I have a confession to make… I have a problem with consistency. I hate saying it out loud because the perfectionist inside me wants to pretend like I have it all together, but I don’t. Since leaving my “old life” as a therapist/doctoral student I’ve had some difficulty getting into the groove, finding a routine, and sticking to things that I know are good for me long-term but feel uncomfortable in the short term. Part of that comes from the gypsy-lifestyle I’ve been living the last few years and part of that comes from sheer stubbornness in the face of uncertainty.
Anything that requires consistency- be it exercise, a nutrition plan, a morning routine, a creative ritual, a new job search, online dating- often takes practice and a significant amount of pain in the short-term. We want to see results right away and have this false belief that “if we think it, it will come”. I fall victim to this thinking, believing that if I have everything in place in my head, it will automatically materialize into action. Do you know how many mornings I’ve woken up disappointed that the carefully constructed and slightly neurotic plan I stayed up until 2am overthinking didn’t already start during the night? How many times when people ask me “when do you want to do this by?” I respond with “yesterday”.
I am impatient, I am anxious, and I am indecisive. But mostly, I am really really uncomfortable with uncertainty. And starting anything new, anything out of your norm- even if you know it is good for you and will help you reach your goals faster than doing what you are currently doing- is so hard. And so uncomfortable.
So there are a few choices. Keep doing what you are doing and you’ll probably have the same results. Change something for a day and quit after you didn’t lost 20 pounds after your first day at the gym or gain 30 new followers after your first marketing post. Or walk hand-in-hand with uncertainty, taking action and building structure along the way in a marvelous and messy way. Just because our dream life/body/relationship/job/career looks good in our heads doesn’t mean it’ll look good achieving it. Life is a lot like a tantrum-throwing three year old lying flailing on the grocery store floor. Confusing, loud, annoying, difficult, stubborn, aggressive… until it isn’t. Until the little demon-child realizes life isn’t so bad and just accepts that he can’t eat Fruity Pebbles every day for breakfast (seriously you guys they are so fucking good). Because he know he will get fed eventually and everything is fine and sometimes the only answer to all of life’s problem is a good cry and a good nap.
But seriously, tantrum metaphors aside, life is hard. Trying something new is hard. Getting into a routine is hard. Attaining consistency in your routine is hard. It is all hard. But it is in overcoming the difficulty and proving to yourself you can do it that things become less-hard. Until the next tantrum presents itself. But at least this time you are a bit more adept at responding to the little bugger.