Read & Watch

The Dastardly Dip

Am on Day 21 of my 30-day yoga challenge as part of the Great Canadian Yoga Stretch in support of CNIB. A funny thing happened (well, not as funny as my headstand, but I’m getting there) on Day 17. I got bored and started to feel pretty “meh” about the whole thing.

Up until then, I was excited about it: excited about the campaign, excited about the physical and psychological benefits of a daily practice and excited about the shifts that were happening.

So what happened on Day 17?

The Dastardly Dip happened.

What IS that, you ask?

Some call it the doldrums. Others, the  principal ordeal of the hero’s journey. Quite simply, it’s homeostasis, darling. Homeostasis. You know: ye olde “old habits die hard” kinda deal if you will.

Change = hard (usually). It requires an expenditure of energy (a CONSTANT expenditure of energy) and until it’s fully realized change, then backslides (or temptations therein) are gonna happen.

The good news is that like its close cousins “stuck” and “funk”, it is impermanent AND part of a process. So much so that I caution clients about it when they sign up to coach with me (coincidentally, that’s the number one reason most coaches like to get a three month commitment from help you through the Dip).

Said process goes a little something like this.

When we make the call to make a change, our minds are all pumped about it. We feel good, confident, excited. We tweet, Facebook and brag. We’re gonna DO IT. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! We OWN this gnarly wave, dude!!!

And then, things start to slow down. Mojo starts to slink away.

The subconscious is doing a “WHOA, there Nelly! You weren’t really SERIOUS about this, now were you?” and (tries to) block the change. And then your saboteurs crack open the Old Milwaukee and have a good ol’ porch party on your pride. “Who do you think YOU are?” What’s the point?” (and in my case) “You call THAT a crow pose, Lard Ass?”

Good times.

And you stop. The flow? Gone. Inertia? Vanished.

And you wait. For something. Anything. Or maybe you panic.

Now what do you do?

In my case, HOW I surf on out of the Dip depends on what the sitch is and it typically starts with connecting with the WHY of what I’m doing what I set out to do in the first place. In this, I look for which of my core values are being honoured (or not).

Case in point – The yoga challenge mini-Dip. I’m doing this challenge because:

  1. I am volunteer chair of the campaign and it would be righteously wussy of ME to bail on the challenge. Unconscionable, really. {leadership}
  2. Lots of people parted with their hard-earned cash and sponsored me. The way I see it, CNIB’s being paid $1,050 on my behalf to do this thing…I’d better deliver. {integrity}
  3. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it…the 30 days of yoga AND the headstand. {challenge}

In this case, it was pretty easy to shake myself off and get the wag back in my downward dog.

Sometimes, the Dastardly Dip is far, FAR deeper. More profound, if you will. Takes more elbow grease.

I asked the one and only Dyana Valentine, maven of gettin’ ‘er done, what her personal number 1 no-fail method of pushing through the Dip was. And she said:

The Dip is a state of mind, just like the Boost (the first few weeks of a new project, relationship or wow-I-can-keep-my-house-clean jag). So, when I get derailed from my committed state of mind, I go to the Sure Thing list. My Sure Thing list usually has about 5 items on it and hangs on a 3×5 card by the front door. These are the actions I can take when I’m in a Dip that change my state of mind. No, there is not a “just do it” item on the list. Here’s my current version:

  • shoes.water.two blocks (translation: walk out of this door now and change the scene)
  • library.funkynewmusic (translation: go to the library and pick out music you have no connection to, set timer for 15 mins, listen)
  • call _____________ (yes, this is blank because I check in at that VERY moment for a person’s name who will help me change the channel, NOT delight in the Dip or help me complain about my bull)

Now–this is a running list and it gets edited frequently–so don’t get yourself in a bunch if something on the Sure Thing list just doesn’t work for you–move on, delete, reorder the sucker. It’s there to serve YOU.

She’s good, eh?

Can’t share details of the work I’ve done with clients on this as that is THEIR story to tell. So here are the tools I’ve been know to use for MY personal Dips:

  • Phone-a-friend – like Dyana, I find someone who will help me to dig my heels in and turn this surf board around.
  • Change it up – find some new perspectives on this (and get some coaching on the issue, naturally) and plan from there.
  • Rest – I find the compassion for myself to get still, lick my wounds and heal. I get strength from this place. As the wise and wonderful Lianne has been know to quote Lao-Tzu:  “all action begins in rest”.
  • Quit – if the WHY isn’t compelling enough or isn’t clicking with my values, then it may simply not be worth my time, talents or efforts. Quitting can give me room to shine at something else. Read Seth’s book on this. Revolutionary stuff in helping you to know when the time is right.

Must go…the yoga mat beckons (and I’m back to WHEEEEEEEEEEE about it).

While I’m gone, please share YOUR number 1 no-fail method of pushing through the Dip. Would love to know…and I’ll compile results in a handy-dandy inspiration post (with full props to YOU, of course) as an idea bin to “dip” on in to.



  1. I have my “Morning Hour of Power” where I knock out all things financial, like bookkeeping, taxes, wretched crap like that. Basically, it’s my first work hour of the day.

    Some mornings, for example this morning, me and the computer just sat and gave each other the hairy eyeball for an hour.

    And it was good.

  2. I like to ignore THE DIP! If it’s not there it cannot get me down!
    DENY, DENY,DENY until you feel good again and if you don’t feel good after awhile move on because obviously whatver it is that dipped is not for you.

  3. Thanks for asking me the question, Tanya, and for giving such a beautiful treatment of the challenge we ALL go through!

    There is such bravery in knowing when to break, change course and yes, to quit. Quitters aren’t losers, we’re just learning, bobbing and weaving in service to our passions.

  4. I crank “Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys. Real loud. And dance hard and crazy enough to embarrass my kids. They’ll usually dance with me. And then we start laughing.

    Dip dumped.

  5. My favourite tactic is to take whatever has got me stuck and write about it. It uses a different part of my brain than what I generally use most, so it gives me that feeling of starting something new. Voila, dip becomes boost.

  6. Loved this post, Tanya.

    My technique these days: I “byron-katie-it-up” – have you seen her work? I came across it pretty recently but am LOVING it.

    I grab one of her worksheets (in fact, I even made myself a Google Form of one, so the whole worksheet thing wasn’t so unwieldy) and figure out the thought that’s holding me back (e.g.”I’ll never be good at yoga”), and ask myself:

    1) is it true? (no)
    2) do I absolutely know it’s true? (no)
    3) how do I react, what happens when I believe that thought? (I stop doing yoga and feel crappy about myself and don’t even want to go near a yoga studio)
    4) who would I be without that thought? (free to practice yoga and be open to its gifts, no matter how I’m practicing it)
    5) then turn it around. (“I’m great at yoga” – hm, let me find what’s true about that).

    Check it out –

    That’s my current Dip-Buster!

  7. Wonderful post, Tanya!

    This week’s dip-buster was reading my fav blogs (including yours). Yielded a bunch of timely insight and encouragement.

    I have a whole page of strategies for the dip (or the slog, as I call it), and I keep adding to it, but here are the ones I use the most:
    — PAINT. Gets me out of my head, into my body, and into creating mode.
    — Phone a friend. Specifically, someone who will help me reframe and challenge my assumptions, but in a loving and encouraging way.
    — Take a walk.

    • Thank you ALL for your no-dip tips. More to come on this topic.



  1. The Paradox of Focus - [...] it the Dastardly Dip, call it what you [...]
  2. Feeling distracted? Stop fighting fires. — Dyana Valentine - [...] We’ve all experienced it — that mojo slump midway through a project or relationship. The shiny, fresh energy has…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge