At the beginning of January, I committed to writing and publishing a new blog post every day for the entire month. I did it for 23 days straight, and it felt really, really good.
Then I missed a day.
I told myself it was the right choice, because my writing kept taking me away from my family in the evenings, and I didn't want to keep sending the message that my blog posts were more important than they were. Plus, it felt good to remind myself that I don't have to be a slave to commitments that no longer serve me.
The problem was, missing that one day really made a difference for my momentum. I wrote on Day 25, then missed Day 26, wrote on 27, but then missed 28-30. Each time I missed a day, I added new justifications:
Maybe I didn't need to go a full 31 days after all. Really, I've already gotten what I set out to get, which was more comfort and ease in my writing. Maybe I've learned that I just don't have time for this along with all of my other commitments.
Do you see how sneaky those justifications are? They protected me from the discomfort of having to admit that I'd failed at my goal, and they sounded so reasonable! But each one also made it easier to skip another day, and took a toll on my sense of integrity.
By the beginning of Day 31 (today!), I had to admit I was disappointed in myself. My 31-day commitment had been important to me, and I felt like I let myself down. I wanted to re-commit to something, but what?
I knew it was important to me to keep sharing my ideas without sacrificing my sleep or the needs of my family. I also wanted to set myself up for success, so that I didn't feel a need to keep coming up with justifications when I hit obstacles.
Then I remembered the Ignite Video Challenge that I signed up for just a few days ago. It's like a free 30-day boot camp in creating video content, and I signed up on a friend's recommendation, not actually knowing how I could possibly fit it in on top of the blogging and everything else.
Today I realized I don't have to. I can put the blogging on hold for a while and just focus on this video challenge, which will open up a whole new set of possibilities for how to share ideas without the crazy time investment that writing requires. I am excited!
Stepping back, I love how this process demonstrates a basic cycle of life:
Failure -- > Disappointment --> Reflection --> Re-commitment --> Repeat
It's a good reminder to me that being anywhere in this cycle is totally okay. It just means I'm alive and learning.
What about you?
Can you think of a time when you fell short of how you wanted to be? Might you have had a little voice inside saying, "Don't worry, it's okay because [insert justification here]"?
I would say, that voice is half right. Falling short is okay. But you don't have to justify with with some special extenuating circumstance. It's enough to simply remember that you're human, and falling short is what we humans do. The real question is, What do you want now?
I'd love to hear what's next for you.