I believe that anyone doing something passionately day in and day out for years will experience hills and valleys. This is only natural. Sometimes we will stay on a plateau for a long period of time moving nowhere, just trying to get unstuck. This is the most discouraging stage for me. The stage of not moving forward and fighting that feeling of regression, simply plodding along day after day because I am to lazy to get my mind in gear. I have found personally over the years that these periods of deepest drudgery foreshadow a breakthrough of some sort. Either a physical or spiritual one. Sometimes the nature of the breakthrough seemingly has nothing to do with my Aikido training but is none the less a catalyst for getting me off that damn plateau.
I don't know about the rest of you but I have a propensity for procrastination and the attention span of a six month old puppy if I let my mind run free. My body also likes to take control when it can to partake of gluttonous feasting and debauchery. So I must always be diligent in my management of them. Given the slightest chance they will run off separately or together and I pay the price latter. Knowing myself by having to examining in detail my physical and mental health because of chronic illness (Myasthenia Gravis) I know the danger sings of complacency and where that feeling leads if left unchecked. I use meditation or contemplation to help brake me through these stagnate and unproductive times. Because of my own proclivity toward things spiritual I use prayer a lot. I can not avoid the Aikido doldrums, I only whish I could. They come to me with my full knowledge. There is not a darn thing I can do to stop them I can only recognize them and use the tools I have to get past them.