We can be our own worst enemy sometimes, you know. As I’ve previously alluded, I have a bad habit of putting off the crap I don’t want to do. Sometimes it’s because I don’t want to deal with the emotions the task evokes; or do something that’ll suck my energy; or start something I know will take a long time to finish. But the truth is, sometimes I blow a task out of proportion with dread, convincing myself it’s going to be more intensive than it truly is. Is this you, too? If so, I’ve got a little hack coming your way…
When I recognize myself doing this, I employ a trick that works well and it’s simple: I time myself doing whatever it is I’ve been putting off, and then reflect on how much more time and energy I spent putting it off than it took to complete. 🥴 The point is not to guilt or shame myself for what’s already happened, but to gain perspective for the future from a bit of reflection. It’s helpful for me to see it. To see the timer that says 38 minutes for something I put off for DAYS; something I allowed to fester and stress me out; something that took up mental space when I need that space for other shit. For what, you know? I’m adding stress for no reason.
Observation is the first part; action is the second. Next time I find myself repeating the behavior, I remind myself of the reality of my previous findings – the facts, not the emotions. That reminder of how unreasonable it is to think about doing it for longer than it takes to do it usually works and I can tell myself “In xx minutes, it’ll be over, and you’ll be SO RELIEVED it’s done. Just. Freaking. Do. It.”
The reality is, we must hold ourselves accountable. Not to anyone else’s standards, but to ourselves for the things within our control. Accountable for what’s bothering us internally. Accountable for what’s ruminating in our minds and stressing us out. Accountable for what’s making us feel worse rather than better. Accountable for what’s hindering versus helping our minds and bodies. Accountable for taking actions that help us productively cope so we can handle even the toughest situations.
We have to be accountable for understanding ourselves, even the parts we don’t like very much, so we can truly take control of our wellbeing – mind, body, soul.
It’s up to us.
If you are interested in exploring ways to turn self-destructive coping into productive coping, I’m one message away to lend support.