Not everything we can spend our time doing is worth doing. So it is important we ask ourselves what putting time into something will help us achieve. Sometimes we won’t know what that is until we’ve tried, and sometimes we won’t be able to lift ourselves from the deceptive comfort of our darkness to engage in this thought process before we get started. Though this post is less about managing the pain Mondays can bring and more about the motivation new beginnings can provide, I hope it still resonates with you, wonderful reader.
Over the past five years I have worked on shifting my mindset. I used to find it difficult to acknowledge positive progress towards my goals. Instead I would focus on each disappointing outcome that had occurred because of action I had taken, or failed to take. This perpetuated a cycle of thinking only negative outcomes could eventuate from something I was in the middle of doing at that time, or that only negative things could happen in the future as a result of decisions I would make. It was difficult to change this mindset which had become my default. But over time, with the help of good people, many here on WordPress, I’ve realised there’s already enough at play in the world trying to bring us down, without us adding our own critique to the pile.
To enable this positive mindset shift I’ve had to look at things both on the macro and micro levels. Seeing the big picture allows me to know I am progressing towards my goals. Writing one scene at a time of a novel might not seem like much, but over the course of a year it will add up to hundreds of pages of an intricately intertwined story. Over the weekend with the help of a wonderful friend I finally purchased the domain name where my author website will live. Aaaand the url goes to a live webpage. The website itself is under construction which is so exciting! (At the moment this simply reads, “Hello, world”, but it’s a start!) This is light years ahead of where I thought would be at the start of the year. Soon I will have a place I can share stories, and updates about my books, and progress towards publishing them with the world. I’m so excited it’s difficult to contain!
This big picture can be daunting to look at. I often want to be closer to the finish line and don’t know how to make the big leaps to get closer. This is when honing in on the small things, the micro details, helps. Did I write something today? Was I focussed while I was writing? What have I done today to improve my writing skills and find my own writer’s voice? Every day I write with a focussed mind I am furthering my progress towards publishing my books. Even if I’m not actively writing or editing the manuscript itself, I’m improving my skills so I’m better equipped for the task. Finding the process that works for us and sticking to it is important. We don’t need the “best” tools, or to have done every single bit of training before we start. We do need tools that help us work effectively and efficiently, and we need to commit to getting better.
Looking at other micro decisions is useful too. Will watching another YouTube video help me dive back into writing? Sometimes the answer is yes because I need the break. Sometimes the answer is no. I’m getting better at honestly answering this question of myself and following through with a healthy response. Have I exercised today? Have I moved from my sitting position at work and at home enough? I value being close enough to work that I can walk to and from our office each day. This means I have already done a bit of physical activity even before intentional exercise. The only two other things I make sure I do each day have low barriers: 25 press-ups, maybe a few more if I feel up to it, and a basic stretching routine. If I do more, great. If I only do this, then I can be content with having done something good for my mobility and mental health.
A couple of other things that have helped me focus how I spend my time:
- Eating predominantly vegetarian meals. This has improved my energy levels, and my mind often feels much more awake, too, even if I’ve not slept well. Just eating healthier is good for me too; more spinach, carrots, bananas, and other leafy greens, instead of salty or sweet snacks.
- Prayer every morning and evening while walking to and from work. I used to wear headphones anywhere. Now I focus on what’s around me, listening to the sounds of the world, and being aware of the people I’m walking around. I also thank God for all the little things.
- Accepting how much sleep I’m going to get due to the decisions I’ve made that day. If I’m going to bed late, worrying about it won’t help. I can only relax my mind and body, sleep, and go to bed earlier the next day.
- I knuckle down and put in hard work. Right now I don’t know how most of the projects I want to get done will get done. BUT! I can focus on writing stories the best I can, and making music sound as best it can. Then share it with people -even one person, one song or story at a time can make a difference.
- Acknowledge I’m doing the best I can, with what I’ve got, where I am. The single best piece of advice I’ve heard in years is simple in theory. I use this quote often because I think Brene Brown is onto something: “All I know is my life is better when I assume everyone is doing their best.” We can help each other with this. We can lift each other up rather than looking for reasons why someone is not doing as well as they could be. Encourage instead of disparage and see how that helps our wellbeing.
If you need some encouragement or even just an ear to listen, reach out and let’s have a conversation. I will reach out via blogs posts as often as I am able, too.
Keep on keeping on, because no one can be a better you than you. And that’s a wonderful thing. Peace to you, dear reader.