With the first quarter of 2019 ending, I find myself in a state of reflection. It feels like the year just started, but it’s April- the perfect time to pause to identify where I am with my goals. To be honest, the goals I haven’t hit are often the ones I keep putting off. If left unaddressed, our daily routines become cycles that breed unwanted outcomes. Not this year.
Today I’m unpacking the obstacles that have kept me stuck while challenging you to reflect on your own process and blocks.
1. Not Making Time
I’m an extremely organized person (sometimes to a fault). As a result, if I don’t make a list, agenda, or set a time for something (including hanging with friends) it probably won’t happen. Knowing this about myself, I realized that my goals work the same way. For example, if I want to work on my book (which I went part time two years ago to do), I need to schedule a writing time and day to make that happen. I do this with my blog, but I haven’t done this with my book. Hence the book hasn’t been finished.
The second part to making time is protecting that time. In January, I noticed that an online blog class I paid for wasn’t getting completed. In response to that, I decided that every Thursday at 10 am, I would “attend class” by logging on and working for an hour. This new mindset forced me to create a schedule around that time slot to protect what's important to me. It’s our job to create and protect the space we need to accomplish our goals.
With the normalcy of social media, we are often faced with the successes of those around us. In addition, when we build circles of like-minded people, we are often around individuals who are getting things done. In my writing circles, the success and ability of my peers fed my insecurities. Instead of seeing what I brought to the table, I began focusing on how I compared to everyone else. For a good year I avoided sharing my new poetry in public spaces without getting approval first.
Unconsciously, I became obsessed with all of my flaws to the point I couldn’t identify my own strengths. Fortunately, a good friend pushed me to break this by refusing to give me feedback until I could articulate what was good about my own work. Regardless of the field we’re in, our ability, personality and experiences shape our uniqueness. No one can walk in the lane that is meant for us, and when we internalize this, we will learn how to shine alongside those around us.
3. Getting Overwhelmed by the Unknown
One of the hardest parts about walking in your own lane is not knowing the full plan. Thinking about the unknown sometimes overwhelms me. I go down a rabbit hole of everything I don’t know or qualifications I don’t have. This is distractive thinking. We will never move forward when we spend our time trying to figure everything out.
Something I am preaching to myself as I navigate new spaces is how to focus on what I can control. When I focus my energy and efforts on small tasks I can do on a regular basis, I always end up right where I need to be.
As you move into the second quarter of 2019, take a moment to assess your progress thus far. Identify where you’ve fallen short and make adjustments. No matter where you are, keep moving forward.