You don’t have to be perfect every day. It’s coming back to your work that matters.
When we commit to a goal, we want to go all in. We swear that we’ll run every night after dinner.
We buy a new planner and decide to put in two hours of writing before breakfast.
And why wouldn’t we make these plans as optimistic humans?
Because we want to do things right we turn into perfectionists.
(perfectionism = dangerous af)
All in the name of The Mighty Goal, of course.
The problem is that LIFE HAPPENS.
No control on your part there.
Your plan works for three days or even three months, but then you get busy.
A parent gets sick. You commit to mentoring a 17-year old painter.
Stuff happens. Plans are forgotten.
When we fail at following through on our perfect, this-shows-I’m-really-committed rules we blame ourselves. The consequences are serious — at least to our self-esteem.
“What’s wrong with me that I can’t get this done?”
Take your pick. We must be failing because we’re…
- Lacking willpower
- Not committed
It’s perfectly human to fall off the wagon. I’m sure even Obama slacks off on things from time to time.
The problem is that when we “fail”, we look for internal reasons why we can’t make things happen. Most of the time, things are not that deep or dramatic — it’s just life happening regardless of our good intentions.
And that’s actually okay. It’s to be expected.
How to overcome procrastination
What matters is a) that we set kinder, more realistic goals for ourselves (Baby steps rule!) and b) come back to our work faster after we’ve procrastinated or wandered off the path.
The key to being where you want to be in a year lies in your ability to come back to your goals.
Not to be productive every day.
Believe me and you’ll find it easier to overcome procrastination. You’re taking away the paralysis that follows it.
It’s the coming back to your goals that matters most. Not your ability to be productive every day.
Also, a heads up: There’s hardly anything I manage to do every single day. And yet I get things done.
When I get derailed the next day (or the next, or the Monday after) I come back to my work and I pick up where I left off. And in doing so I’ve been able to make more progress in the last five months than in the last year.
This is what progress looks like.
Slow, messy, somewhat consistent.
Why am I suddenly more productive?
I stopped searching for character flaws and gave myself more second chances.
How would your life be better if you started to come back to your goals?