“I make a lot of proclamations, don’t I?” I asked J yesterday morning.
We were at brunch at a cafe we like after having run “Cardiac Hill” in Berkeley, CA and I proclaimed that I would spend 3 hours at the Mills Library that day to do work. The day before, I’d proclaimed that I was going to follow a new exercise schedule for myself. The day before that, I turned down sweets because I’d previously proclaimed that I would only eat sweets on Fridays, but had already eaten them twice that week!
Recently, I have variously proclaimed that I would:
Shower daily, clear old boxes twice a month, only eat sweets on Fridays, go to bed at 8:30pm, not read Game of Thrones except whilst in bed. That I would put 40% of my income into savings, that I would take daily breaks at work, that I would grade papers daily, that I would be outside for 45 minutes each afternoon…
Some of these proclamations have held fast, some have been loosely worn, and some haven’t taken hold at all (mainly the ones related to work).
After returning from brunch yesterday, I crawled back into bed and nap/rested for another hour (Come on! — we were up at 7am and it’s not called “Cardiac” for nothing!), and was then so sleepy/sloggy that going all the way out to the college library seemed silly. …
I did spend about 1.5 hours on workywork (though not in a row!), but didn’t get to any of my Goals Group writing that I intended, and needed, to do.
(Would it be ironic to mention that much of my Goals Group work this round will be about time-management!?)
It’s important for me to recognize that my life is a process and an unfolding. It’s not a “one and done,” it’s not a “get it perfect every day.” Perhaps like you, I hold myself to incredibly high standards, but take it viciously hard when I don’t meet those standards. Or, if not vicious toward myself, certainly mildly aggrieved that I haven’t accomplished what I intended.
There is absolutely a balance that is needed between setting goals, reaching them, and the esteem that comes from such effort, and allowing for the humanity, imperfection, and dynamism of everyday life.
I have not yet found this balance!
And so, I make proclamations. Some of them have improved the quality of my life by taking the questioning out (e.g. all the esteemable habit calendar work I’d done… until I got through one month and have yet to print out a new calendar sheet). With others of my proclamations, I’m trying to hone in on the right apportioning of effort and devotion of time. (Indeed, today, I’m up about 20 minutes early because I have some grading to do at work that needled at my sleep.)
I don’t necessarily desire to see my proclamations subside, but I do wonder if turning them into habits, natural parts of my life and day, would enable me to remove the judgment from achieving them or not. Because, as Oprah intoned this morning, “Judgment, simply put, is fear.”