One last Wednesday Wisdom Wallpaper before the end of the year. I had this one in mind for this time of year, when we’re all designing our New Year’s Resolutions and thinking about what our 2016 is going to look like.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. – Annie Dillard
We are a culmination of our habits. If you want to be a musician and think about how you would practice all the time, but only actually practice once a month, then really you’re a person who thinks about being a musician.
It can be hard to get real with yourself and say, “Okay, I’ve got all these dreams and ambitions, but is what I’m doing actually leading to those things?”
The good part is that when you tear the Band-Aid off and realize, “Yikes. I really want to be a yoga teacher, but I spend all my days on the couch eating chips and watching Netflix.” Then it’s easier to start doing the daily things that this ideal version of yourself does.
You should still imagine who you want to be. That’s hugely important! But don’t only imagine.
Walt Disney or Hayao Miyazaki are great storytellers, but if they never took the time to move their stories from their heads and write scripts or painstakingly draw out storyboard after storyboard we’d never get to experience their stories.
You might have something awesome to give to the world, but it’s not doing anyone good just sitting in your head. Ideas are cheap. All you mean to other people is your actions. Your actions make you.
When I left my full-time law firm job and headed off to journalism school I’d decided it’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder I wanted to climb that the middle or top of one you don’t.
There’s only so much time in a day. And we’re only alive for so long. You may feel like you’re not making progress because you’re trying to do too many things or trying to climb two ladders at the same time.
You might say to yourself: I want to become a yoga teacher/bestselling author/blogger/award-winning vegan pastry chef.
Wow. In the course of a day, do you have time to contribute meaningfully to all of those things? Probably not. Unless you’re superhuman, in which case this human congratulates you.
When we’re sitting on our couches or beds not doing anything, it’s easy to imagine us being all those things in some superhero way. When we start getting out there and doing them – we realize it’s really hard!
Give yourself time and figure out if there are things you can dial down or drop. Maybe instead of being a pastry chef and teaching yoga, you can learn to just appreciate good pastry. Or, become a pastry chef and instead of being a yoga teacher just do a daily 20 minute yoga routine.
Decide what’s most important to you and then find space to fit the other stuff around that.
Also, give yourself time. I’ve seen a lot of people give up on a goal because they were trying to do multiple things at once, so they run to a different ladder instead.
Don’t give yourself a year to master something. Give yourself five or ten or twenty. Changing your day changes your life. Examine what you do every day and try changing small things to make big changes in your life. Be on a slow incline, your daily habits pushing you ever upward towards the top of your ladder of choice.
Happy 2016! And may your days be merry and bright.