I’ve always wanted to be the sort of person that buckles down, focuses completely, and gets lot of work done in a short amount of time. And while that does happen on occasion, I’m often distracted and off-track.
This semester has been particularly intense. I’ve enjoyed the work (for the most part). But sometimes my life gets a little out of balance, and I don’t always deal with stress well.
For some of my life, I would get really discouraged if the beginning of my day didn’t go quite right. I would feel really guilty, and that guilt would overwhelm me and I no longer had motivation to do anything. One mistake would expand into a whole day of just feeling bad and not doing much.
I don’t do that anymore. I realized that feeling guilty over certain things was not worth it. If I notice that I got distracted, I don’t need to feel guilty. I just need to refocus. If a day is going differently as planned, I don’t need to get discouraged; I just need to embrace whatever the day is.
Sometimes trying to create better habits can do more harm than good when you approach habits in the wrong way. Habits need exceptions. If you try to do something every day that you’ve never done before, you’re going to miss days. And then you might give up. But instead, it’s better to keep trying and release the guilt that you’ll never always be on track. Your habits need to work for you; you don’t need to be a slave to your habits.
I try to recognize the good that I am doing instead of just thinking of everything that isn’t getting done. I want to improve very much, but my main motivation for improvement does not need to be a sense of shame that I’m failing.
Life is unexpected. I need to flexibly adapt to it. And that means that some days, I don’t have a ton of motivation. Some days I end up in my pajamas longer than I expect. Some days the to-do list doesn’t get done. Some days are hard.
I have papers to read; papers to write; friends to check in with; meals to make. I need to take care of myself, take care of my family, and take care of my schoolwork. But sometimes I’m going to get distracted–and sometimes I need those distractions.
And then I brush myself off, and start working again.