There’s so much I want to do, big things I want to achieve and I do realize that the only way to get there is to work and work hard. And you know what they say, with great dreams come great… frustration. Yes.
I’ve been prey to frustration for a while now so I’ve learned to work through it and I’ve got my ways to cope with it and overcome it. But these first three months have brought me a big wave which I wasn’t expecting, me being a hopeful cookie at the start of this new year, and it got me down a bit. And so, I’m writing this post as a reminder…
I always hear people telling me “I’m being hard on myself” and I’m always like “uhh, no?…” I see where they’re coming from, and from their perspective, sure, it kinda seems like it. But from my perspective, I could use some more self-discipline! It’s just because I’m setting the bar high and I can’t be satisfied until I reach it (SPOILER: hasn’t happened yet) and go beyond.
I’ve got big goals, big dreams. And the frustration comes from the fact that, in all the bigness of ‘my life as I intend it to be‘, I am so small. I’m barely getting started and I’m only taking baby steps. Even my big steps end up feeling like baby steps when I look back. And that’s frustrating because I can’t seem to move as fast as I would like to.
That is not a good thing because I usually end up turning that frustration into a stick to beat myself with. Well, that sounds weird!.. But what I mean is that I end up getting mad at myself, or just intensely disappointed whenever I feel like I didn’t work hard enough on everything. Which is pretty much everyday lately.
And that also leads me to feeling unworthy of things like a movie or a little snooze in the morning. Because of the whole work/reward thing, you know? My brain is very good deed-treat orientated. You gotta deserve your fun, you know what I mean? As much as I think that’s the way to go, that is not okay and I’m working on getting back the right balance of discipline and necessary down time.
The thing is that, I’m trying. And I am working. Maybe not as much as I’d like, because I can get lazy or distracted, I run out of time, of energy, etc. (Or I get sick or it snows all of the sudden and we’re all locked in the house. Ah, life and its many surprises. I’m still not over it… >w<) But I am working. So I gotta stop saying and thinking “I didn’t do anything at all this week” because I did. And I have proof.
I have an “action tracker” in my bujo which is basically here to track what I do. There are many things in here like some skills I’m trying to develop (left-handedness or Italian for example), habits I’m trying to EX-TER-MI-NATE (like snoozing or endlessly scrolling down my social media feeds) or vastly decrease (my chocolate and dairy intake… 😦 for the sake of my voice!), or things that I know I gotta do to keep healthy (working out and socializing HAHAHAHAHA). And, of course, I track my investment in my big pillars. They’re the ones right at the top of the page. Guitar, music theory, voice, sight reading and art.
Side note: I also track my interactions with my family. Just to point out how terrible a sister/daughter I am. Lolzor
And so, last night I was just about to beat myself up once more until I opened my tracker and looked at it as I was filling it for the day. Yesterday, I knew that I was wasting my time, just fooling around and did not work on the things I had planned seriously enough. But when I looked at my tracker, it made me realized, I did something. And I’ve been doing things, even when I feel like I didn’t do anything. Because, I have such high standards and such violent dreams that I’ve started to see whatever is under a certain amount of work as NOTHING.
And that, my friends, is some big fucking bullshit and it has to be stopped.
I posted this picture of my tracker on my Instagram last night as my thoughts merged into yet another reminder to celebrate every victory. I’m pretty sure I’ve written a post about that already (HERE).
No matter how small a victory might seem, it’s still a victory and, in fact, it’s always bigger than you imagine. Baby steps are still steps. At least you’re trying, and at least you’re moving, even if slower than you’d like. It’s still progress. And that is something. Because some people only spend their life dreaming and wishing. And you, even if you’re not the Usain Bolt of dreamers-achievers, are moving closer to those goals of yours by the hour.
Back in December, I had a quote right next to my tracker to remind me that success is indeed found in the act. It might not have felt like much but my tracker shows I’ve actually been doing something. It wasn’t much but it sure wasn’t nothing either. The quote is from one of Robin Clonts’ painting videos when she speaks about the book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Monson and how it helped her. I think you should watch that video by the way, because it touches the subjects of perfectionism and failure and has really nice advice in it!!
Use action as [your] motivator. And find success in the simple act of creating.
It gets hard sometimes. I know. It can get really dark too and frustrating. And sometimes you might even feel like giving up, no matter how much the thing you’re working for matters to you. But I’m here to tell you, don’t put so much pressure on yourself or you’ll get burned. You’re only human. Sometimes it’s hard to find enough energy to work as hard as your hope-filled mind dreams of. Sometimes emotions take over or life gets in the way. You can’t always be 200%. Don’t expect all your days to be filled with intense work and so much sweat you’d drown in it. Because they won’t. And they don’t have to be.
Progress is a process. And it’s fine sometimes, especially when you’re still at the start of your journey, to go slow and take small steps. I know it’s hard and frustrating, we all want to be super good at it already. But it doesn’t work like that. The key is perseverance. Keep at it. And don’t let go. Some days will be more productive than others. Just don’t lose hope and don’t lose sight of that bright horizon. Keep swimming towards it.
It’s more than okay to have high standards (and only people with low standards will tell you otherwise… like, no, don’t aim too high because I don’t so why should you? Screw that and aim over the moon if that’s high enough for you.). But don’t beat yourself up too much. A little kick in the ass goes a long way. But you’re still human and you can’t expect yourself to keep working on something if it only brings more struggle and negativity in your life. Know that it’s okay to rest and okay to take a break. And remember to celebrate every step because, big or small, they are all part of the journey that leads you to wherever that is you wanna be.
Don’t lose hope and remember what you’re fighting for and why you’re fighting for it. Don’t lose sight of the goal but don’t lose sight of the flame inside either. The second worse thing you can do, the first being giving up, is let your journey to turning your dreams into reality become a hassle and a must-do, have-to, self-torture one. It is not easy but make sure it is still enjoyable. Because you’re doing it out of passion not obligation.
Self-discipline is required. But don’t beat the dreams out of you. Make sure you have a healthy relationship with yourself and your work. Keep your body healthy, keep your mind sane enough and then do as much as you can but don’t drain your own spirit. Don’t let frustration take the good away from you.
This post is more for me than for anyone else. Really just speaking to myself. But I’m sure some of you needed to read that anyway. If you did, don’t thank me, thank yourself. And feel free to share your frustration in the comments (nobody will read them anyways hahahah jk).
Until next post, embrace the baby steps! ❤
P.S.: here’s my Facebook profile picture from when I was 16 with the quote that accompanied it (followed by a “Until my fingers bleed <3” haha cute