It’s almost incomprehensible to me that it’s already (the end of) May, and we’re nearly halfway through the year – it’s gone so fast! But that’s OK – there have definitely been times in my life where I’ve felt like I’m just drifting through and not achieving anything, but so far this year that really hasn’t been the case. I had a pretty distinct mindset change at the start of this year, and it’s had a really positive impact on just about everything, and I thought it was important enough to write it down and maybe reflect on it a bit more. Truthfully, I’ve been meaning to do this for a while but things have been fairly hectic – mostly in a good way though. So here goes.
The tone of my last post was pretty low, and that probably reflects how I was feeling at the time. I was tired, unhappy in my job, feeling pretty underappreciated at home, and struggling with injuries in the gym – I didn’t feel like there was much to be happy about. I did some deep thinking, and decided that I really had to change something. What do?
Six months later I’m in a new job, I’ve reduced my debt levels by downgrading cars, I’ve finished a few long overdue projects around the house, and the gym is going better than it has in a long time – I’m actually squatting pain free for the first time in a couple of years, and actually feeling pretty positive about hitting some decent numbers in an online meet next month.
How the hell did this happen?
I’m not sure anyone will care about the details, so maybe I’ll spare you the whole story. The summary answer would be that I stopped putting pressure on myself to get things done on strict timelines and just focussed on making progress one step at a time. More succinctly, I made the decision that progress itself is the goal, not completing the task at hand. Where previously I wasn’t happy unless I finished a certain task or goal by an arbitrary deadline, I told myself that so long as I am doing something to progress towards that particular goal, that in itself is progress. Life will throw spanners in the works sometimes, but just roll with them and do what you can do – show some self compassion, take breaks when you need them, and push hard when you’re able. Some days you’ll get a lot done, and other days you won’t. Somehow this simple change which seems so minor has released a ton of mostly self-imposed pressure.
One of the things that probably encapsulates that mindset change is the Easter weekend which I’d earmarked to replace our laundry door. I fitted up the new one on the Saturday, then took it down again and we painted it. Early on the Sunday morning I took the old one down again ready to install the new one and just as I was about to do that, a pipe burst in our bathroom and partially flooded the lower floor of our house. That wasn’t ideal, and I had to make an emergency dash into town to buy parts, fix the problem, and start trying to dry out the carpet – bearing in mind at this point we had a laundry with no door.
Somehow we got through that day, the door did get installed, and everything worked out fine (although it took weeks for our carpet and underlay to dry, and the joins will never be the same again after we ripped it up). But where a year or so ago that would’ve sent me into a spin, this time it wasn’t a huge deal and I would’ve been OK with putting the door off for another day. Stuff happens sometimes, and that’s OK – we just have to roll with it.
Life still isn’t perfect, and I definitely still have my bad and unhappy days – but I think it’s been a big step forward so hopefully that keeps going.