People that have have a habit of taking on more than they can manage rarely make the effort to try and ease their load. Instead they accept the period of stress as though there is no other choice. In fact they’ve come to rely on the stress and looming deadlines to spur them on and get things done.
However, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes the stress just leaves you stressed.
That’s not what you want when you’re under the impression that you can use stress to your advantage.
Sometimes stress leaves you overwhelmed and unable to focus like normal to the point where you’d rather quit than carry on. It’s not healthy to put yourself under unnecessary pressure, especially when you have the option to make things easier for yourself.
And so start paying attention to yourself. How much can you take on before you start to feel overwhelmed? Learn to start saying no before you reach your limit and end up feeling overloaded.
I think one of the main reasons that old habits are hard to break is because we’re used to them. When you’ve been doing something for a long time whether it’s beneficial to your life or not, it can be difficult to just let it go.
Even if you know it’s not good for you, you get sucked into the feeling of familiarity and allow the habit to continue.
But, what if you forced yourself to change, what if you made a choice to do something different and uncomfortable? Doing that allows you to open yourself to the possibility of a new life where you do thing that align with the kind of person that you want to be, rather than contradict it.
Overcoming a habit that is hard to break is joyous because you know it wasn’t easy but you did it anyway.
When people procrastinate they often tell themselves they are waiting until they are ready or waiting for a feeling that will push them to begin.
But the truth is you just have to start. Instead of waiting for some kind of magic to turn you into someone that gets things done straight away, make it a habit.
Any habit or behaviour takes practice to implement and practice to change.
So, instead of hiding behind the label of being a procrastinator start making a conscious effort to be the kind of person you want to be. The kind of person that gets things done sooner rather than later.
Chocolate cake for breakfast is a great idea in the moment. It’s sweet, chocolatey and tastes great.
But if you’re working towards becoming someone that is healthier and eats more nourishing food then you might not want to make a habit of it.
It’d be like saying you want to stay dry then going outside in the rain.
But if that is not something you are working towards then it doesn’t really matter what you have for breakfast.
Taking breaks will always be necessary. However, when you commit to doing something every single day, suddenly taking a break becomes a little more difficult.
As much as you can try and make up for it the day before or the day after, it’s not quite the same as maintaining consistency.
Once you’ve stuck with something as a daily habit for a couple of months or even a few weeks, the thought of missing a day and losing that streak isn’t particularly tempting.
And so it becomes easier to not take breaks.
But as great as it is to be consistent and build daily habits, you never want to apply so much pressure that you won’t let yourself take a break even when you feel like you need it.
When you’re sharing your words online everyday there is very little pressure for what you post to be the best thing you’ve ever written.
If todays words aren’t particularly good, I know that I can always write something better tomorrow or the day after.
Sometimes what I consider to be my some of my best work doesn’t gain the numbers that I think it will or should. Other times, the stuff I’m pretty indifferent about ends up becoming the most popular.
I’ve written posts that I thought were my best at the time only to look back months later and realise it could have been so much better.
And so the idea of my best work is pretty flexible. If in 20 months of daily blogging, this post was the best thing I’d ever written, I have no doubt that I’d change my mind a few months later.
Reminding myself of all this makes blogging every day so much easier.
I think it’s fair to say that more often than not, a daily blog is for the writer.
The reason behind this is almost nobody reads a daily blog every single day.
There are occasional readers and regular readers but it’s rare to find someone who doesn’t miss a post.
Posting so often allows me to not put so much pressure on each thing I share, it also forces me to challenge myself.
I have posts that have never been read, perhaps the title wasn’t interesting enough or maybe you just weren’t interested. But from a totally different perspective, I posted another day and kept up my writing practice.
That matters to me more than trying to please the reader.
The creator of the habit loop determined that in order to change a habit you needed to change your routine. For example, drinking a glass of water when you crave a cigarette.
For the past 7 days I’ve been working to undo a habit. I didn’t consciously replace it with anything but I suppose I could say I’ve been writing instead.
By the time I got to the 7th day I found I had little interest in carrying out the habit I’d been trying to undo.
It served as a reminder that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things that we believe we’re stuck or that it will be a hard habit to break.
Granted this doesn’t apply to everything but I think it’s fair to say that not all habits are difficult to break.
In the moment missing a day of daily blogging feels like failure but in the grand scheme of things I know it’s not that bad.
If you look at it one way missing 8/365 days isn’t much at all.
But on the other hand can you really call yourself a daily blogger if you don’t post every single day.
When I first started daily blogging it really bothered me when I missed a day, mainly because it was never intentional. It frustrated me that I could forgot to post and not realise until the next day and by then it was too late.
Luckily, I’ve now realised that when you make a mistake if you focus on learning from it instead of getting mad at yourself it’s much less likely to happen again.
And of course this applies to so much more than just blogging
There’s a popular saying that goes ‘Slow progress is better than no progress’. I totally agree.
What we often do is rush because we want progress to be quick.
Perhaps this is because slow progress doesn’t feel like moving forward in the moment. It’s only, in a few weeks or months time that you’re able to see how far you’ve come.
This idea of choosing to rush instead of embracing slow progress can be applied to many scenarios, one of which is procrastination.
Dedicating a few days to get something done is often much more appealing than spending a few weeks doing something bit by bit.
But often we don’t have a few days spare, just a few moments each week.
And the great thing about slow progress is that it helps build a habit of long term commitment.
On the other hand when you rush you’re relying on adrenaline and cortisol, what your body releases as a response to stress which is great in the short-tun but not something you want to make a habit out of.