This is How You Hold Yourself Back

We all know when we can be doing better. We all know when things feel like they’re in turmoil, when things feel like they aren’t going right. We all know when we have things to do, no matter how tedious. It is in those times, subconsciously or not, we have to make a choice.

Are we going to pretend like it’s all okay? Are we going to turn a blind eye on what needs to be done? Are we going to brush it all off, and distract ourselves with prioritizing things that won’t push us to be our best selves? Or do we hold ourselves accountable, and change what we’re unhappy with? More bluntly put: are you happy with ignoring your responsibilities, or are you going to cut out the bullshit?

Two weeks ago, I was doing the former. I was binge-watching Breaking Bad, finishing a season in a day. I started playing Animal Crossing the day it released in Canada, and I jumped 20 levels in the first 3 days. Fast forward a week and a half later, I’m on level 39. What???

Let me be clear, it’s not that having down time to relax is a bad thing, because it’s not. Self-care is necessary to prevent burnout. But when your entire day is spent relaxing, there comes a time when you need to reassess how well you’re actually doing. During that week, I was riddled with guilt, knowing I should be doing better and closing that game on my phone, but not. I kept allowing my bullshit to continue. I knew I could have spent more time on my responsibilities instead of wasting away on a mobile game or television show. This was all up to me to understand that even though I knew of what I had to do, no one was going to hold me accountable for changing except for me. So last week, I stopped ignoring myself.

I’ve been working on getting back into routine. I’ve been writing down how I would organize my day by the hour on my agenda, instead of only writing my commitments for the week. I would clearly block out time for studying. I’ve put reminders on my phone for tasks to complete. This is all to say I still watch an episode of Breaking Bad here and there, and I still play Animal Crossing when I give myself time to relax. But I really, really try to no longer do it for prolonged periods of time, to the point of holding myself back on sleep and productivity levels. Moderation is really key here. There are days where I really struggle with that, and in cases where I know I wasn’t at my best, I’ve found it important to forgive myself and to try again tomorrow. It’s a work in progress.

They say awareness is the first step to change, and here, I challenge you to self-reflect. In any given moment, ask yourself: is this the best you can do? If so, then you should not feel guilty about the way things are turning out. If your best is truly your best, you’ve given every ounce in yourself to try, celebrate that accomplishment. No matter how small.

But if you’ve been anything like me these past few weeks, where you KNOW you aren’t proud of where you are right now, force yourself to confront that issue. Figure out the necessary steps you need to take to change. Awareness is the first step. If you already have that, then change is the second. And between every struggling moment, when you realize you should be doing something more productive, force yourself to ACT on cutting out the bullshit right then and there. Hold yourself accountable, and take initiative to do what’s necessary.

2017 is well on its way out, and life is too short to not take the time to prove to ourselves what we’re capable of. Don’t wait for the excuse of making new year’s resolutions to act on changing. Do it now, and do it right. After all, every small step forward is better than none at all.

Till next time,

Winnie