A few weeks ago, I was visiting a lab at my undergrad university. On one of the walls in the lab was a sign. The sign read:
Don’t rely on motivation for anything. It is fleeting and unreliable. Discipline, however, is unyielding. Force yourself to follow through.
Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about that sign and its message. As far as Bearz Repeating goes, this month has been dreadful: I’ve written one post when I should have finished four, and that one was both late and fairly content-light. Thinking back on the past month, it’s clear that I’ve been running low on motivation this November, and that I’ve lacked the discipline to make up for it.
So what’s the solution? To be honest, I don’t fully know. But I think this post is a good start. It’s admitting that I’ve screwed up, but also giving myself permission to move on. That doesn’t mean I have to be happy about the fact that I didn’t deliver on my promises to you, my readers. But I can’t change the past. Acknowledging that it happened, and figuring out how to improve, are far better than avoiding the truth. (It turns out there’s science behind this.)
Plus, writing feels good. Reminding myself of that is important, too — even though this emotion falls under the category of motivation, rather than real discipline. Even so, in spite of its somewhat difficult content, I’ve enjoyed writing this article. For the first time in a while, I have more thoughts and more words than I need, which means I get to select and deploy only the best, choicest sentences and ideas, saving the others for later, in a post where they are better suited. This is an enviable place to be in, and it makes me very excited for the future.
For now, my focus is building better discipline. If you have suggestions about this, let me know! I’m all ears.
Having reflected on my own habits, one strategy I want to employ is focusing on particular projects on certain days of the week — and actually maintaining that schedule consistently. In spite of writing about it earlier, I haven’t been doing a great job at separating urgent tasks from important ones. That’s resulted in my choice of what to work on being fairly haphazard and highly dependent on what happens to have my attention at the moment. While this sort of “bursty” work pattern is acceptable for some projects, it’s not sustainable in the long-term. It also makes it difficult to predict when I’ll finish a project, and it doesn’t work well for tasks with strict deadlines (like Bearz Repeating).
So with that in mind, I’m re-committing to the goal of finishing Bearz Repeating before the Wednesday deadline — on Mondays, specifically. Even though I’m apprehensive about failing again, it feels good to set a specific goal I can work towards. So I’m already looking forward to this coming Monday. And if you know me on Facebook, feel free to be my “accountabili-buddy” and ask me how things are going!
See you Wednesday.