Get a Pen and Paper: Pop Quiz!
Today’s bonus question: what did you do today that you also did yesterday? Can you think of anything?
Let’s make it a little harder: did you do it the day before? Did you do it last week?
If it is difficult to think of something, maybe you’re trying too hard. Take something simple: I showered. I ate pizza. I meditated. Write it down, along with as many other things you can think of.
OK, now for another list – go ahead, start a new sheet of paper. This time, write down the three most important things that you think you should be doing. Your big goals, the projects that you dream of, the things that you say you’ll get to when things “calm down” (such a lovely euphemism!).
Again, don’t think too hard; you can put something big like “Work on my Great Novel” or something small like “Floss“.
Last step, I promise: for each of those three things, put a little check mark next to it for every concrete time you can remember actually doing it. By concrete, I mean that you actually have a date in your mind that you remember doing the thing. I remember opening the rough draft file last thursday is concrete. I think maybe I exercised yesterday – no, wait, was that the day before? is not so concrete.
The Grade You’ve Made
Take a look at the list. What you’re looking at is possibly a stark contrast. Your Every Day Practices – EDP, to borrow some geek traditions – are the reality of what you value, of what your priorities are.
I am not saying they are what is important to you – it’s entirely possible that something like “eat healthy” is important to you. At the same time, when pizza comes your way, it becomes a priority, and so you eat some – perhaps even doing it with a thought of I’ll just work out extra tomorrow. Aside from the fact that the caloric value of that slice is much more than you likely expect, unless exercise is somewhere high on the first list or has a lot of check marks on the second then you are basically engaging in a cheese-laden form of self-sabotage.
Don’t feel bad; most of us do it at one time or another. It’s through lists like these that we learn our patterns, and then get to choose what we want to change. It really doesn’t matter which list you decide to adjust – it’s just kind of important that your actions align, to some extent, with your intent.
Otherwise you’re basically flailing about like Alice and the Red Queen, running as fast as you can to stay in the same place.
Surely you owe yourself better than that?