Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.~Thomas Carlyle
About a month ago, I finished knitting my first sweater. I’m so proud of it; I think I’ve worn it more often than anything else in my wardrobe since then. When I tell people I knit it, most people — even some of the knitters — say “Oh, there is no way I could do that.”
I used to feel this way too. About sweaters and novels and 14-mile hikes and much more. I think a lot of people, including myself, look at a big project that is seemingly over their heads and decide they will fail before they even begin.
But tackling something you think is huge isn’t about having loads of time to dedicate to it or even all sorts of ambition. It’s about stamina and persistence. Sure, you might only be moving an inch every day, but a year from now, you’ll be a lot farther ahead than if you never started at all.
In the past few years, I have worked on loads of different “big” projects. I’ve knit an afghan. I wrote a novel. I saved money for several big vacations. While they all have different outcomes, I looked at every one with similar attitude and approach.
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.~Jim Rohn
When I recently told an acquaintance I worked at home full-time, she commented how difficult that would be for her.
“I’d never have the kind of discipline to do that,” she said. “I’d get distracted and wouldn’t get a thing done.”
Over the past several years, many people have commented on how disciplined I am, from my workouts to my diet to my career. It’s not to say I haven’t had a few donuts or skipped the gym a number of times, but generally I can motivate myself to do something regardless of how I’m feeling.
Many people think of discipline as a tough-love thing. Conventional wisdom often says the harder you are on yourself, the better off you’ll be. I disagree. I think it’s important to approach this topic with care and compassion. Know your limits — it’s the easiest way to expand them.
Men's natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.~Confucius
Recently, a friend in my 30 Day Challenge group brought up a really interesting point. “Have you noticed” he asked, “that it’s far easier to remove something or limit something from your life than it is to add to it?”
It gave me pause. Every challenge I seemed to excel at had something to do with deprivation. I’d quit caffeine. I’d stopped eating gluten. My media fast was pretty successful as well, but what I’d had trouble with was reading something every day for myself.
I took it as a challenge. I have all sorts of good habits that I cultivated in my adult life: daily journaling, exercise, cooking. How did I add these to my life? And what lessons can I apply to creating a new good habit?
Striving for excellence motivates you;
striving for perfection is demoralizing.~Harriet Braiker
My neighbor came to my door while I was baking my first loaf of gluten-free bread. She said she admired our diets and told me how she was doing more to eat less sugar.
“I’d heard from a lot of people that it makes a lot of sense for them,” I said, “but I just didn’t think I could cut another thing out. I mean, after getting rid of dairy, wheat, caffeine and sugar, what would be left?”
She laughed a little and said, “Well it’s all about just cutting yourself some slack. You don’t have to be perfect or anything.”
Here’s my confession: I have this compulsion to be perfect. Everything I do has to be just so, or I don’t want to do it at all. And I don’t think I’m alone in this.
There’s a lot to be said in that proverb and quite a bit to think about.
The biggest lesson I take out of those six little words is consistency. Consistency is something I never really liked. In fact, I’ve always found it boring. It’s so….well….consistent. But I’ve come to learn that big goals require three things: a plan, commitment and consistency.
But I have always been a do it now, get it done, and move on kind of girl. Life was always too short to just keep plugging along at something day after day after day.
But…here is what I am learning: If you don’t keep plugging away regularly at something big, you won’t reach the goal. Plain and simple.
When ever I find myself feeling frazzled by the distractions and never-ending list of to-dos, the answer to finding peace always come back to focus. “Focus, focus, focus!” my heart would say, while my mind is off racing in a hundred different directions.
Lately, when people ask me, “How are you?” my response has been “Busy”.
It’s true. I have been busy. Yet when I reflected deeper into why I’m busy, I discovered that I am mostly busy thinking about how busy I am.
I mean, yeah, I have a lot of tasks on my plate, but when I observed myself from a place of silent presence, I discovered that a huge amount of my time and energy was spent cycling through my list of growing to-do items in my head.
After reading last week’s article on problem solving, Tina casually mentioned wanting to wake up early. I felt inspired to write a piece on how to wake up early. For the past 4 months, I’ve been consistently waking up early—5am specifically. This article contain tips I’ve found helpful to become an early riser.
4:45 a.m. arrives and our bedroom becomes a full on symphony of battling alarms: my husband’s starts at 4:45, mine follows at 5:00, his chimes back in again at 5:00 (in unison with mine), and depending on the snooze capacity that day … we may even have one more finale at 5:15 a.m.
The coffee grinder is also programmed to go off at 5 a.m. The aroma and grinding sound of coffee beans travels all the way from the downstairs kitchen to our bedroom upstairs.
I recently discovered a simple technique for problem solving that I thought you guys would love. But before diving in to this effective problem solving process, let me tell you the background story.
Lately, I’ve been struggling with this feeling of unproductive frustration. Maybe you can relate: feeling like you should be doing something, but you feel stuck, somehow unable to take productive action towards some end goal.
My problem is that I feel like I have a million things to do; yet I am finding it difficult to make any real progress with any of my projects. As a result, a whole day can go by without me making any progress forward.
Each day, when I look up to see that it’s already 3pm, I’ll start to feel frustrated at myself. I’ll feel annoyed that I had allowed another fruitless day to pass. I’d kick myself mentally for having “wasted” another precious day, which doesn’t help to inspire me to productivity or happiness.