Saying No to Myself

With the start of a new semester, I’m once again scrambling around, trying to stay on top of things. It’s not overwhelming (yet, at least), and I know from experience that all it takes is some time for me to get into a groove and find the right rhythm. I’m a firm believe in finding a place/time for everything, and then sticking to that schedule fairly religiously. I’ve also been working on getting better at saying no to things.

I’ve always been quite good at saying no when it’s something I know I won’t be able to accomplish. I’m all for under promising and over delivering, and I feel that overall I’ve avoided making commitments I can’t see through. One area where I still struggle with this, however, is when it comes to goals.

This might sound silly to many of you, and it feels silly to me to admit it, but I have such a huge issue side stepping personal goals. If you’ve read the blog for a long time, you know I have a lot of those goals at any one point. 1,000 words of creative writing each day. A blog post every weekday. Read 1 book a week. Spend time with each of my children and Denisa each day (individually, if at all possible). Keep a daily journal. Stay on top of my weight. Exercise for 30 minutes each day. And that’s just some of them.

I’m a completionist at heart, and when I don’t find time in my day to get every one of those goals checked off my list, it really eats at me. Yes, I know that I’m the only person who would know, and the only one who would likely care. But I think at the back of my head, imposter syndrome is just hanging out, telling me that if I miss any of those goals, everything will fall apart. If I don’t write 1,000 words or blog each day, then next thing I know, I’ll not be writing or blogging at all. It’s as if skipping any one of those things will screw everything up.

Theoretically, I know that’s not the truth. I’ve been writing every day since . . . 2002? Something like that. I’m not going to break a 20 year habit just because I skipped out on a busy day. But it’s one thing to recognize that, and another thing to convince myself that it’s okay to actually hit the pause button on a goal–and then feel at peace with that.

I’m working on it, though. I believe I’d be a happier Bryce if I could get to the point where the goals are strong guidelines, and not rock solid commitments that I have to keep or else. Because all I’ve been doing over the years is adding onto them bit by bit, while at the same time increasing my commitments elsewhere.

I don’t have much of a point other than that general observation. If it’s something I struggle with, I imagine some of you might struggle with it too. So let me be the first to remind you that it’s okay to go easy on yourself, especially when times are difficult. When I was in Pennsylvania for 3.5 weeks, I didn’t write a single word. I just couldn’t tap into any creativity. I still felt bad about it, but I didn’t feel as bad as I would have earlier, so here’s hoping I’m making progress . . .


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