Taking your own advice

It’s funny how you can dish it out but you can’t seem to take it.

When pondering on a situation occurring in your own life, you are likely to find that you have previously given advice on the very same topic. Furthermore, you were able to give that advice with ease.

And so you are likely to find yourself wondering why acting on something you’ve advised someone else to do is so difficult when it comes to your own life.

Maybe the difficult part isn’t the advice it’s actually taking the responsibility and be choosing to solve a problem instead of merely talking (or complaining) about it.

Putting pressure on the outcome

In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.

You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.

And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.

What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?

I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.

Making the best of challenging circumstances

One of the best lessons to have learnt this year is how to make the best of challenging circumstances.

I’d be highly surprised to find that there is anyone who reads this blog that has not been affected by the pandemic.

People have lost their jobs, had family and friends pass, experienced financial difficulties, had holidays postponed, struggled to cope because they’re living alone, missed moments with the people they care about, had plans cancelled and so much more.

It’s easy to end up feeling as though life can be nothing more than bleak but it’s important to remember the joys of life.

No matter what is going on if you only focus on the ‘bad bits’ it will consume your whole outlook until you can’t see past it.

Of course you can’t ignore what is going on in the world but you can make time for things that bring you joy and make you feel good.

How to stop feeling so overwhelmed?

The answer is in the question.

Stop.

The feeling of being overwhelmed often comes when we don’t allow ourselves to feel something and instead adopt a go, go, go mindset.

Instead taking care of yourself and working through your feelings, you fill your mind and time with 101 distractions that will eventually catch up to you.

Or maybe you’ve taken on too much, you have a lot going on and haven’t had enough time to rest to keep you going in a way that is healthy.

What ever the case may be, you can’t keep going.

When told to stop or even just slow down we often use the excuse that we can’t. Perhaps it is that people are relying on you or you think there’s too much to be done.

But as it is those things that are causing the overwhelm, it’s exactly what you need a break from.

So stop, even just for a few minutes, it will make more of a difference than you think.

Ahead of their time

Often the key indicators of someone being ahead of their time is that years later other people are doing what they did with less pushback and other people are gaining more success.

Another indicator is if the person were to do what they did 5 years ago today, how would it be received.

A few years ago I started listening to a podcast that began a few years prior so I had hundreds of episodes to catch up on.

From the very first episode I listened to, I was hooked. I went back to the very beginning and worked my way through.

The podcast ended around a year after I started listening and I enjoyed it so much that I’ve gone back to the beginning and re-listened.

When I think about that podcast I honestly believe it was ahead of it’s time.

I’ve come across other people that are doing similar podcasts and I’ve come across people who started later and have had more ‘success’. Lastly, if the podcast I enjoyed started 5 years later than it did or even if it started today I’m certain I’d have liked it just as much if not more.

And so, I think it’s fair to say that the podcast was ahead of it’s time.

Procrastination and relying on stress

Anyone who regularly procrastinates will tell you that they want to do the thing but they just keep putting it off. Often when we procrastinate we justify it to ourselves by prioriting things with low urgency that still give us that good feeling of that comes from getting things done.

We tell ourselves we’ll start later or tomorrow and we convince ourselves that that we still have enough time to get it done.

But what tends to happen is we just continue to put things off more and more. We do this until our stress levels start to increase and we reach the point where if we don’t start now we’ll miss the deadline.

And so you finally begin.

I had a recent experience with procrastination and once the work was complete I ended up reflecting on my behaviour.

When you get into the habit of choosing to procrastinate until the last possible moment, you train yourself to rely on stress to get things done. And so the next time you have a deadline you’re unable to find the motivation because you’re waiting for the adrenaline to kick in.

I think there are 2 main ways to stop procrastinating.

The first way is to experience things going wrong as a result of your procrastination. When our habits have negative implications this encourages a change in behaviour. It might start with you giving yourself 5 days for something instead of two and slowly build up until you become someone who always makes sure they have enough time.

The second is to just start straight away next time. We tell ourselves it’s difficult to start and just decide that it’s true when it’s not at all. Starting takes a little effort and commitment but it’s not as challenging as you tell yourself.

It’ll probably help to remind yourself of the benefits of starting straight away like being able to work at a steady pace instead of having to cram everything into a short period of time.

If you’re someone with a habit of procrastinating, it might not seem easy to change but it’s definitely possible.

Caught in the act

Noticing your unhelpful habits as soon as they start to emerge is a skill worth learning. Instead of getting carried away and indulging in behaviour you’re likely to regret, stop.

Realise what you’re doing, realise why and make the conscious choice not too continue.

Before you get to that point you might find that you regularly have situations where you don’t show up as your best self, you don’t put in much effort or you’re not treating people how you want to be treated.

But those things aren’t helpful. It doesn’t benefit you to be half-hearted with your efforts or unkind to other people.

As soon you realise that, the more likely you are to catch yourself in the act the next time it happens until eventually you’re no longer giving in to your unhelpful habit.

The inconvenience of a tennis ball

When something is on your mind and you choose not to say it, the result is often unideal.

Let’s think of the thing you choose to hold in as a tennis ball. If you say it, you can drop the ball but if you don’t say it, you have to carry the ball around with you.

At first, it doesn’t really bother you because a tennis ball isn’t particularly big and you can carry it in one hand with no issue.

But after a few hours, days or weeks it starts to become an inconvenience.

We sometimes kid ourselves that things don’t bother us but then a few weeks later it’s still on our mind, the tennis ball is still in your hand.

And like with the tennis ball concept, we end up telling ourselves that it doesn’t matter because it’s small or easy to carry. But if you apply this mentality, you’ll find yourself carrying several tennis balls.

The point is that you don’t have to.

When you allow yourself to hold on to lots of little things, they eventually become a great burden instead of a potentially short conversation that you can move on from.

Enjoy the moment

If you’re someone that writes you might find that you rarely allow yourself to just be in the moment. The most wonderful thing could be happening but your mind is already looking back on it or thinking about how best to capture it.

Instead of just being in the moment, you’re observing it so that when it comes to writing about it you have all the details.

In some ways it could be considered a good thing.

But when you’re in an experience and you have the intentions of writing about it, you might find that you change your behaviour.

You end up saying or doing things to suit the narrative of what you want to write.

In turn you don’t allow yourself to be fully immersed in the experience.

Sometimes you need to decide to put the writing aside and just enjoy the moment.

Changing your mind

When you’re vocal about your beliefs and the things you want to do in your life, it can be difficult when you change your mind.

If you openly displayed yourself to the world in a particular way, major change (especially if it contradicts with your existing aims) will come with judgement.

It will come from strangers and people around you but it will also come from yourself. You judge yourself because you have difficulty comprehending and accepting that a person can hold a set of beliefs and then months or years later decide to reject them in favour of something else.

That internal judgement matters more than the judgement we receive from others because if you can’t understand yourself and the choices you’re making, what does that say about who you are?