When you’re setting yourself a goal to work towards, it’s usual to think “in an ideal world, what would I be achieving?” and set that as a target; for example, “I will blog once a week” or “I will run a mile every day”. While it’s good to be aware of your ultimate objective, it’s also important to keep in mind that you’re (most likely) not currently living in that ideal world.
Running a mile every day would be brilliant, but there will be days when you’re just fully booked and literally can’t squeeze it in, and days when you wake up feeling like someone’s been sandpapering your throat and bashing your head against a wall, and days when you’re in a low mood (which is the equivalent of the previous example, but located in your mind instead of your body) and just can’t face it. And that’s okay.
I have a rule of thumb for setting targets such as these: think of your goal and then halve the difficulty. In this case that would mean changing “I will blog once a week” to “I will blog once a fortnight”, or “I will run a mile every day” to “I will run (on average) half a mile every day”.
If you happen to wake up one day with seven blog posts whizzing around your head and a free few hours in which to type them up, then yay! Type them up, schedule them to post once a fortnight over the next few weeks and treat yourself to a day at the zoo (or whatever counts as downtime for you!).
Similarly if you happen to wake up feeling joyous and bursting with energy, and find yourself effortlessly running 3 miles in one go, then woo! You’ve achieved 6/7 of your goal for that week so if you’re not in the mood for a couple of days, the pressure’s off.
We tend to overestimate our available time / effort / ability / the number of figs we give about that thing, and underestimate our experience of stress / anxiety / tiredness / boredom / illness. By halving the difficulty of the goal you’re setting, you’re much more likely to achieve it and feel inspired, rather than repeatedly missing your target and feeling completely demotivated.
You might find it goes really well and you get into a routine and you can bump it up a bit (to “write two blog posts every three weeks” or “run 5 miles per week”), or maybe it’s just the right number… or maybe it doesn’t work out at all, but at least you gave it a good shot (that you had a reasonable chance of achieving). Be kind to yourself! ❤