Feeling motivated, a few weeks ago, I mapped out my personal priorities.
There were 5 that stood out above all else.
Following the school of thought that daily practice is the way to ensure longevity in new habits and the improvement of skills, I set myself the target of showing up to each one every day.
“80% of success is showing up.” Woody Allen
I quickly discovered I’d set the bar too high. My lovely readers did warn me, might I add. You Guys are just too wise!
Therefore, following the second school of thought that perfect is the enemy of good, I accepted I wouldn’t meet my target.
I figured 60% completed, beat achieving nothing due to possibly unrealistic expectations.
In fact, 60% is an improvement. When I looked back at the post mapping out these priorities, this is what I’d written;
“40% success rate. 3 out of 5 not done. Far from perfect but better than 5 out of 5 not done. As my day progressed and I realised I wouldn’t achieve what was intended, I could have decided to try for a perfect pass rate tomorrow, and give up on trying to improve today.“
Maybe that Roman philosopher guy was onto something?
“If you aspire to the highest place, it is no disgrace to stop at the second or even the third place.” Cicero 106-43 BC
By setting the bar high I didn’t achieve the goals I had set – but I had improvement to strive for. It seems I have moved up the ranking.
The improvement, I believe, was made due to my attitude towards achievement.
Do you remember my Good Enough Chocolate Fudge Cake? It was, as described, good enough – not perfect. I can do better, I know I can, because I have and will do so in the future. But for that day, that occasion, and to get it done – it was good enough.
I didn’t reprimand myself for producing something not quite perfect. I carried no guilt or shame. I wasn’t frozen with inertia, overwhelmed at the realisation that what I would create would fall short of the mark. The action of creating it didn’t seem futile.
There was cake and that was the priority. I showed up.
By taking action, I created action. Rather than feeling demoralised, I felt good. I felt motivated.
It could be argued that going into anything with a ‘less than perfect’ approach is a waste and that time/effort should be concentrated on areas where perfection can be achieved. But as there is no such thing as perfect, I’m finding that by showing up and actually doing something my habits and skills are improving. And as I want them to improve in all 5 areas, that means showing up at all 5 areas, consistently.
Maybe the next time I post I’ll be writing about an 80% success rate?
(although currently today I’ve just one thing ticked off my list – writing – so best not to hold our breath!)
How do you motivate yourself to focus on your priorities?