Wow. We’re officially halfway through 2019, a perfect opportunity to look in the mirror, flip through the journal, and assess what’s working and what’s not. It’s a personal exercise, right? What works for me, may not work for you. And the reverse is true.
But, as I was reflecting on the last six months and planning the next, I found that I needed to rewire some faulty thinking and throw aside some junk that was weighing me down.
These are the top 5 lies I’m dumping:
I’m Supposed to be Somewhere “Else” by now
Somewhere better. On a different path, a more successful trajectory, a more direct route to the destination I think I want, or need, to be. There’s a temptation to treat draft deadlines + arbitrary goals as final plans instead of working sketches. Rather than tweaking the initial blueprint when life takes me in another direction, I’m tempted to scrap the entire idea.
But, the truth is: If our timelines are off, now’s the chance to rework them—allowing experience to inform our latest + greatest draft. There’s no time like the present to start reshaping our masterpiece. Even if we have to paint over some smudges and reevaluate the ladder we’re climbing.
Happiness Comes from Achieving the Goal
Life’s complicated, the road’s marked with detours and circumstances are often beyond our control. If I allow happiness to elude me while on the journey, postponing it until some undefined point in the future when I’ve reached a certain milestone, what does that leave for the process? What’s left over? Well, NOTHING, if I think of life as a zero-sum game, one that I’m either winning or losing.
But, the truth is: It’s our game and we make the rules. The pathway of becoming, allows us to delight in the process, celebrating the good days, shrugging off the bad ones. Knowing that by working toward our goal, we’re already succeeding. And when those doubts and frustrations come knocking at our door, looking for a place to unpack their bags and stay? We turn them away; those turdbuckets aren’t stealing our joy.
I’m Giving it my all (When I’m Really not)
When I’m honest about my effort, and have the guts to identify the areas in which I'm not operating at full capacity, it’s freeing. I feel hopeful, realizing there’s more gas in the tank and I don't have to rely on fumes to climb the hill. But, don’t misunderstand me, there’s a bright line between hustle + striving.
Hustle means finding another gear, the thoroughbred picking up momentum as it moves from a trot into a gallop--a speed for which it was created. That’s hustle, a natural adjusting of the bar to meet our new baseline. Striving is the opposite. It’s the creepy, white rat, confined to a cage, spinning on a wheel but getting nowhere. Frustrated and overwhelmed, convinced that spending more energy is always the answer.
But the truth is: We’re not rats. And we’ll enter seasons when, after some rest and soul searching, we realize we’ve got another gear. We don't reach for it because we feel obligated, or out of a sense of self-loathing because we’re chasing somebody else’s standard, or trying to match their pace. But, because something inside of us is nudging us to reach for the next rung. That brings joy.
Move on From Mistakes ASAP
There’s no use crying over spilt milk. … Unless there is. Sometimes I move on from mistakes too hastily. I don’t fully learn the lessons I should from a particular situation. Which means that if I’m not careful, I’ll repeat the same mistakes over and over, knowing I’m missing the mark.
But the truth is: The “no regrets” mantra isn’t for me. I regret my mistakes. I don’t wallow in them, but I do regret making them. We’ve all heard Einstein’s definition of insanity (doing the same thing again and again, yet expecting a different outcome). Sometimes growth looks like waving a white flag, admitting failure, evaluating where we veered off track and why. Then proactively avoiding the pitfalls that could lead us down the same rotten path. Chin up, scenic views ahead!
Overhauls are More Effective Than Incremental Changes
Ugh. I swallow this lie on a weekly basis. We all know that a concentrated application is more effective than are diluted efforts. If I use a garden hose to extinguish a candle, my results will be immediate. If I use the same hose to spray at a burning building, I’ll be there awhile; hopefully dialing 9-1-1.
But the truth is: I’m trying to cover too much territory. Rather than focus on the numerous things I want to improve—drinking more water, eating more protein, finding my abs again (last seen when I was 25, btw), and going to bed before 10:30—I’m better off directing all my efforts toward changing one habit. Only then should I move on to the next. That way my willpower (a limited resource) isn’t stretched to the max at all times, making it difficult for change to stick.
TRUTH: Heading into the second half of 2019, you and I both know that we’re more than the sum of our mistakes. We’re designed with purpose, destined to do great things. We don’t need to be told that our very existence deserves applause, because we know our worth—even if we have to remind ourselves from time to time. So, if we’ve allowed a lie take root, we also know that it’s not too late to yank it out and toss it aside. Sure, we may have to uproot it more than once, but we’ve got the rest of 2019 to tend to our gardens.
ONWARD, Warriors. The second act of 2019 is going to be amazing.