A Realistic Approach to Getting out of Your Own Way



"Oh yes, that's my specialty," award-winning novelist Margaret Atwood reveals in an interview with Bustle when asked if she procrastinates. In my mind, it would be nice to attribute a successful career under my belt—fifty years from now, God willing—to postponing things until the latest possible time. The likelihood of this actually happening is quite low. While it can be argued that there are some positive benefits to procrastinating, the advantages of a clear and focused path far outweigh the risk factors associated with any habits to the contrary.

Show me someone who gets excited about deadlines and I'll show you someone who is an effective liar. I'm actively scrambling to meet more than one project deadline and I've realized this is the natural (anxious) order of things when you have a tendency to spread yourself too thin, as I often do—the key to meeting deadlines, being fair to yourself: creating more quiet, focused, and inspired spaces, leaving messages unread and calls unanswered, not making myself too emotionally available to those who aren't in the habit of navigating life for themselves and forcing them to take charge in areas they often rely on me to assist with, constantly improving my organizational skills, not indulging in trivial things that interfere with me getting started on projects and tasks sooner, and overcoming the false mindset that "I have plenty of time."

Show me someone who has never felt discouraged at some point and I'll show you someone who can't possibly be human. Rewind to just a few months ago, newly exited and finally free from a relationship I was starving in and traded my authenticity for. Cutting those ties was vital to me repairing my relationship with myself and rebuilding love independent from someone I had allowed to reduce roughly every dimension of my identity. Perspective still shaky, it was something Rosario Dawson said to me after sharing some intimate thoughts about my 6-year relationship coming to an end that helped me to regain my sense of self, “...minus the doubt speak.” It was the weight of those words, specifically, that made me realize the true extent of forfeiture my self-esteem had undergone being in that toxic space. Moving forward, I needed to hold myself accountable in order to believe in myself again. We’ve all been there—at the edge of feeling discouraged and unsure of how to maintain balance in that internal environment so as not to fall and plummet to our emotional deaths—haven’t we?

Show me someone who doesn't have any regrets and I'll show you someone who doesn't make enough time to reflect. Unresolved regrets are the mental equivalent of mud if you’re not careful about getting stuck. Between the things left unsaid and the things left unmended, there is plenty I wish I could go back in time and rewrite. The reality is, I can’t, but sometimes even the firmest grip on reality isn’t enough to ease the scattered longings within me for a do-over. To safeguard my journey through regretful thinking, I’ve been learning to accept things in a deeper way and with less resistance for the things I can’t change—letting go.

It’s not always easy to reformat the self-sabotaging thoughts, patterns, and behaviors you’ve been conditioned to. Life is hard and the reasons are usually two: hearts hurt and minds trick. Reminding yourself where you’re headed and paving a clear path to get there through establishing healthy habits and deliberate action is how you face the daily challenges when life trips you up.