I’ve often questioned my inability to stick to things for any length of time. I’ve tried sticking to a meal plan, a budget, a new habit, a new activity, a job, or a new hair style, and they’ve all had the life span of a fruit fly.
Follow-through friendly people who make a plan and stick to it are revered. We attach attributes like “successful” and “worthy” to them and place them high on a pedestal. We look at these people and secretly wish that we, too, possessed the wherewithal to save money and invest wisely, lose all the weight and run marathons, or become an expert at a skill. We tout quotes like “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail” and plaster motivational posters like that dumb kitten falling from the tree branch one that says “Hang in There” on our walls.
But what about when you “stick with it” and nothing happens? Are you less successful or less worthy? Where are the motivational slogans inspiring you to give up? Where are the articles, classes, and sage advice for what to do when you actually need to give the F up and try something else?
Aside from bad habits, let’s agree that there are just some things we shouldn’t stick with. Things that work for some, just don’t work for others. Not all kids learn the same way. Not everyone likes healthy food. Not everyone was meant for running, or for math equations, care-taking, building, or for painting. At what point are we choosing to feed our stubbornness and fear, rather than our adaptability and growth?
The past few months, I’ve been challenging myself with growth and acceptance, and tightly embracing my personality. In practicing self-forgiveness, I’ve let go of the negatives vibes I’ve forever directed at myself for my occasional lack of follow-through. I’ve struggled with commitment, especially if it’s something I’ve lost interest in, and it’s only gotten harder with having kids. I abhor the idea of saying I will do something and then not, so I’ve learned to forgive myself (especially when it’s out of my control) and to carefully choose my commitments. I’m done with wondering what’s wrong with me and embraced what’s right. I’ve replaced giving up with change. And I’ve delightfully discovered a pattern:
I have a 3 month attention span. My curiosity is so vicious, it hungrily drives me to search for the next thing to discover, explore, and devour. Generally around the 3 month mark, I find myself satisfied. I feel I’ve conquered the challenge, and thus, I find myself apathetic, indifferent, and honestly disinterested. The emblazoned flame of excitement has smoldered to a barely there flicker. My curiosity has waned, and is already searching for the next ignition switch: the next spark of new, clean, sparkly, scary, wild, thrilling, addicting, silly, or challenging.
In spite of my constant curiosity, I’ve discovered there are 4 things that have always stuck around. I’m confident that I’ll never give up on these, because I’ve realized I can just cleverly change them up when I get bored:
1. Exercise: Racquetball and Spinning have become the staples I do once a week that keep me excited about taking care of my body. When I get bored, I change it up… like a new class at the gym, weight lifting, swimming, skiing, playing a sport, walking outside, hiking, running, or yoga. Up next on my list to try: Cardio kickboxing, boxing, and mountain biking.
2. Writing: I’ll work on writing a book for a while, then maybe some essays, or short story writing. Whatever strikes my fancy. Or perhaps, I’ll work on blog posts, or maybe it will be more reflective writing in a journal.
3. Reading: I’ll go for a while reading only fantasy books, and then I’ll need a break and change it up by reading some basic fiction, chick lit, or a classic. Sometimes I’ll even stop for a week and binge watch TV to catch up all I’ve missed while I was happily lost in a fantasy world of magic.
4. Music: My passion for music brightly burns. I quell it by listening to new stations on Spotify, singing along to oldies-but-goodies at the top of my lungs (alone in the car), joining choirs, leading worship or singing solos at church, going to concerts, practicing the harp, or working on my sight reading at the piano.
I’m not a quitter. I’m a changer. I don’t give up, I change it up. So, if you find yourself to be a fellow changer too, here are a few fantastic quotes you can tout to naysayers, or just plaster to your walls:
“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
“In a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” – Warren Buffett
“By changing nothing, nothing changes.” – Tony Robbins
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”– Andy Warhol
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
“You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” – Neil Gaiman
“Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone.” – J.D. Salinger
Happy Quarter Quell!
(It’s a reference to The Hunger Games trilogy, mom)