Reflect on How Far You’ve Come, Not How Far You Have Left to Go
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It’s nearing the end of September and I’ve been feeling a mix of emotions. About once a week I have the sort of day that makes me want to cuddle up with some warm blankets, and just sleep the day away. Probably because I’m tired from a long week of work, but also because I’m anxious about how much work I’ve yet to do.
Now that I’m working on a lot of my own projects (and customer projects) it feels like every time I cross any item off my to-do list, I add three more. It’s hard to feel like I’m accomplishing anything at all when my lists just keep growing.
A few weeks ago I happened across an old gem. It was the first website I ever made. At a young 13 years old, my web design skills were just beginning to blossom (read that with a hint of sarcasm) and my writing was…well… you can decide that for yourself.
TheWriteKids.50megs.com - link opens in new window so you can enjoy some laughter.
Finding that site was the medicine I needed to keep my engine turning. Why? Because now I can turn around well configured websites with eye-catching designs in under a week, depending on the size. That kid-website reminded me of where I started as a kid, and how far I’ve come in just a few short months as a freelance web designer and blogger.
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day hustle. Our task lists are ever growing and our long-term goals seem frighteningly unachievable with shortsighted vision. But ultimately it’s perspective that will get us through and keep pushing us forward.
Like yesterday’s workout. It was an awful 1-mile run and 250 burpees. Ouch, it hurts just to type those words. After dragging my feet for 1600m, I threw myself onto the ground and stood up consistently for about 32 minutes. I clocked the entire workout in just over 40 minutes and was feeling a bit embarrassed that it took me so long.
But then I remembered that a year ago, I didn’t even know what a true burpee was. Yesterday I did 250 of them… that’s progress.
It’s not always easy to maintain a positive perspective. We all have bad days, but there’s almost certainly a way to reframe the situation, no matter what it might be. Without the right perspective, it’s easy to lose sight of how far you’ve come and instead allow yourself to get lost in the unknown of how far you have left to go.
Tackle your goals in the same way my coach told me to tackle the 250 burpees. Don’t think, “Shit, I have 231 left to go.” Think about doing small sets at a time. Congratulate yourself on finishing 19 reps, and get your ass up and keep going. Make small, achievable goals, and do everything in your power to achieve them. If you fail, fail fast, learn where you went wrong, correct your error, and try again.
Your goals might not be physical like finishing 250 burpees was, but the mental game rings true for so many things in our lives. Try it out and let me know how it goes. But, more importantly, don’t quit before you even given yourself a chance to succeed. Keep a positive perspective and keep going.
Dory said, “Just keep swimming” and Dory’s always right, right?
P.S. If you're looking for a great workout and you're in the Buffalo area (and the 250 burpee thing didn't scare you away) - check out CrossFit Amherst.