I was recently talking to a women who decide she wanted to do a half marathon. She hadn't run in the past but thought it would be a great goal to achieve and something she could spend time working toward.
She was really excited out the gate about training and about the commitment she made to hit her goal. She scheduled her training days and was following a running program to keep her on track.
About 5 weeks into her training, she hit a plateau and had a hard time getting in her scheduled runs. She quickly wondered if the decision she made to do a half was in her best interest and was coming up with reasons not to go through with it.
Training was way more challenging than expected - weather, making time, having the energy, food, and having the discipline to get in in no matter what started to add up to missed training sessions and not logging the miles per week needed to effectively and safely hit higher miles.
Her enthusiastic flame at the beginning quickly dwindled down to almost nothing. Even though she had put in a month of training, the thought of putting in another 3 months with potential plateaus and setbacks seemed intolerable.
This is a very familiar and normal process with so many things we start in life... so much so, there is a Sanskrit word for it: Arambhasura.
The literal meaning is: Hero at the beginning, or bold/energetic only at the outset; ardent but without perseverance; short-couraged.
We get amped up in thinking about the end result but not about the process. We come out the gate hot, and when we hit a plateau or it starts to feel like work, we tip toe out the back door, letting our proclaimed commitments fade away, like our enthusiasm.
This happens in fitness, in nutrition, in relationships, in big projects we want to start… choosing to passionately quit social media by stating it ON social media, only to return 3 days later.
On the opposite end of Arambhasura is Virya.
Virya is a term commonly translated as "energy", "diligence", "enthusiasm", or "effort". It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities, and it functions to cause one to accomplish virtuous actions. It is the mind intent on being ever active, devoted, unshaken, not turning back, and being indefatigable.
Virya is finishing what you start.
If you can embrace the plateau or the difficult, learn the lessons you need to learn, and put in the work that needs to be done during that time, you will level up. If you can stick it out through that process, that's where the real magic is. Don't let a plateau stall you or lead you to tip toe out the back door, pretending you didn't have a goal.
When you find yourself in this position, and you will because it's normal, remember there is a word for it - arambhasura. Now that you know this is a thing, you can mentally prepare yourself to stick it out, plateaus and all, and be a hero at the end.
Your mindset habit is VIRYA. Whether it’s with fitness or food or a big project or something that you want to start, can you find the mindset of being “ever active, unshaken, and devoted?” Practice the process and see what you can accomplish.
I want to leave you with a wonderful thought from our Snatched Project X class at Mark Fisher Fitness that kind of goes along with the Virya practice:
An alternative to believing in yourself
Of course, self-belief is more than just common advice. It's at the heart of selling, of creating, of leadership, of doing…
Telling someone, "believe in yourself," is often not of much worth, though, because it's easier said than done.
Perhaps the alternative is: "Do work you can believe in."
Not trust, verification. Not believing that one day you'll do worthwhile work. Instead, do worthwhile work, look at it, then believe that you can do it again.
Step by step, small to large, easy to difficult.
Do work you can believe in.