Nobody’s perfect. (Thank God, am I right?) There are all things we beat ourselves up about, such as wanting to be better at saving $$$, wishing we got more physical activity within the work week, maybe we wish we spoke up more at staff meetings, or maybe we wish we didn’t eat meals out as often. Maybe we wish we read more. Maybe we wish we were more caught up on the news, or maybe we wish we kept in touch with our friends in different states better. (This is starting to sound like a very sad Dr. Seuss Book). At any rate, many of us have habits we’d like to adjust, however big or small.
Now, I don’t know how you deal with your set of habits you’d like to alter, but for me, they turn into this glaring billboard of my own perceived inadequacies. (All my Type A buddies out there put your hands up! ) And then instead of wanting to set realistic goals or habit nudges for myself, I just completely reject them altogether. No one wants to be nagged, even (or especially?) if the nag is coming from your inner critic.
Our quest for personal growth should never be another count of us being too hard on ourselves. That defeats the purpose of personal growth entirely. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember along the path of personal growth is that you are not your habits. You are a living, breathing, autonomous, beautiful being who is growing all the time.
And honestly, if there are things that you’d like to change about your life or your routine or the way you approach challenges or anything under the sun, really, that means that you are open and reflective and aware– and that, my friend, deserves a self high five in and of itself. One of my favorite quotes is by Sophia Bush: “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.” I have essentially made it my mantra, and, if I may, I encourage you to do the same.
So. back to the issue at hand. We have these habit-related goals, but they morph into a self-nag. What has worked for me in the past (and very recently), is to put some
space between myself and those goals, in the vein of us being more than our habits. If there’s something I want to work on, I turn it into a challenge with some sort of fun quest aspect, and that way if I “fall short”, the allure of entering back into the challenge still exists, rather than us beating ourself up about it. Gameifying ain’t just for apps and websites, y’all.
A concrete example that worked for me recently was inspired by my own lamenting the fact that I should really be walking to and from work, because a) it’s only a 25 minute walk (same amount of time as taking the bus), b) a great way to start the day and decompress at the end of the day c) word on the street is that physical activity is like, really really good for you. Every time I opted for the bus I felt a twinge of “dude, come ONNNN Haley.” So to shake things up and get a break from my guilt, I instead gave myself a challenge: 100 days of walking to or from work, and each day I document something eye-catching during my commute on Instagram. If I skip a day it’s not the end of the world, but I’ve begun to really look forward to my morning walks and keeping an eye for day-to-day inspiration along the way.
DIY Project: Turn your self-nag into a light hearted challenge
Good for: budgeting, activity goals, organizational goals, social goals, sky’s the limit…
Cost: zero dollars. And if your goal
so happens to be financially related, maybe you even end up saving more money?….
Time requirement: entirely depends on the challenge you set for yourself, which means it’s totally customizable to your needs 🙂
Why: I guess what I’m trying to say in the grand scheme of things is: don’t be so hard on yourself, if at first you don’t succeed try, try, again, and last but not least, enjoy the process of whatever you’re trying to strengthen or tweak.
One of my Instagram posts from a recent walk to work– these wicker chairs were among the several sets of eye-catching pairs I saw that morning
the views on my way home from work this evening were ahh-maaa-zing. Thanks, self-challenge!