Today begins 2018. Hello! Yay! I hope your headache wears off soon and you get to eat nachos in bed and watch Netflix! (Might I recommend the new Dave Chappelle specials? Controversial, yes, but those headlines aren’t doing it justice. Perhaps we may all dig deeper this year? You’ll notice the beginning of a theme here.)
I love New Year’s Day. It’s an overachiever’s dream holiday. “You mean, we get to be applauded for our outrageous efforts to do/ achieve/ improve/ get better at whatever it is we dream? We get to spend the whole day setting up lists and spreadsheets and myriad assortment of other technological trackers designed for successfully marking things off our to-do lists?”
Yasss, bitch! You’re scratching me right where my neuroses itch. Get. Shit. Done.
I’m very aware of the pros and cons of being a “trophy hunter,” as Justin calls me. He and I are complete opposites in this area of our lives, so his c’est la vie attitude is very helpful for me when I need to remember the little things matter most and, well, chill the fuck out.
This year, I’m committed to finding a balance between the two. I don’t want to completely give up my go-get-em mentality, but I don’t want it to push me to extremes anymore either–or, more specifically, I don’t want it to push me to extremes on paths that I don’t give a shit about. Do you know what I mean? When you end up *nailing* the 200-word freelance assignment because you spent six hours on it instead of spending a sane and appropriate three hours and channelling your other two hours into researching for a creative essay you want to write.
There’s gotta be somewhere to rest in the middle, right? Somewhere that I can focus my extremes into achieving my ultimate, singular, soul-igniting goal?
Well, I think I’ve found a solution. This will be the year in which I attempt the impossible for my extreme perfectionist brain: Consistency.
Here’s an excerpt from my Best Self Co. journal workbook that explains why this works/ why I’m putting faith into trying consistency over achievement:
“If you want to crush your goals and reach greatness, you must focus on consistent and long-term personal performance.
In the book Great By Choice, author Jim Collins shares the story of two explorers, Amundsen and Scott, who each led separate teams on an expedition race to the South Pole in 1911. The journey there and back was roughly 1,400 miles, which is equivalent to a round-trip from NYC to Chicago.
While both teams would travel the same distance through extremely harsh weather conditions, each took an entirely different approach to the journey.”
OK PAY ATTENTION THIS IS WHERE THE GOLD CAN BE MINED:
“Scott’s strategy was to walk as far as possible on the good weather days and then rest up on the bad days to conserve energy. Conversely, Amundsen’s team adhered to a strict regimen of consistent progress by walking 20 miles every day–no matter what the weather. On good days, Amundsen’s team was very capable of walking further, but Amundsen was adamant they walk no more than 20 miles–to conserve their energy.”
WHICH TEAM SUCCEEDED? YOU SHOULD KNOW THE ANSWER BY NOW BUT STAY WITH ME:
“It was Amundsen’s because they took consistent action. And this same principle will be true for your goals.”
We are what repeatedly do, which, like, I know. But this anecdote clicked that knowledge into place somehow. It offers some relief: If I dedicate an hour a day, for example, to writing for my book, or promise to run one mile, and only one mile, every three days at the gym, I take the decision making out of it. It becomes a habit. And, I can’t push my work or goals off to a day when “I feel like it” and then, when I finally “feel like it,” feel overwhelmed by the 48 hours of work and 10 miles I expect from myself in one day.
Patience. Restraint. Courage. That’s what’s going to get me across the finish line. These are skills I haven’t cultivated in my past–and haven’t really needed to. But not knowing how to be truly patient with myself and others and situations has proven a detriment exacerbated by my trophy hunting perfectionism.
It’s probably affected you too, this fast-paced immediacy and expectation of comfort. I think we could all benefit from taking a step back, reading the whole article, watching the special, getting our hot take from something more thoughtful than a tweet, seeking out the facts, embracing the nuance intrinsic in waiting, letting others have opinions different from our own.
See also: We won’t elect a new, non-idiotic president until 2020.
So buckle up, loves. The life you’ll be changing this year is your own–and if you do it right, you’ll do it in a way that the change lasts for years to come.
Happy New Year!