I’ve started to realize that the road to one’s ultimate success is very personal. Everyone, including me, will be quick to tell you about perseverance, hard work and having a vision, but the struggle, I have found, is a very subjective experience.
When plans don’t go as expected, that’s when the real test comes in, and that’s when the negative chatter in your mind really starts to bother you. We have become so used to the ideas that success means “giving 200% every single day” that we believe if we didn’t give our ALL that day, that even the little we did meant absolutely nothing.
This was what I was feeling about a month ago, when I went on leave. I am still feeling the remnants of it, but I am getting myself back on track. I had created a really good routine for myself and it was working quite well. I did not anticipate how much going on leave would alter my routine, because I had so much more time. As a result, I wanted to write the whole month off as a failure because I did not finish everything I wanted to do. I was really frustrated with myself. I started contemplating slowing down on things.
And I know that eventually, I could have given up altogether.
But I was reminded of a very important lesson by James Clear in his most recent article: that it is not about perfection, but consistency. If you have an “all or nothing” mentality, you will eventually burn out.
A lot of us fail because when we have set up a goal, or an end we want to reach, we believe that if we are not doing everything we can every single day to make things happen, then we might as well not be doing anything at all. I used to believe that, but not anymore.
Again, you may not agree with me, and that is OK. I believe that the road to success is a very personal journey. Choose a formula that will work for you and stick with it. Also, and most importantly, give yourself a good enough margin for error. Kindly remember that you are not a robot.
Sometimes I stress myself into a headache, and that’s when I know I have overdone it.
Another point to remember: if you are the same person psyching yourself up to be consistent, then you cannot be the same person breaking yourself down when things go wrong. The “all or nothing” mentality as James Clear puts it is a very temporary state that will lead to you quitting altogether. You need to create your own self-support system on those bad days when absolutely nothing is working the way you want it to!
How To Prevent Ultimate Failure
What I am learning about this journey is that if I am not careful and decide to look at life from the perspective of “go, go go!” every single time, then I will definitely get tired and let go. I love the virtues of hard work, discipline and persistence, but when you feel like your energy has been compromised to a large extent, then it is important to give your brain and yourself a break. Just remind yourself now and again, when you are under a lot of pressure that there is no reason to kill yourself over a project, especially one which you have created and are building from the ground up. This goes for fitness regiments, and other life-changes that you decide to make. It is about the journey, not the destination!
Having said this, it is also important to have a delicate balance between taking a break and being on go-mode. You do not want to give yourself such a long break that when you get back to your routine, it feels like you need to start all over again. You do need your own push factor to get yourself back on track. You have a balancing act to do here, which is motivating yourself to be consistent, but also being self-compassionate enough to go easy on yourself when you do not meet your “quota”. E.g. If you decided to work out for 4 days out of the week, and you worked out for 2, that, to me, is better than not having worked out at all, don’t you think? I see no reason to beat yourself up whenever you have not fulfilled what you said you would. Choose to encourage rather than chastise yourself!
Question: what do you usually do when you have fallen short of your goals? I’d love to read your comments and thoughts below. Also, if you have beg to differ on this issue, I would love to read your perspective. Your feedback is appreciated!