Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Shoulds

[TODAY'S POST IS OFF THE TOPIC OF INFERTILITY AND PARENTING.  FEEL FREE TO SKIP.]

I've often felt that my life is full of many things I "should" do but that I do not do.  As a few examples: I should eat better, exercise more, keep a cleaner/more organized house, give more time and money to charity, etc.

The list of things I "should" do has only grown since I have become a mother.  Now I have another whole list of things I should be doing for my sons in addition to all the things I should have already been doing for myself and for my community.  And now I have less time and energy to do all the things I *should* have been doing before, but often wasn't.

I sometimes I ask myself why so many people seem to have more self-discipline than I.  I'm not quite sure of the answer to this question.  (I suppose if I knew the "why," I would be more than halfway to solving this problem.)  I seem to be almost incapable of sticking to anything that requires a regular, particularly a daily commitment, and I have been like this for as long as I can remember.

This characteristic has held me back from doing many things I have wanted to do.  Thinking back as far as junior high school, I had difficulty practicing my clarinet consistently.  I believe I had some real musical talent, based on the opinions expressed by music educators outside my small hometown at various summer music camps I attended.  But I never did much with it, primarily because I only practiced sporadically, never daily (unless I had a competition in a week or so, ha ha).

I know that I didn't earn the grades I could have in college had I formed better study habits.  The fact that my earned grades were inconsistent with the potential revealed by my college entrance testing scores was pointed out to me by two different academic advisers.  My lack of reliable study habits were one factor (though not the only, or even the determining, factor) in my decision not attend medical school.

I think it goes without saying that my failure to exercise regularly has certainly contributed to my being overweight for my entire adult life.  Eventually that failure will have real health consequences as well.  I know this intellectually, and yet I find myself somehow incapable of forming healthier habits long-term.

I have done the things I have been able to accomplish in my life not because of any self-discipline I possess, but rather, in spite of a glaring lack of self-discipline.  I really believe I could do and be so much more, if I just weren't so lazy.  But I haven't the first clue where to start to change.

I recently read an interesting book related to this topic that was recommended to me by my BFF:  It's called The Power of Habit, and it talks about the neuroscientific explanations of how habits form and how to change them.  Really interesting stuff.

I don't really have a point here.  I just thought that getting my thoughts out of my head might help me stop "should"-ing all over myself.  We all have our struggles, and this is one of mine.


1 comment:

  1. This is really thoughtful and interesting. Since high school, I have had the opposite problem: it took a lot for me to let go of my need to do everything and to do it consistently perfectly. It was only when my brother died that I realized that I truly, truly could do some things half-assed or not at all. I guess we all need to find a place of balance.

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