Yesterday I realized I had a problem. It came when I wanted to eat shortly after I’d had lunch and I was trying to convince myself that I would decide what I would do while I had a snack. Problem was, I finished my snack and still didn’t know what I wanted to do. Rather, I just felt hungry again, even though I knew I wasn’t.
I forced myself to get to painting, but I suddenly saw a scary pattern. I’d been eating instead of doing the work. Critical voice was convincing me that I needed to eat on my breaks and “figure out what to do next” so I’d “have the energy to work.” No wonder (shocker!) I’d been putting on weight once again.
I went to bed last night knowing that I’d have over 3,000 words to write today to reach my writing goal for the week and I asked why I keep doing this to myself. I mean, yes, I can do it, but why do I keep putting myself in this situation?
Today, while I was trying to get the writing done, I asked myself if I was intentionally setting myself for failure. Was I really trying to fail? Did I not want to hit my goal?
The goal I’d set was more than 2,000 words above my extreme goal last year, which I only hit 21 out of 52 times, so what was I thinking? I knew that come summer and when I’m doing shows, I wouldn’t be able to hit the goal, nor would I be able to accomplish the other targets I’d like to set for myself. I mean, I do a lot: writing, painting, audio narration/editing, publishing. I do everything myself. Everything. That includes bookkeeping, listing items online (books and artwork), formatting my books, creating back matter, writing the blurbs, cover design, writing posts and newsletters, and the list goes on and on. So no wonder my mental health feels a little shot already.
So, I did a kindness to myself. I allowed myself to lower my goals. I’m still above what my extreme goal was last year, so I know it’ll still stretch me. And I lowered my insane extreme goal to just above what my goal originally was.
This way, I don’t let critical voice start yapping at me about only getting writing done and not doing anything else, which has been a problem this last month. And, my word count goal per month is still more words than most writers get done in a year. It’s not like I’m slacking. Just being gentler on myself so that I can accomplish everything with a little bit of a stretch.
I’m thinking that if I don’t feel so stressed about getting so much done in a day (because as I’ve already proven to myself, if I want to stay on track with something, I really need to do it every day), then I won’t let the critical voice in to convince me that I need a “snack” before getting to it.
I’m also going to get back to drinking more water. I’ve let myself slide lately with the cold weather and an average of two cups of coffee per day is starting to aggravate my stomach. Trying to drink some tea or hot chocolate in addition to/besides coffee is also not helping the weight issue or the stomach issue. I know I must take better care of myself. My body is not happy about my weight, and that’s not helping my mental health either.
So yes, I backed off my goals so I don’t stress myself out. I can always hit higher than my targets, but if I set them so far out of my reach that I can’t possibly hit them, then I’ll get depressed over the constant failure. And I’d rather keep my creativity fun rather than making it a chore or work. I do get excited about going over my goals. I’m much more motivated by overachieving than underachieving or just barely getting there. I’m more likely to hit the higher goal if I’m stretched rather than forcefully pushed. Yes, I think I did the right thing.