Going through an old book of Vedas, there lived a Guru eager to teach the minuscule elements of discipline to his ignorant students.
He gave them a task of digging a well at a particular location. The enthusiastic students, also wanting to impress their guru started digging like their life depended on it. Going at it, the guru instructed to dig another hole at some other location this time. Keeping their trust intact, they again started only to change the location again and then again over the instruction of their not so trustful Guru now. Being completed exhausted due to their instructor’s fickle mind, finally they protested saying, “How will we ever reach the depth of the water if we keep shifting the location”. The Guru with that over the top “victory smile” replied,
“How will you ever learn any skill if you keep leaving the process half-way?”
No idea if the story will ring a bell for you, but it has been a siren in my ear whenever I want to leave a task mid way (the significance of this task is already known). From time to time, I fall prey and overestimate the start setup and underestimate the process of improvement in any particular direction, when clearly it should be the other way around.
One of my usual disclaimers?
I’m not some brainy IIT-ian or one of those intellectual freaks with brain efficiency outside my league. I’m just an ordinary girl with an Aha realization that, it’s less about the smartness and creativity and more about the discipline which gets you progressing.
Finding a stand in the midst of so many scholars?
It can be sometimes intimidating!!
Just taking away that doubt!!
The way I function in-spite of it all??
A routine conversation between my troops and my opponents might give you a better idea!!
Both sides are played by my thoughts!!
So, wanting to push my threshold of fitness, I took a pledge not to eat any unhealthy junk from today (a random day in the past)
Me(Troops)- I will only eat healthy food from now on and also do strength training everyday.
Mind(Opponent)- Oh great!! ( At the same time, I will suck all these strength muscles out of you in those lonely and confused/lost nights)
Mind- Weren’t you suppose to wake up early today?
Me- Oh no! Rushing towards the bathroom.
Mind- the lethargic imaginary king has suggested to sleep back now that it’s already late.
Mind on the side- 8Did I mention I will also confuse you that you are tired due to excessive work and need a break of junk-food to relax!
Me- Gets ready for the run.
Mind- After 1 km of running, you’ve done too much for the day, it’s enough (while the target was of 3 kms).
Me- Tomorrow I will do 3 kms for sure.
Mind eating caramel popcorn already – we shall see!!
Okay! I got through the initial two days somehow. what about tomorrow?
It’s a birthday party, cheating should be allowed right?
Mind has already tasted the cake, now there is no turning back!!
What’s the point of sharing this silly conversation?
Well, I wanted to be honest and tell you about the first phase of changing an habit in my life!
Those little pity breaks, deserving cheats, exhaustion stoppages always distract!
But, they also change their tone once they know how stubborn you are!!
I’ve lost 12 kgs in the last 3-4 years and the best part is I could maintain it, by not “Not” being distracted at all but by minimizing the distractions.
This was just one aspect of my life where I conquered and shhhh my thoughts but there are many I am still playing hide and seek with. You might be highly disciplined when it comes to your fitness, but if there is some aspect where you end up on the porch of choosing to be disciplined or to take that well deserved break, then being reflective might help.
This article is like my get-to notes whenever I don’t seem to be managing my distractions well! (You can borrow as well, getting even to the borrowed notes given to me by those kind friends)
How to deal with such counter-productivity fallacies then?
1. It is not meant to happen overnight– It takes 21 days for any new habit to sink in, not getting crazy regular at it, but just to be included in your head-busy schedule. So if you are trying to read 100 pages of any book everyday, give your self an adjusting ticket on the first few days.
2. Minimize distraction each day– So I had my Ipad, Laptop, Wunderlist, Evernote, all displaying articles and notes while I used to read. The result was of-course funny because I spent too much time being distracted than actually reading. So I put each of them off slowly and now-a-days I actually read more!!
3. Be hard on yourself & Be soft on yourself– Not cutting too much slack that you are lacking in everything and not being so hard that you are even afraid to try again was a perfect mix for me. You gotta find which bread works for you.
4. Guilt can be a BFF- I hate Maggie! Oh no! I shouldn’t have done that! I will never be able to be fit, never reach my goal. I might as well stop trying, this being fit is ancient for me. I’m more of a 21st century fast food person!
Okay, Okay! Relax now. Open that safe locker and guard this feeling, so the next time you want to nibble on Maggie, your BFF Guilt will stop you.
5- It’s important for the Butt to move north first- Let’s go back to the start of this article, Dig the hole deep enough in the first location first! I want to be fit today and I want to read a book today and I want to drink 3 bottles of water today. All are perfect just get one flowing first.
Want to be a Jack of all or a king of one(First)??