Thursday, November 20, 2014

Just Do It

On Monday, Miranda wrote about motivation, and how we often wait for it, rather than inviting it in. I know what that's like.

This morning I was frustrated. I was low on energy; I couldn't focus. I couldn't afford to feel that way, but I couldn't come up with a good reason why. It's hard to find a solution when you don't know the problem. I hit this wall more often than I should, so I googled "chronic low energy".

An article came up: Natural Remedies for Anxiety Low Energy. I had acknowledged that anxiety was a possible cause, but I have a hard time discerning if and when. As I read the article, one suggestion stood out to me.

"Immediately take action," it read. "When your alarm goes off in the morning, you get up. When you find the trash is full, you take it out."

What that means is you never give yourself the opportunity to delay or procrastinate; you keep up momentum.

There are days when I'm going and going all day, and I can maintain energy as long as I keep moving. Once I give my mind or body even a second to slow down, I shut down.

This principle is not just one that applies to chores or to the daily tasks of our lives. It also applies to our passions, which are often the easiest to ignore.

If you are trying to make a living off your passions and trying to, as we say, embrace the road less traveled, you can't afford to ignore them. You can't afford to give in to your mind's ability to rationalize its way out of anything difficult. Especially when it comes to your passions, because you are the only one requiring you to accomplish them.

There's no boss imposing a deadline. You may even have friends or family trying to talk you out of pursuing your dreams if they are particularly risky. And mustering up the motivation to pursue your dreams is a lot harder than finding the energy to take out the trash.

I got a job recently supervising aftercare at a school for students with learning disabilities. I have odd hours, working 3 to 6 p.m. Having a job smack in the middle of the day makes it difficult to start any big project in the morning knowing I'll have to stop, and when I get home I'm often exhausted from playing shepherd.

But these are all great excuses to feel sorry for myself. It's not until I plunge myself into a task that I realize how far I can go. I can't afford to wait for the energy or the inspiration. I have to show up and get the work done, just like I do for the school. The only difference is getting paid and the threat of getting fired if I don't show up. But guess which job is more important to being the person I am striving to become? Why does one get more of my time than the other?

Because chasing your dreams, with only yourself to hold you accountable, only yourself to determine whether you succeed or fail, is terrifying. But if you constantly delay until the next day or after this or once you have that, you will look back and wonder how you allowed yourself to build up a lifetime of "somedays".

Never give your mind the chance to talk itself out of doing something you know you need to do, for yourself or otherwise. Stop postponing because you're too tired or you're too busy. Start with the little things, like the article suggested. As soon as the alarm goes off, get up. As soon as the trash is full, take it out. That's forming a habit. And as soon as you can carve out time to work on your goals, do it.

Don't delay. Don't procrastinate. Just do it.

-Elena



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