Try saying “I’m not doing this”

In Changing life, Positivity, Productivity on January 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Two weeks into 2012 it’s still goal setting time for a lot of people.

Thinking about what the future might look like and how best to achieve the dreams and hopes.

Personally, I’m not one for making New Year goals, mainly as after 2-3 weeks of partying and inebriation, my mind and body is still recovering from lots of festive partying!

But, it got me thinking a bit about the energy we put into working towards our goals across a range of areas in life, things we want and things we think we want. And after some recent, enlightening conversations with one honest friend in particular (it’s always good when a friend levels with you) I’ve been wondering about our tendency – in our goal-setting society – to set goals and objectives in our life, and whether this is always the right thing to do and why we can often find ourselves not able to succeed.

There’s a lot of advice and information out there about how to do this, how to do that, how to be productive, etc. But a lot of emphasis seems to be on doing more and striving more, or putting more effort in, when perhaps for a time the way forward in life is actually to do the opposite. To do less or not-to-do x, y and z. Least resistance.

Whilst it is, and for the most part, I think important to try and cultivate some sense of direction, discipline and purpose through life, sometimes it is maybe easy to forget that life is not a project. It is, or should be, an experience lived wholly and deeply. Getting the balance right between having things you want to achieve and succeed in and just letting life nudge and direct you where it wants to sometimes.

Sometimes we do realise the goals we set for ourselves and feel successful and happy because of that. That’s great!

But what about those ambitions and things we try to achieve, but for lots of reasons, don’t or it seems that we can’t?

This can be awfully discouraging especially where these are really major areas of our life – work, relationships, money, for example. Maybe we start out, full of focus and gusto but then we get discouraged and give up early on. Perhaps it’s a case of being distracted by other things around us that shift focus – what’s on TV, web hopping, facebooking et al, boozing out with dear friends, some drama in the office or relationships – maybe using this as a cover for not getting stuck in.

So, we say, “right I’m going to change! I’m going to do things differently and we add another goal to the original one, another ounce of determination to the pot, but with frustration only to fall again! Maybe the weight of expectation we set ourselves, and the expectations of others (family, friends, work colleagues, culture, etc) makes everything a little too top heavy sometimes?

So, the temptation to give up and walk away before giving yourself a decent stab at something sets in, without maybe really getting to the root of the issue, which may have nothing to do with talent, money or time (or anyone else) but a lot to do about what’s going on inside.

I reckon instead of pouring more time into doing, sometimes a productive way might be to do more letting go of things that you know are not helping you be productive, or happy or emotionally whole and happy on an inner level.

Sometimes letting go, or least resistance, will for a while, help you get a handle on things, so you can work out what is going on! So, maybe when things haven’t been going the way you want, it might be time to stop saying, “I’m going to do this to fix an issue or a problem, try saying “I’m not going to do that might be causing me to go round in circles?”

Have a good think about what might be sapping your energy at different times and at different areas of life. The principle of least resistance could be really useful here, so instead of immersing yourself in what’s ailing you, try looking at it and stepping out of it by using energy and focus in a slightly different way.

It might be anxiety and worry that ends up blotting your enthusiasm and makes you struggle and fret unnecessarily (“I’m not going to worry and be anxious about things that might never happen”).

Or it might be insecurities that have no real basis in fact or reality but make you feel down and not very kind to yourself or others. (“I’m not going to be bitchy to myself and unkind about what I think about myself.”)

Perhaps it is even using your life to live the goals and desires of other people by doing a certain job, being in a type of relationship, expressing opinions you don’t really believe in but feel pressured to express, the list could go on and on. And this means you’re not really taking yourself seriously, but sure as hell am taking someone’s life wishes seriously over and above your own. (“I’m not going to use my own energy and time to live the desires of someone else by sacrificing who I am or what I want”).

Could be the stuff you put into your body, or a lack of exercise, that maybe isn’t really helping you with your physical energy levels that you might need to get to where you want. (‘I’m not going to neglect my body and health by consuming too much if anything that doesn’t help my stay mentally and emotionally balanced”).

Could be overspending or buying things that don’t really add value (aren’t even worth buying for the pleasure of beauty) but mean you’re way over budget every week whereas you might be better spending on things that will really improve your life or help you achieve (‘I’m not going to disrespect the financial resource I’ve got and waste it on things that won’t nurture me or where I want to go in life.”)

Or procrastinating endlessly so that you put off decisions out of fear, looking for the perfect time or conditions for something to be just right before you finally take action (‘I’m not going to lie to myself and out off action just because I am afraid that things might not turn out right”).

It could be spending too much of your time maintaining relationships and friendships that are not very balanced or where you end up having to do most of input or bring you down instead of bring you up (‘I’m not going to out any more effort into friendships or relationships where I tend to consistently give more than the other as my life and time is important as well.”)

What about too much indulging in negative thinking that distorts your view of life, drains yourself and others with a stinky attitude? (‘I’m not going to keep neglecting how my mind works, or blame others for my misfortune before looking and disciplining my own tendency to see doom and gloom where there isn’t the need for it”).

I’m reminded of that scene near the end of the movie ‘The Help’ where the main character, Aibileen, unfairly fired because of the manipulations of Ms Hilly, asks her square on, isn’t she tired of the hate and anger she has been holding onto for years? Ms Hilly bursts into tears in uncontrollably, because Aibileen has hit the mark and for a moment she is forced to stop resisting, let go of the pretending and the effort to maintain an image and bring down the barriers and obstacles. If the movie carried on, it would have been interesting to see if she really changed, and lived a happier and less insecure life; but it’s only a movie, and this is real life.

Don’t spend an awful lot of energy inside ‘fighting’ to maintain ways of thinking and a pattern of life that doesn’t serve you and might be draining and eventually damaging to your happiness. Sometimes, really listening honestly to your feelings or gut, and having the courage to let go, instead of finding another goal or thing to change what isn’t working is a good first step to healthy change. So, instead is searching for new and circular ways to tackle blocks that might be preventing you for experiencing your potential, just make an ‘inner’ and then ‘outer’ commitment to say “I’m not doing this anymore” and invest your focus on that.


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