but they told us the results may not be reliable if our symptoms are mild. We continued to monitor ourselves at home.
About ten days later even though we both felt much better, my brain fog was still there. I searched online and found that one of the symptoms of anxiety is brain fog. That’s when I decided to take action. I set the goal to write 20 articles in 20 days to challenge myself to formulate logical thoughts and analysis. I wrote my first article on April 13th and this is my last one. I am proud of having stuck with it all the way to the end. I almost didn’t write this last article, thinking I came far enough and maybe I can cut myself some slack. But then another part of me refused to give up and convinced me to sit down at my desk and write the last article.
Often challenging goals that stretch you and make you step outside of your comfort zone create an inner struggle between wanting to give up and then staying the course. The first ten articles pushed me to my limits as my clouded mind struggled to think of things to write about or ideas to share. But my body did the work of getting up every morning and sitting behind the desk until I had written 500-700 words.
Once I got into a routine, the words started to come easier and faster and I was enjoying the process more. My brain fog lifted. At this point I had 16 articles and I was so close to reaching the goal. Even though I was tempted to stop, I decided to keep pushing.
Reaching goals, reaching success isn’t easy. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of willpower, and self-control. In her book Grit, Angela Duckworth interviewed Rowdy Gaines who is an American former competitive swimmer, U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame member, three-time Olympic gold medalist, and member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame. Dr. Duckworth asked Gaines if he loved practicing. He said, “I’m not going to lie, I never really enjoyed going to practice, and I certainly didn’t enjoy it while I was there. In fact, there were brief moments walking to the pool at four or four-thirty in the morning, or sometimes when I couldn’t take the pain, when I’d think, ‘God, is this worth it?’”
Call me a masochist but with all the discomfort and suffering that these focused practices create, they are addictive. When you see progress and improvement and when you achieve the little milestones you get a boost of motivation, encouragement, and drive that pushes you forward. When you look back you can see how far you’ve come and how much your efforts have played a part in placing you where you are now.
Now that I have fully achieved my first goal, I am taking a couple of days off before creating a new goal, perhaps a more challenging one to keep my mind sharp and focused during these uncertain times. What have you been working on lately?