How often do we start a project or a task only to “leave it until later”? For me, more often than I would like to admit. Sure, I could say that I was multitasking and a more important project came along, but the truth is that it was probably a task/project that became too frustrating or difficult, and I was glad to put it aside for something else (that I will likely then put aside for another project like YouTube dance videos).
Today, I had to complete a task I said I was going to do. What was this monumental, save-the-world task? Was it to broker world peace or to find a cure to some horrible disease? No, while all of those are worthy tasks, I needed to focus a little smaller and less life and death. Today, I had to complete my exercise routine.
Not so impressive, huh? Unless you know the backstory.
Last month, I left my job, and consequently my motivational partner, to move back home for my family. My house still isn’t unpacked or organized by anyone’s standards. I’m spending more money on restaurant food than real food, and I’ve done nothing that even remotely looks like a workout since the move. What have I done? Mostly binge watching my shows on a streaming media service, some introspection and some family time, but mostly binge watching. Don’t roll your eyes at me. Binge watching is everyone’s favorite avoidance behavior. You know you do it, too.
So, in order to motivate myself, I chose a workout, set my alarm on my phone, and messaged my motivational partner. Then, I went about the rest of my day. I helped my niece move to a new place, I wrote my blog post that I should have written yesterday, and I did some very minor shopping before dinner.
That’s when it happened. I was too tired after moving around in the Texas heat and then eating dinner. Just like some people I know, I just wanted to go to sleep. I didn’t want to even think about my workout. What got me moving? I had already messaged my friend that I would workout today. I knew she would message me later and ask if I’d done it because she has been doing hers. In other accountability news, my alarm sounded. There was no getting out of it.
Even though I didn’t like it and complained the whole time, I felt so much better when I was finished. I felt better for having finished! It’s an amazing feeling! Why don’t I do this all the time? Because like so many others, I’ve been led to believe that it’s a sign of strength to have all these projects going at once. I’m beginning to finally disagree. It is far better to complete one project with your full attention than to have many incomplete projects that had only partial attention.
I would still feel accomplished today if the only thing I finished was my workout because I had committed to it and committed to making changes in my work habits. What’s next for me to accomplish? Probably unpacking and organizing the house. I really can’t do much else until that’s done.
Remember that the only way to finish anything is to start it, even if that means you have to make yourself start it everyday by setting reminders or messaging a friend or setting up a secret Facebook accountability group.