This summer has been a little bit of a quiet whirlwind – if that makes sense. I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and working at my ~remote~ internship, which keeps me productive enough while still having plenty of time to pursue my own goals.
If only I’d hit my goals.
If only I had accomplished my summer goals by now…
I recently started reading a book on habits titled Good Habits, Bad Habits and the first third of the book debunks all of the lies we’ve inherited about habit formation and gives scientific proof and studies showing why we’re wrong. We so often believe that not hitting our goals is about willpower and determination. If only we wanted to go to the gym five times a week, we’d go. If only we wanted to learn how to sew, we’d learn.
The insane focus on willpower forgets two important things – context and environment.
Context is the circumstances you’re currently living in. Having your own space versus sharing it might be the reason as to why you do less at home workouts than you desire. Working the night shift might be the factor as to why you never have energy to work on your personal project. You may have too much on your plate right now. You may be preoccupied with helping a loved one that you don’t have as much energy to focus on your own goals.
Related Post: Give Her Grace
Environment is the physical space you exist in. The simple fact that you live a few blocks away from the gym gives you more of a chance to workout more often. Perhaps it’s the library that you pass by every day from work giving you the inspiration to work through your 2021 Goodreads Reading Challenge. In more negative cases, it’s the easily accessible junk food or entertainment keeping you from your goals.
While intentions are cool and we make a big fuss about them, they’re not as important (in my humble opinion) as context and environment.
Back to my summer.
I had big plans. And in some senses, I’m failing. I haven’t recorded a single podcast episode yet, but I’ve been overflowing with ideas. I haven’t been super consistent with working out AT ALL. Although I’ve networked, it’s not nearly to where my networking goal was set. Overall, I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do.
And that’s okay.
You might be thinking that I have little willpower or that I’m lazy or that I’m just not intrinsically motivated enough to accomplish all my goals. But remember – context and environment.
Context-wise – it’s summertime. As a college student, this is my downtime before the world gets busy and active again. So instead of being super productive like I aspired, I’ve actually been resting more. More consistent sleep. More time with family. And trying to spend less time with a screen. I’d rather be well-rested for the school year than be wiped out for my last year of college.
Related Post: The Importance of Rest
Environment-wise – it’s a lot more energy to get working than it is to relax. The lack of some external authority presiding over my future (as the authority is me) is making it really difficult for any of my goals to seem particularly pressing. Even though networking is actually time sensitive. (Oh well. *shrugs*) It’s a lot easier for me to read a book – whether physical or ebook and enjoy that rather than perusing LinkedIn – but I definitely need to follow up on my fellow coworkers and get some connections for the radio/podcast world.
Incidentally, I’ve learned a few things from failing in the traditional sense (when others see what you haven’t accomplished).
- While there are some habits I know I should do for my mental and spiritual health (quiet time + prayer), it’s good to let some things go (working out super consistently).
- Some habits become natural when you build them into other things. Washing my face in the shower is SUCH a game changer. Shutting my phone off when I look at the time as I journal before bed. Sleeping deeply and awaking without an alarm leads to me being an early riser (provided I get into bed before 12ish).
- Letting go of the need to do everything on a routine allows me to factor in the ebb and flow of life and accept what I need versus forcing what I want.
I haven’t accomplished what I set out to do…and that’s okay.
And that’s it, folks.
Side note – took a mini blog break. Not intentional but sometimes it’s good to step back. Still loving this platform. I just needed to rest for a bit. See you later, friends!