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Time To Slow Your Overcommitted Roll
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I had thought about not writing a blog this week. But I have a big sheet of brown paper hanging on my office closet door and every week after I’m done, I write out the title of that week’s blog. I haven’t missed a week this year and the thought of missing one this far into the year gives me a pain in the pit of my gut. I committed to a blog every week to myself.
I’m like that about a lot of things. If I commit to something, I MUST follow through as best as I can. Most of it is guilt-driven and I freely admit that. If I’ve told someone I’m going to do something, I will drive myself into the ground until it’s done. Heaven forbid I disappoint anyone. But sometimes the person says they forgot that I said I would do that thing in the first place and I find that I get resentful because I’ve turned myself inside out and the effort and it didn’t really matter to begin with.
The very best way to get my commitment is to have money attached to it. If I’ve invested cash, you better believe I’m in, no matter what. There is no dollar left unturned. It doesn’t matter if I’ve trained or not, if I paid money in January for a race in June, I’m going to do it. Even if it means that I will be sore or injured for a few weeks. And you better be sure that I’m not going to invest in something unless I absolutely know its the right thing to do.
Commitment to some “self-decision” is where I get myself into trouble. I tend to take on too many life-altering decisions at once. I attempt to reach too many goals at once. Commitment to decision takes discipline and will power. And if you are trying to do too many at once, you’ll implode or burnout and quit. Let’s say you decide to go vegan, take on a new job search, are training to go on backpacking trip, all while home schooling your kids. Commitment to all these goals require action every day. If you are constantly trying to reach all the goals every day and perhaps sometimes failing, you’ll burnout.
Being over-committed is a 20th century problem. We do it to our kids, too. They take dance lessons, piano lessons, acting classes, play soccer, practice karate, go to school, have play dates with friends, are involved in church activities. And we expect them to excel at all of these things. We are setting multiple goals for them and there is no way they will succeed at all of them. Then they fail and feel like they have disappointed you.
Over commitment leads to overwhelm. I think it’s great to try things on, have activities to keep us all engaged, but I think we also need to return to a life that has some relaxation and self-forgiveness built in. You don’t have to be doing something ALL THE TIME.
I am so guilty of this. When I’m sitting still just trying to relax I feel there must be SOMETHING I could or should be doing. And if I’m working on one thing, is it possible I can I be doing two things at once? It could be said that multi-tasking is also a disease. What would happen if I just couldn’t get that thing done for that person? Will they hate me forever? What I just said NO in the first place so they could ask someone else? What if I don’t get that blog written by Friday, who is really going to notice besides me?
I heard a statement a couple of weeks ago that I love. It’s “You can’t catch a rabbit if you are chasing two of them.”
Maybe it’s time to take a look at all your commitments and slow their roll. For example, what if I wrote a blog every other week instead of every week? What if I decided to ride my bike 150 miles a week instead of 220? How would my attitude change about these things?
That’s where I am this spring. I’m realizing that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and am adjusting to guard against burnout. I’m taking inventory of what HAS to happen and what DOESN’T. It’s what I recently heard called ESSENTIALISM. What is essential? Prioritize your commitments. Stop being busy, but not productive. Notice when you are stretched too thin and draw boundaries with others and with yourself.
As we head back into “normal post-covid life” and you and your family start to regain the momentum you had in 2019, go back to the drawing board and eliminate things that don’t matter. Eliminate the things you didn’t miss during COVID or slow the roll on the things that do.
There is lots of self-discovery going on over here these days. Sorry you guys have to be watching through the window. Wait a second, that makes you all peeping toms in my life. That’s gross. And I know that because some friends and I had one back in the mid-1990s. But that’s a story for another day…
Till next week –
You know you wanna listen to Mike and me read this on the FNBB. Link is here:
Redesigning Midlife Weekly Update
Get in the know with the
Guess what? I can totally relate to this! (Big surprise, right?) So much. I always keep commitments I make to others – even if it means I am up WAY too late to make it happen. Goals or plans for myself, not nearly as good a track record. That’s always what slides. Or becomes a victim of the “busy but not productive”. (Isn’t that what we were just “talking” about on Thursday?) The second and third paragraphs from the end are the gold. Perfect timing, as things start getting back to “normal”. We really should consider if that “normal” is what we want. Or which parts of it. I’m impressed you got this done in the midst of some busy weeks. It is enough. (Blog posts don’t all have to be literary masterpieces. I think it is more about the content that the refinement.) Do be sure to set your plans/goals for what works for you reasonably, not because it is what you decided 4 months ago. It is ok to refine as we go. Good luck slowing – or focusing & refining – your roll. I’m going to work on the same.