Making Progress #3 – Choosing to cut out the distractions

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I’ve been writing about making changes in my life – I’ve listed some of them in this post. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying, sometimes getting somewhere and sometimes falling down. I’ve also been avoiding action, getting annoyed with myself and wondering why I’m not following through. And I’ve been tempted to reset my goals again, or change my methids.

But I haven’t, yet. Because underneath it all, a key aim is to stick with my goals, and to keep trying to continue the approaches I’ve agreed to use. It’s so easy to look at alternatives as a means to avoid starting, or continuing, to reach my goals.

There are so many different approaches available to sample, to think about, to consider. If you want to, you could spend your whole time researching, and reading, and contemplating changes – but not actually making any real changes. Which can lead to a lot of frustration. As I know.

So I’m writing this post, mostly as a reminder to myself about the reasons I want to change:

  • to improve my health;
  • to connect more with those people who form my family, community, tribe;
  • to make changes in a voluntary or financial way to live out our values.

I’m also writing it as a kick up the pants to stop procrastinating.

I have time – if I allocate it – to Work towards these outcomes. The process might be slow at first. I will become more efficient over time as the changes become more habitual. And I’ll learn some more efficient ways of doing things, and hopefully my energy levels will improve, which will help. But to start with, yes, the changes are mostly happening slowly. Which is frustrating.

To deal with the frustration, and not give up, or think another approach will work better, I need to focus. And to accept the choices I’ve made, and am making every day.

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For me, Choosing can be hard. Because Making a choice means:

Having to let go of other options

This means accepting I have limits – time, emotional energy, physical energy, mental focus, and financial limits.

I can’t do it all. Certainly not all at once.

(And actually, I don’t really want to do it all – I like the sense of achievement when I have completed something and can savour it, rather than rushing to the next thing. I just don’t, often, like missing out on other things. Yes, I am aware that these two points are in themselves contradictory. The contradiction trips me up. A lot. It’s something I am still puzzling out). 

Distractions are tempting. There are lots of wonderful options (as I’ve said). And over time, my goals might change and modify (plus some great opportunities might come my way). That’s wonderful. But in the present time, my aims are important.  If I’m going to achieve them, I can’t add a lot more to my life, at least while I’m still making the changes.

The bright, shiny exciting alternatives are a distraction. I need to block them, where possible.

Taking a risk, and maybe getting it wrong

Do you know what I mean? ‘If only I could find the best diet program, the best exercise approach, the best way to organise my day to day life’ – I could add ‘if I had the best job for me’, probably too. The list is really endless. 

We are often sold a lie, I think, that there is a ‘best’ in so many things. I don’t know where that lie comes from -ourselves, others, or a bit of both – but it probably doesn’t matter. The point is, there is no ‘one’ best way to do things. If there was, I’d probably have found it (I’ve definitely been hunting for a long time.)

After researching – not for too long – approaches that seem logical, understandable / not too complicated to enact, and that I can potentially manage (for instance, the ingredients are reasonably accessible, there are exercise options that you can do working around family commitments, and so on), that’s enough. Choose one. Schedule the time required. And do my best to follow through in actioning it. That’s the ‘best’ way.

Accepting that change can be uncomfortable

I’ve just realised that by hunting for ‘the best’ approach I’m really looking for ‘the easy way which will work straight away’. Whoever said change was going to be ‘easy’? I’m changing elements of who I am – there’s going to be an impact. I need to accept there will be some discomfort.

I can, however, remove some barriers to make change less difficult.

For instance, scheduling is one of these. I put a lot of pressure on myself timetabling my day in my head. Which makes it very hard to keep track of where I need to focus next. I’m slowly introducing external triggers – reminders – that take the burden off my mind and allow me the mental focus to action my goals.

Stop comparing myself with others

I need to keep remembering this. This is my life, and my aspirations, not anyone else’s. Focus on what’s important for me, and work towards that.

I also need to remember, that with all these directives at myself (‘I need to …’), that I need to be a bit forgiving with myself. Yes, it might require a bit more self-compassion (that thing I know is so important, but which I struggle with. Maybe I need to practice self compassion in my struggle with self compassion! But you get the point …)

 

So back to my goals.

I am still tackling some changes to meals (lunchtimes especially) and morning exercise routine. Evening meals are improving, which is great, and I have a long weekend ahead, where I am going to reinvigorate my exercise process. Let’s see how I go!

 

 

What major changes have you made in your life?
How did you go about it? What worked for you - and what didn't?

 

Resources:

Both the images I used came from sites with useful tips:

  • Becoming minimalist has become a bit of an institution, with nearly 500,000 people following the blog, facebook page, reading Joshua Becker’s words, and so on. And for good reason. It really focuses on stripping life back to what’s important, and has a wealth of inspiring quotes (such as the one I’ve included above, from the facebook site), great sources of information about how to work out what you value, where to focus, and how to minimise distractions.
  • I don’t know anything about Barbara Ann Williams, other than I searched for an image and the post-it note one came up. And so I read the post and liked it even more. Check it out: Getting rid of distractions for clarity.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Making Progress #3 – Choosing to cut out the distractions

  1. Change can be so hard can’t it? I’ve been working with a life coach over the past few months and I’m finding that’s really helping in setting and achieving goals. I think the key is to break things down into small, achievable steps rather than trying to do everything at once. You’ll get there x

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  2. It’s the choices that are hard. I was contemplating a choice between a beer and chips on Friday evening with my husband OR going to Zumba. Clearly the Zumba choice is better, but the beer and chips won out (as always!). Perhaps I shouldn’t entertain the choice – Friday evenings are now Zumba nights – followed by a beer if I go to class. All good in theory. Truth is, I know what I need to do, it’s the actual ‘doing’ that is the challenge for me!

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