I ran a 2K today and managed not to be completely winded by the time I finished. It felt good, it gave me a sense of achievement and a boost of happiness. It may not sound like that big of a deal to regular runners or those who have targets that to me seem unattainable at this point, like running a half-marathon, but…
I dragged myself out of bed before 8 AM on a Saturday morning for this and I don’t regret it a tiny bit, even though I was beyond tired and my motivation level was somewhere around undetectable because of this state of exhaustion. I’m almost as proud of myself for this – getting over my tiredness and desire to not leave my warm, cosy bed until mid-day – as for finishing the 2K running instead of barely walking (like I did a couple of years ago when I first ran this particular race, Crosul Divelor, here in my very own Cluj-Napoca).
I know I’ve talked about how procrastination can actually be a good thing, but it’s important to set apart the instances when ‘procrastinating’ can bring value to a particular endeavour (like during a creative process that requires ideas to settle and transform) versus when putting off doing something won’t improve your life in any way (and maybe even end up making certain aspects of it worse). While I’m not saying giving up procrastination as your vice of choice is easy to achieve, it is feasible – one small behavioural change at a time. Because let’s face it, inertia is our master, so it makes sense that setting distant goals and making big resolutions are destined to fail much more often than not.
So many times, willpower is just not enough to break our vast range of ingrained habits. Instead, discrete changes in behaviour bring immediate self-improvement by altering routines and therefore leading to much bigger changes for the better. Will all of these changes in routine, small as they are, also be utterly painless? No, of course not; we primarily avoid taking action towards bettering ourselves because it involves us feeling uncomfortable. Our habits are our safety nets, even those bad ones. We go back to our routines when we seek reassurance in the midst of the chaotic stream of existence. Giving these up, even temporarily until new ones that bring us more happiness and satisfaction are formed, feels uncomfortable, disconcerting, even a bit like we’re betraying ourselves.
I have entire chunks of time when inertia pulls me back, either because I’m too tired or too disappointed to take action. Giving myself a break from time to time is acceptable and even encouraged, as long as it doesn’t become the norm of putting things off until the consequences of doing this turn into headaches I know I could have avoided if only I had put a time limit on the procrastination portion of the program.
Ultimately, life is about movement and continuous transformation. Inevitably, something will come up that will give you a gentle nudge or an aggressive, impatient push to get your behind out of bed or out of that chair in front of your computer and start making things happen – for yourself and the ones around you – instead of waiting for some divine intervention that will magically make them happen.