November 2018 Newsletter
Hello, and a nurturing November to you!
Pushing your limits gently
Welcome, or welcome back, to my newsletter.
Today's issue is about pushing your limits, gently.
If you've ever been on a sports team with a demanding coach,
or had a bossy teacher or a parent who was always pushing you,
you know the feeling of wanting to rebel, even if what that
authority is requiring of you would help you improve. I've met
people who were on sports teams in school, then never did anything
athletic after they graduated, saying the pushy coach ruined it
for them. To me this is sad. How do we motivate ourselves to
keep going, without treating ourselves like lazy slackers?
For much of my own life I was pushed, especially with household chores as a child,
and academically. Perfect was barely good enough! Then I took on the role
of taskmaster, driving myself relentlessly. I gained some satisfaction from
my accomplishments, but I wasn't having much fun. If I wasn't producing, I
felt like I was wasting time. It took a while for me to change my approach, setting
small reasonable goals I could reach, and aiming for things I wanted myself,
not what someone else wanted for me.
Looking back at when I was "driving and striving", a perfectionist approach
which would burn up anyone's circuits, I realize now one big mistake I made was taking
on too much at once. If my task list is too long and I don't get it all done,
I'm not a failure, I just have an impossible assignment! Now I start each day
with a list of 2 or 3 main things I'd like to accomplish, or make significant
progress with. There are usually new things which arise I didn't plan for,
so I leave some room in my schedule for those. These could range from a
computer problem to my partner or a friend needing some of my time, and I
want to be available to the people who are most important to me. Sometimes I
surprise myself and have a little extra time after my tasks are done, and I can
go for a walk or do something else enjoyable. I don't have to start on tomorrow's
list until tomorrow.
You may have seen me write before about baby steps, that doing even a tiny bit is
better than doing nothing at all. That demanding coach wouldn't have been happy with
you only doing 5 push-ups when he wanted 20, but you can be happy with that, if it's
all you have in you today. That's 5 more than a lot of folks did! If a big task seems
overwhelming to me, so I procrastinate about starting it, one "trick" which helps me is
just this. I break it down into more manageable pieces. Then instead of getting discouraged
because I didn't write an entire newsletter in a single day, I'm pleased that I chose a
theme and made a rough outline of what I wanted to say. That mountain before me doesn't
look so huge now.
To expand your limits in any area, it helps to see it as a game, the child's point of view. Nothing is
really a mistake. If it doesn't work, just try something else! I think we're here to learn and grow and
connect with others, yes, and also to enjoy ourselves. So as you expand your limits and become even more
of who you're meant to be, don't forget to have fun while you're doing that.
Remember what you've succeeded at in the past, and that it's OK to be a beginner
and make mistakes when you start something new. Adults, especially those who are
competent at many things, can get tripped up when faced with a challenge which
is radically different than their experience, and can be discouraged at being (and being seen
as) a "beginner". There is no shame in being a newbie! Let your inner child out,
who loves to learn and grow and play.
To read about how I pushed my visual limits to be comfortable
driving in fog,
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You're helping many other people!
Enjoy the start of your November. as we ease into the holiday season.
I'll write again in a couple of weeks. Take care!