Picture this: Your goal is to write for at least an hour a day. Watch 2 movies a week, read 2 books a month, exercise and meditate every day, eat healthy and organic. Then you go out one measly lil night for drinks and the next day you’re not feeling 100%. You miss your workout and avoid the brainstorming session on your calendar. Hey wait, don’t you have a deadline? Probably should have worked on that piece last night instead of chugging martinis with your coworkers like a lunatic. Omg and it’s snowing now?! That technically doesn’t even affect any of the things on your to-do list for the day, but just seeing it makes you tired. Paralyzed, actually. Your stack of unread books is staring at you from the center of the coffee table, but Twitter, at this moment, is the greatest thing you’ve ever read. Your cat is cuddling you. Omg now the other one is coming to cuddle. Wow this is amazing you’re literally a cat sandwich right now. They love you so much. You scroll through memes for 3.5 hours while laying in your cat sandwich. Maybe you’ll make a few. Seems like a pretty good use of time even though you have actual work to do. You get hungry, and your fridge is full, but the idea of eating a salad rn honestly makes you want to want to throw up and die. You order Seamless from No. 1 Chinese Kitchen for the third time this week. You get a low balance alert email from Bank of America and decide, as well as say out loud, that they can suck your nuts. When the dumplings arrive, you eat them while watching a tv show you’ve seen about 6,000 times while barely even paying attention bc you’re reading stuff on your phone. You finish your food. The show ends. Now that you are satiated you’re able to see the world around you for what it is: a mess. You decide to avoid it all and go back to bed where you belong. You accidentally sleep until the next day.
I am ambitious, and I love myself. I know these things to be true. That said, I have a bad habit of overloading my plate with too many expectations. And with too many balls in the air (lol) I inevitably drop one from time to time. Instead of charging forward and catching up, though, I overreact so much about the mistake I’ve made or the delay in my schedule or how behind I am on my goal, that I start to make excuses and hide from my own ambition.
This is not to say that I never accomplish anything. 2016 was one of my most productive and rewarding years ever. But — and this has been true for as long as I can remember — my productivity style is usually to obsess and cram, after lots of procrastination up top, leading me to compromise on other things like social life, keeping my budget on track, eating right and taking care of my body. I end up accomplishing some of my goals but not others. And the others are usually really important things that, you know, keep me healthy and alive.
So I guess the big question is, how can I learn to honor the small milestones in order to serve the big picture?
Plenty of us do this with exercising and eating right. The “I’ll start tomorrow” and “cheat-days-turned-cheat-life” phenomenons, while clichés, are all too common. I’m going through this right now. But I’ve succeed before! I was a vegetarian for four years and have had whole seasons where I worked out five times a week. And then it fades. And then it starts back up again.
I don’t want to give up on myself this year, in any regard. If I don’t make my goals, I at least want to consistently try.
So I guess another question is, how do we stay motivated when we fall behind?
Maybe the key is to not overload ourselves in the first place. To put a high premium on that self-care time and alone time, and to above all get enough sleep. Maybe we all should work on being less judgmental of ourselves. Maybe if we did that, our goals themselves might even change.
Look, I don’t have the answers. As I write this I’m in my bed with all the lights off at 8pm on a Sunday after taking a two-hour nap. I need to swiffer the floors, make some dinner, take a bath, write a sketch and make an outline for a meeting before I go to sleep for the night. Could I have done all this yesterday? You bet your beautiful ass I coulda.
I’m writing all this to remind myself, and you (but mostly myself bc I am working on ME. Jk you matter, too) that we’re in this together. Things may be fucked right now but I still think we can make a difference. First in our own lives, and then…THE WORLD. No seriously just watch I’m gonna change the world. Not alone or anything but I mean that is the plan. Eventually. Starting now. Wait…..*takes huge bite of weird knock-off-lil Debbie cream filled chocolate thing*…..starting now.
We got this, 2017. Congratulations in advance.