I sit here with laptop before me, staring at my red, sparkly Christmas themed nails resting on the keyboard ready to type up an encouraging holiday message for you...I pause…and pause...hmmm.
Yesterday, it was crystal clear what I wanted to write for this week’s Christmas time blog. I was lit up and felt like all creative cylinders were on fire. I was in the zone. If only I’d had a pen and paper, but ugh, I was at the gym listening to a podcast by two of my favorite authors Brené Brown and James Clear.
Now I sit here trying to recapture it, so I pause, type, erase, type, erase….pause. Aaarrrgghhh!
All those crystal clear thoughts (and announcing free workshops in January I'm offering you) seem murky, distant and feel difficult to get down on the page coherently.
It's ok, just begin I tell myself...have patience and simply begin, it will come back…stick with it Rusti! And away I went and here's the finished product. May it offer you what you need to hear today.
Q: Why is it we can be so certain, motivated and fueled with can-do energy one day and near paralyzed with doubt and blah the next?
A: We don't close the time gap!
The psychology, science and ancient wisdom are all quite clear on this concept. The longer we delay taking action on an idea we have, the more difficult it becomes. Not only more difficult, but we start to doubt the value, usefulness and benefits we’ll get from taking action.
In our hyper stimulated world, we also risk getting distracted by some other shiny object.
This time gap most often leads to lost opportunities and total derailment (the longer-term domino is we erode trust in ourselves). If we’re somehow able to regain our footing, the time gap makes completing the project more difficult because some level of doubt and fear have crept in.
For instance, right now, as I type this I’m thinking “…where is this even going Rusti?...do you even know what you’re talking about? will anyone still be reading at this point…you better get to the point already or why bother?”
Do you relate? Pause for a minute and think of something recent you were super stoked about and knew with certainty it was a great idea, but you paused and let time go by. Where’s that great idea now?
Here’s the point: when we close the time gap, our life improves in significant and dramatic ways. It doesn’t even matter if the idea is good or not, the act of doing something towards it is enough. Just get started!
Sounds simple enough huh? Yet often it isn't. That's because the mind freezes and the following culprits consume our attention and bog us down, so much so that we avoid taking even a tiny step of action in the direction of our goal: a) procrastination, b) perfectionism, c) misunderstanding willpower and d) inconsistent habits.
Want to get beyond these obstacles? Join me for the January Workshops I'm hosting for free!
Click here and you'll be taken to my Healthy & Happy community sign up page.
Once you join, you can register for the workshops.
Another way to think of this, what if volume or quantity of action, no matter how big a step or small, was the secret sauce and not how bold or great the step of action was?
By example (bolding added for emphasis by yours truly),“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on the quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the ‘quantity’ group: fifty pounds of pots rated an ‘A,’ forty pounds a ‘B,’ and so on. Those being graded on ‘quality,’ however, needed to produce only one pot—albeit a perfect one—to get an ‘A.’ Well, came grading and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the ‘quantity’ group was busily churning out piles of work—and learning from their mistakes—the ‘quality’ group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.” ~ David Bayles and Ted Orland from Art & Fear
IMPORTANT NOTE: Theorizing about perfection (healthy) is NOT the same as believing attaining perfection in life (unhealthy). We can all strive for optimal outcomes (healthy) using visions of perfection (imagine those visions as guiding stars). When you believe attaining perfection is possible in life in a static, fixed way, that’s when it becomes unhealthy and harmful.
When you apply this time gap concept to your aspirations in the coming year, this portion of that podcast I was listening to in the gym between Brené Brown and James Clear (in it, she was talking with him about his awesome book Atomic Habits that came out in 2018) is super helpful:
Brené: What’s the diagnosis for someone who likes to get all the equipment and do all the planning, but never actually starts the habit?
James: I like to define this like motion vs. action. Motion is planning to do something or preparing to get a result or prepping…and action is a behavior that can actually deliver the result you’re trying to achieve…it doesn’t mean that motion is useless and that you should never do it…but it does mean that there’s a time where planning becomes its own form of procrastination and a lot of the time, we fall into that. The reason we like motion is because we can tell ourselves a story that I’m making progress, I’m doing something, I’m moving forward.
Let's get honest with ourselves for a moment. For those of us who are self-confessed procrastinators and perpetual planners know the truth – it’s a fantasy we’re doing something and making progress if we stay stuck in the prep phase of "motion." Right?
Clear went on to say, by way of example, someone goes to talk to a personal trainer about getting stronger. No amount of talking to, vetting and contemplating hiring a personal trainer will make a person stronger (they’re stuck in the “motion” zone), but as soon as the person decides to do some squats, boom, action!
It feels good to plan and prep (aka dream and fantasize), but that takes time and the time gap is when we risk falling and fizzle out.
I don’t know about you, but I want 2022 to be less about falling and fizzling and more about striving and thriving! Even if the action-steps taken are riddled with blunders and mistakes – that’s better than floating about in the dreaded time-gap of non-action.
You with me?
If so, let’s take action together. DON’T OVERTHINK THIS NEXT PART – just sign up now. Trust me – you’ll thank me later.
Ok, still not convince huh? No problem. Read on my friend.
The most useful bit of advice I’m personally leaning into as I craft my 2022 goals comes from Steven Pressfield’s book “Do the Work.” It goes like this:
Start before you’re ready
“Don’t prepare. Begin.
Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.
The enemy is Resistance.
The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.
Start before you’re ready.”
And Pressfield goes on to share this nugget of wisdom from W.H. Murray, the Scottish mountaineer and writer, who wrote:
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ Begin it now.”
Join me by clicking here!
You’re invited to a series of live 90-minute workshops on these Sundays in January: 2nd, 9th, 23rd, and 30th, each workshop will be held at 11 am PT/2 pm ET.
Together, we'll work on an important 2022 goal (I'll be working right along side with you on mine too). You pick your goal and I'll coach you through dismantling the biggest obstacles that will surface along the way. These aren't "if" they'll happen, they will, so let's plan for them in advance.
The purpose of the workshops is to help you avoid staying stuck in the "motion" zone and falling prey to the dreaded time gap.
We'll make measurable progress in the "action" zone, moving you ever closer to achieving your goal. It doesn't have to be a health related goal either. You could choose to organize a room in your home or your digital world; reduce social media use; spend more time being present with your family; set healthier boundaries, develop a meditation practice, etc. Whatever it is, pick something important that'll make a significant difference in your quality of life.
Workshop topics and how to register
First, click here to join Rusti's Healthy & Happy community page. Then, register for the following Events (see left hand side navigation pane under the Welcome tab).
January 2nd: Overcoming Procrastination
January 9th: Eradicate Perfectionism
January 23rd: Harnessing Willpower
January 30th: Habits that stick
Come to all 4 for maximum value, or pick and choose which you'd like to attend.
What you'll want to do next: register for each workshop you want to attend, have an idea of the one goal (one!) you'll want to work on during the series of workshops, have Zoom installed on your digital device, have pen/paper at the ready for note taking, and bring an open and willing spirit. That's it!
Have questions? Email me at [email protected]
PS - anyone who has ever participated in a group coaching event with me knows how I love to hold raffles and give away free prizes. You're automatically entered to win a raffle prize when you attend live. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of each workshop event.
Don't forget to invite others who could benefit from attending - especially if it's a person who could offer support and accountability to you.
I'm excited to coach you and witness your growth. Let's do this! Together we're stronger.
Don't forget to leave me a comment below or ask a question. And if there's someone in your life who would benefit from this blog, please share it with them and thank you!
In good health,