Seeing failure in a new light

Yesterday I failed.

I didn’t upload 2 blog posts as I promised myself I would. I have been uploading 2 posts every day for 6 days but yesterday I broke that streak.

I initially committed to upload 2 posts every day for 25 days because consistency is a skill that I struggle with. I have tried many times to commit to doing something, anything – stretch, read a book, upload blog posts – every day and always fail miserably. I remember in 2018 I had signed up to run the Amsterdam Marathon and downloaded a marathon training plan so I could go from zero to hero in 12 weeks. I set out with all the best intentions to follow the plan only to get half way through and get too busy with university and work. Next thing I knew it was the day before the marathon and I hadn’t been for a run in over 3 weeks… opps. I got through the marathon mainly due to sheer determination and a lot of internal complaining and whinging but finished a lot slower than I expected and in a lot more pain than expected. This was a big lesson in the consequences of failing to be consistent.

So back to the present day. Why, after being so committed and thus far so successful in uploading consistently did I stop?

Simple. I choose to.

Yesterday I was overwhelmed by work that I had to complete for a client, paid work that was essential to my burgeoning career. Half way through the day I assessed the amount of work I had to do and just knew that I was barely going to get my paid work finished, let along my blog posts. I was right. I was up till 1am last night working. Even though these posts are short they do take a lot of time to write, edit, and upload so I knew something would have to give.

In that moment I had to assess my priorities. Was it more important to complete the paid work or the blog posts? Even though I do see this blog becoming a priority and an opportunity, in the context of yesterday, it was less important than my other work. So, instead of frantically rushing through the work and doing a bad job (which would have negative consequences) I deliberately dropped the posts to focus on what mattered more. Upon reflection I could have been more proactive on the work and more efficient with my time so that I could complete all the tasks, but in that moment I had to prioritise and prioritise I did.

So why does this matter? Or rather, how am I changing my approach to breaking a streak and failing to meet goals?

In the past I would be very upset right now thinking that I am a failure for missing a post and breaking the streak. I would be questioning the value of this blog and if this is a project I should continue, I mean, if I can’t commit every single day should I not commit at all? I know these thoughts sound very dramatic and overblown but that is what I used to think. I guess it is a side effect of perfectionism.

I think very differently now, I am proud that I prioritised and saw it was more important to miss one day of posting rather than fail in my other work. And now my focus is getting back into the routine and habit of posting 2 blogs a day for 25 days. The skill isn’t trying not to fall off the wagon, it is getting back on the wagon once you have fallen off.

Missing one day of posts is nothing to be ashamed about and nothing to worry about as long as you know why you missed the tasks and what you are going to do moving forward.

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