I can’t believe it’s already the second half of the year.It feels like barely a month since we all ushered in the year 2019 with all the cheer and hope that a new year tends to bring with it.
And then we get into the swing of every day life. Work,school, chores and tick tock ,tick tock, the time just flies by. The saying ‘the days are long but the years are short’ really puts this concept into context.The days seem packed and long but you find yourself suddenly on the other side of what should otherwise still feel like a new year. And nothing makes you feel the time lapse more than those goals or resolutions or visions (whatever you want to call them) made at the beginning of the year that have still not been met or fulfilled.
I was(and in a lot of ways still am) a procrastinator. My mum always used to always tell me off as a teenager and it followed me into adult life .My default setting was ‘I’ll do it later’. Yup and I am sure you have guessed it my ‘later’ almost always became ‘never’. My homework or project that could have been done on Friday or Saturday always ended up being done late Sunday night or early on Monday morning.And sometimes not even done at all. For my first few years of secondary school I am sure my grades would have been much better if I had done most of my homework (called continuous assessment in Nigeria) which often made up 30% of your final grade.
I share this because I know the feeling of putting off what needs to be done especially if you feel ‘what’s the point?’
Why start saving now? Half the year is gone already. My answer to this, who says savings goals can only be made in January? Besides saving something from now definitely means something at the end of the year.Saving nothing now means nothing at the end of the year.
What’s the point of trying to lose body fat/ weight now?!Its summer already so if I can’t flaunt my summer body now I might as well just wait till next year and next summer ?My answer to this,who says trying to get fit and eat healthy is meant for just one season in the year?
Why take that online course now? I might as well just wait till the new school year in September and have a fresh start? My answer to this,except for courses in a set calendar year(which online courses rarely are )starting now means you will be halfway done by the end of the year.Not starting now means you won’t have started at all.
I wanted to read 12 books this year and I have not even read one yet so I might as well just start next year? My answer to this is starting just one book from now means you could have read one or two,or three books by the end of the year,not starting now would have meant you would have read zero books by the end of the year.
These and so many more are those things that we ponder on in our minds as we get to this time of the year when we look at all those ‘ I want to lose weight, read 100 books , learn a new skill ‘ lists that people scramble to write at the beginning of the year .
All of a sudden,reality dawns and it just doesn’t seem like the right time right now.Things will seem more favourable in September,the 1st of the next month,next January,next Monday etc.
What even got me thinking as highlighted in my answers are; Who sets and determines this arbitrary timelines and targets we set ourselves? Why 12 books? Why must financial goals be set only at the beginning of the year ? Why a summer body?
Now don’t get me wrong I totally get SMART( Specific,Measurable Attainable,Realistic and Time bound) goals. One of the key elements of what I do for a living is getting people to measure and get better at performance.And you need tangible quantifiable outcomes to measure progress.I would never knock having short long and medium goals.
What I learnt though as a recovering procrastinator and perfectionist ( yup recovering as I am still a work in progress) is that nothing works for me like DOING (well most things) NOW. All my planning,journals,to do lists,online courses etc were often another excuse to defer taking action. I was always searching for ‘perfect’ conditions.
After writing so many failed ‘start exercising’ at the beginning of every year, I decided to start walking at least 20 mins, 3 to 4 X a week in June 2015. I didn’t for about a week and stared at it every morning.I woke up one morning and decided ‘Oyinda just walk NOW’ today not tomorrow NOW’.And then I did .And the next day. And the next. And I wanted to stop because it was hard but I had started so I couldn’t stop. Then I started running. And then I started strength training.Its July 2019 and since that day in June 2015, i have built up the exercising habit to at least 5 times a week 90% of the time.All because I decided to do it NOW.
I would say ‘I’ll pray or be praying for you’ when you someone shared something with me.Sometimes I would and a lot of times I wouldn’t . This is because again I was waiting for that ‘perfect’ time you know when the all prayer paraphernalia is complete . Like God is not omnipresent and omniscient.And one day I read an article that talked about flipping ‘I will pray for you’ to ‘Can we pray now’ where possible (I know it’s not always possible to pray immediately ). A 5 minute prayer uttered now is always better than a 1 hour prayer that never happened.
I could go on and on.This principle has worked for so many other things in my life. You are reading this blog because I woke up one day in April this year and wrote a blog post. I had been writing ‘start writing regularly’ for 2 years consecutively in my planner and never actually did until one day I said,NOW.
I tend to be quite good at keeping my word both to people and to myself so if I start something, I would most likely continue or finish. My biggest issue was and still continues to be STARTING.
Now is always a good time to start for most of us.Not just to say yes but also to say no. No more(or less) fizzy drinks, no sugar,less tv etc . Just stop or start it NOW.
The person we are going to become is always as a result of the things that we say yes or no to NOW. So yes it’s the 7th month of the year,but nothing says you can’t start NOW. The 1st of January is the same 24 hours as the 16th of July.
I hope reading this has challenged you to start or stop something that you might have been postponing for a while. Start with 10 mins, 1 mile,1 page, one less tea spoon etc . You just might be surprised at the progress you would have made in the next couple of months.
Thank you for reading as always and please do comment and share.
Have a lovely Tuesday and week ahead.
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