Workin' hard or hardly workin'?
Sometimes, usually when we are making a change or trying to build a new habit; we start the habit....maybe stop and start again...or maybe we just keep saying we are going to do it and just never do. What does this build? Self-doubt, unworthiness and negative self image (to list a few).
What about when you lessen the load? Some people may feel like accomplishing five minutes of the habit is better than nothing and others may feel like you just wasted five minutes.
My theory is that when we are weighing out if we are just being too hard on ourselves or if we truly need to work harder....we need to consider one thing. Have you successfully done this before? Are you working off of the momentum you built at three in the morning when you just so happened to have woken up in the middle of the night with a jolt of happiness and eagerness to kill it today? Are you working off of Sunday’s most productive version of yourself who wrote out a possibly ridiculous list of things you knew were going to achieve because you just didn’t have to take any action in that moment? If there is NO VERSION of you that has successfully done this (along with all of the other responsibilities you are required to do at this point in your life), then likely, yes....you are creating the viscous cycle of being too hard on yourself at the wrong time and possibly, being too easy on yourself at the wrong time.
Solution: In order to create long lasting change, we need to change the way we view ourselves, and this is done by changing the cycle mentioned above. By learning to positively create self-confidence, worthiness and positive self image. Remember, the version of yourself that can do everything on your Sunday to-do list is not yet in your present reality. They are being created, by you.
For shits and giggles, let’s say you want to write a blog post about whether or not you are being too hard on yourself or truly do need that extra push (but of course this applies to anything - studying, exercising, counseling, learning a new language - you know, all of the shit we say we will do come New Years because it’s sounds good to the current, seemingly lacking, versions of ourselves). You keep it in your mind for months because it is all you think about, it really is calling to you but you don’t take action. (Cue the negative self-talk and feelings of incapability). Then, you start speaking it aloud and saying what you want to say in the post to create a better vision (cue the endorphins and positivity - CUE THE MOMENTUM). It has now been a week since you had these thoughts and you did not write any of this shit down! As a matter of fact, you forgot all about it until your feelings of unhappiness resurfaced and your mind needed at least one more thing to add to the list as of why you are not worthy of change. (Cue the lack of self-confidence). You are so hard on yourself at the moment, you think of all of the reasons you lack self-discipline and why you need to push yourself in the first place and then you simply end up where you began, or worse off than you began, at least if you wrote some of this shit down you would at least have notes!
Fine, you make the notes. You don’t feel any better but you did something. Next week you add a little bit to it. The following week you actually add it to your weekly schedule in small OVERLY REALISTIC (maybe too small of chunks) and you actually work on it, even for fifteen minutes. (Cue a little bit of self-confidence but not much because of course, you refuse to give yourself any real credit, you don’t really trust yourself to keep following through). At the end of month, bit by bit, you add to it and you add to the time you work on it (cue the self-discipline). All of a sudden life happens, something prevents you from writing on your SCHEDULED day and maybe even the day after that. Well.....at this point, you have realized, there is not room for concern, you are able to hop right back on the train and keep doing this. You are confident in your ability to recover and you do not feel the need to do EXTRA to make up for the “missed time,” you just hop back on it and you remind yourself again how much you CAN trust yourself to just do what you say you’re going to do.
You may be asking, because you can’t wait for the opportunity to be slap yourself around a bit, then when DO I NEED TO PUSH HARDER? Well, my friend, when you know what you are capable of, on your best day, in the best circumstances and in the worst circumstances. When you are absolutely confident in your ability to do this thing because today’s version of yourself has done this many times (even if you had to work hard at it, not necessarily just on auto-pilot)....that is when you should feel like you are slacking and like you need to pull your shit together and you can successfully remind yourself to give your all. But, that is not possible until you actually know what YOUR all is.