Sitting at my desk after a few months’ hiatus, I replay 2018 in my mind. No remarkable memory emerges, and I slip my hands through my notebook to survey the year’s projects. My fingers flip stretches of barely legible blue ink bursting with names, reminders, ideas, and quotes. Update final revision file. CALL SAMER!!
I gloss over proposals dated March/April and focus intently. My eyes skim the words swiftly, fluttering side to side. SUBMISSION DUE TUESDAY.
A gurgling swirl forms in my stomach.
I look up from my notebook to notice more proposals stacked along the desk—stapled, folded, and perfectly undisturbed under a fine coat of dust. I move closer to examine the particles that have piled so effortlessly on all of my wooden table’s contents. The swirl in my stomach gnaws, rises. Perhaps, I conclude, surveying the dust bunnies behind the calendar, that I have spent far longer than a couple of months away. I note the weekly quote scribbled on my wall planner, pinned at August:
Eventlessness has no posts to drape duration on. From nothing to nothing is no time at all. -John Steinbeck
A slight burn begins to bubble up my chest. Mechanically, my fingers resume flipping. May/June, July/August, September/October, Novem—
Suddenly and without warning, the notebook’s inside jacket comes undone. In a waft of whirling dust, an unremitting stream of forgotten sticky notes and unremarkable people’s business cards gushes out, tumbling into my lap like confetti.
Bespattered in the green, blue, and yellow neon hues of Post-its, I am reminded—all too well—of my unfinished business. Examiningly, I swing my head from side to side.
Wake-up call: Did I remember to update the final revision file? Did I call Samer?
My mouth tinges with acid.
Hey there 2019…
If your 2018 sounded familiar, you are not alone.
So, what happens when you feel like you’ve fallen behind? Behind time, behind the crowd, behind the world?
Two words: forgive yourself.
That’s right, take responsibility for your shortcomings and forgive yourself. Say it aloud. Say it in your head. I forgive myself. Admit the problem, let go of the blame. Make a commitment to start anew. Stay true to your word. And remember to choose your words carefully.
Through language, we have the ability to shape our world. We give meanings to the objects, feelings, and experiences we witness and encounter. When we imbue something with meaning, we give it power, attention, and recognition. To put it simply: we give it life.
But how do we use language to experience a different reality? Well, language creates perception, and in turn, perception builds reality. To transform your reality, change your perception. Change your language.
By changing my words, I have found great comfort in taking the focus away from what could have been, and putting it on what I still can do. Use your words to set a clear intention to move forward. Express yourself in direct and positive terms. Replace ‘I don’t want to procrastinate’ with ‘I intend to be more organized.’ That way, your intention is clear and you create a path to move forward with the attention on your desired outcome. Conversely, if you fixate solely on avoiding procrastination, then you unconsciously energize it. Hence, you notice more of it and inevitably recreate it.
I’m stuck and don’t know where to start. I choose to start over. I need to forget about this incident. I am moving on. I want to stop wasting time. I am focusing on something new.
When your words convey what you want—rather than what you don’t want—you can progress from an explicit and encouraging frame of mind, as opposed to continuously getting stuck in the present because you keep reminding yourself of the past. At the same time, pay attention when you hear yourself saying, ‘It’s too late to start’ or ‘It’s a waste,’ as this mentality only freezes you in place while time ticks away.
Nonetheless, always remember to take a moment to connect where you are now to where you’re going through the act of self-forgiveness. Open up space to see past experiences as they are—this is an opportunity to perceive yourself and your shortcomings truthfully and free of judgement.
So, time to dust off your desk and get going….
Take a deep breath, set a clear intention, and let’s begin…
May 2019 overflow with creative discoveries, bursting notebooks, messy desks, and accomplished projects. May you sharpen your focus and find clarity. I wish you an exciting journey ahead.
I look forward to hearing about what you’re working on (or not!) in 2019! Leave a comment to start the conversation 🙂