I Didn’t Do Anything Today!

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“I didn’t do anything today!” I always end my day with this frustration. There is too little time and too much I want to achieve and too many people to see.

Before going to bed, I think about all the things I have not done: I did not practice my taichi, I did not practice calligraphy, I did not run, I did not write a blog post, I did not check in with my doctor, I did not reply to emails…

I live with fear that I’m wasting my time being ill, that people are passing me by every day, surpassing me, and they will get to where I want to be before me. I compare to the extreme and I beat myself up for not doing what everyone else is doing i.e. having a respected job, earning the big bucks I used to, and getting on with life. I fear I’m losing out on time and my relative youth (I think being 30 years old is very young against a backdrop of life expectancy at 100 years old…)

Comparison isn’t all that bad; it serves as a benchmark and can prompt improvement. I can see what others have done and learn from it. However, looking at others gave me an excuse to judge myself harshly, and criticize myself for not achieving the unreasonably high standards I set for myself. This militant expectation on myself is perhaps one big reason why I got sick in the first placemy determination and persistence exacerbated my perfectionism and pushed me over the edge.

I need an attitude change – instead of focusing on everything I have not done, it’s about time to concentrate on things I have done and celebrate my success.

Today I:

  • posted this blog post
  • wrote replies to a 5 readers
  • cooked some soup for dinner
  • walked my dog
  • did 5 minutes of taichi (ok I’m supposed to do 15 minutes…)
  • wrote in my journal
  • enjoyed watching a dumb TV show
  • read a few more pages of Alain de Botton’s “A Week at the Airport”
  • managed to run on the treadmill for 15 minutes without fainting
  • laughed
  • breathed
  • stayed alive

That’s all it takes. Another view on the same day.

Modesty and humility is one thing, for we do not want to become overly arrogant of our achievements. Nevertheless, our progress towards our personal goals and improvement must be acknowledged. Needless to say, there is always room for improvement, yet there is no reason to beat ourselves up over the progress we have not made to date.

Rather, a positive attitude and a simple pat on our own backs for the road already trodden can spur us on with energy and enthusiasm.

Why end the day with a frown and a groan, if we can do so with a smile and an acknowledgement towards the miles we’ve accomplished, and to look forward to even more miles to be conquered the following days?

No progress is ever too small to be celebrated.

What can you celebrate tonight before going to bed?

Photo by mark sebastian