One of my NY resolutions was to write a blog post every week.
Sigh. I have already failed at this.
It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been trying to write a New Years resolution/goals post for the past couple of weeks now. Had a few thoughts .. but kept getting sidetracked and distracted and then I’d go back to what I’d written and think, ugh, I don’t wanna finish this.
I’ve always struggled with this part. The discipline part of any personal project. And I recently learned why. And (hopefully) a few tricks for overcoming it.
My best friend has been reading a book called The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. Basically it breaks down the driving forces behind why we act … and why we DON’T act. We all have a natural way of responding to expectations and we all are motivated to work in different ways. Some are motivated by external forces only (Obligers), some by both external and internal forces (Upholders), some are motivated if they understand the WHY behind a course of action (Questioners) … and some (like me) aren’t motivated by anything.
We’re the Rebels.
Sounds cool, right? Let me assure you, it isn’t.
Basically we do NOT do well with rules and a set course of action. One of the hilariously defining quotes of a ‘rebel’ is “You can’t make me do something .. and neither can I.”
So New Years Resolutions? They’re basically self-imposed rules that I’m going to rebel against. Even though I’M the one who SET them.
Sigh. I’m such a brat.
Which brings me back to writing … I want to write. Deep down I have ALWAYS wanted this and have dreamed of doing this full time ever since I was a kid. (I wrote my first ‘book’ at age 5 in which I had to single-handedly rescue my stupid little brother from kidnappers, because, of course, I was an amazing, badass ninja.)
For a long time, I stopped writing because I battled fear and insecurity. Oh I shouldn’t write, I won’t be successful, etc. What the hell do I even know anyway? I should just give up. But … a little part of me rebelled against that, slowly but surely. That’s the good part of being a rebel. Go for what you want right? GO. FOR. IT. This is the only life we have and why not pursue something you love, regardless of whether or not you achieve great success? Do it because you love it right?
So now I’m writing again and I’m happy and I love it. And yet, I also know I need to push myself to be consistent, especially if I ever want to really make a career out of this. And now the rebel pops back up but on the negative side. I don’t want to write unless I’m writing while I’m supposed to be doing OTHER work. And even then, sometimes my rebel nature is rebelling against MY OWN DESIRE to write. I’m at war with myself. It’s all very frustrating.
So .. how do I make my procrastinating, rebelling self do this work? I tried to set a resolution. One blog per week. Shouldn’t be THAT hard since I’m basically just telling people my life story. And yet, I’ve already broken my own promise to myself.
I recently listened to a Tim Ferris podcast with Terry Crews on it. (Disclaimer: I am not the type to listen to podcasts, but my best friend has slowly been working on me through the years and I finally have begun to cave and see the wisdom in it reading books and listening to smarter people. Ugh.) On the podcast, Terry talks about this book he read The Master Key System which outlines three key principles to having what you want in life. He says in order to HAVE what you want you must first BE that thing. In your mind and soul. And then DO what someone who is that thing (i.e. a writer) would do.
Be the thing. Do the work. Have the result.
So here I am, doing the work. Because I want to have a career in this, I’m going to plow forward believing I AM a writer and I will DO the work a writer does, in order to one day HAVE the creatively fulfilling life I’m hoping to have.
Sometimes doing the work is going to suck. I might show up, put words on a page and they might just be crap. But I’m going to write them anyway. I’m making this a habit. I’m creating the structure for success. I’m going to go to the page daily, do my part and believe that my muse will show up and bless me creatively.
In addition to that, I’m going to learn how to use my rebel nature for my own success. The good thing about rebels (or so I’m reading) is we like to overcome and defy odds. You tell us we can’t do something and we have a deep yearning to prove that we can. My life, especially in these past four years, is a perfect example of that. I used to think I couldn’t possibly sing in front of a large group of people – I do this often now … SOBER. I used to think there was no way I could be involved in theater as an adult – I’ve been in a couple of plays in the last three years and I’m making plans to audition for another. I used to think I couldn’t workout or run because I was so out of shape and my body just couldn’t handle it – I now lift 5-6 times a week and LOVE intense conditioning courses. My ex told me I could never travel solo (and I believed him) because I’d get lost and never find my way back home – I traveled to a foreign country last year solo and had adventure after adventure. AND I made it home in one piece.
I have defied MY OWN expectations. I have pushed myself to overcome my own fears and hangups so that I could be the person I want to be and have the life I want to have. And I’m continuing to do this daily.
So … I’m going to throw my resolutions out the window and start over. I’m going to reframe them as goals that seem impossible. And then see what I and my rebel nature can do to overcome them. Instead of saying I want to be a certain weight and body fat percentage, I’m going to say I want to run a Spartan race … because those things seem damn near impossible. Will I be great at it? Likely not but I know the reward of finishing it will be all the glory I need. I’m also going to climb a mountain. Because that seems pretty incredible and certainly like something the old, fearful me would’ve never done. I’m going to take new, challenging dancing classes (even though I’m a terrible dancer) and learn how to Lindy hop. I’m going to GET OUT OF DEBT (just throwing that in there because that, too, seems damn near impossible).
And .. I’m going to write. Weekly. It might be crap. But that’s ok. I’m not writing for anyone else right now, I’m writing for me. For the future me that will be better at this after years of practice.
And it’s amazing … once you set your intentions, it’s wild how the universe will respond. It’ll give you opportunities, you simply have to take them.
Be the thing. Do the work. Have the result.
Ok 2018, let’s do this.
PS if you want to know what tendency you lean towards there’s a quiz you can take: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3706759/Gretchen-Rubin-s-Quiz-The-Four-Tendencies