This year I’ve been working on a few projects/goals outside of work:
- Reading the entire Bible.
- Exercising 6 days per week.
- Processing thousands (5,000 maybe?) of photos from trips I’ve taken in the last two years.
I’d love to say I’ve consistently chipped away at each of these things over the last 12 months and have had a really successful year. The reality is, though, that each area has been a series of starts and stops with periods of complete neglect, followed by periods of intense catch-up.
The net result is that I’ll have read through the entire Bible and gotten a little more fit from working out a bunch, so in some sense I’ve definitely accomplished some goals (except for the pictures, I won’t finish those this year), but the periods of inactivity and binging make it feel, in those moments, like I’m failing at my goals. Inconsistencies hide long-term progress.
There are several reasons for this. First, my personality makes me harder on my self than anyone else. Second, my job requires lots of travel and an unpredictable schedule, which makes consistency a bit harder to get after sometimes. Lastly, though, I think that my concept of quitting is a bit skewed.
When I go 2 weeks without working out, I feel like a failure because ‘I quit.’ I stopped doing what I told myself I’d do. Of course there are some material consequences, i.e., I’m not quite as fit as I might be if I had worked out, but the psychological consequences take a heavier toll.
What I’ve learned, though, is that what quitting really means is not starting again. No one with a normal life is going to achieve 100% consistency in what they want to accomplish. What we can be 100% consistent at though is picking up where we left off and moving towards what we want to accomplish after we’ve gotten side-tracked.
One of my goals for 2015 is figuring out ways to remind myself of the big picture, not the un-checked boxes right in front of me.