“Striving to be your best can be very positive as long as your goals are realistic, they move you forward, and they provide you with satisfaction from the efforts at self improvement. Perfectionism becomes a problem when your goals and expectations make you feel worse instead of better or leave you always unsatisfied and self critical because perfection is always out of reach.” – Howard E. LeWine, M.D
Work smart, not hard. Easy to say, harder to do if you measure progress as how hard you work.
I realized in January that I experience progress as an internal feeling. That is, feeling like I’ve made progress is more important that actually getting things done. And it means that if I don’t work hard, I never feel like I’ve made a sufficient amount of progress.
In short: If work is ease-y, it doesn’t feel like I’ve worked hard enough.
“We do not trust the effortless way. We seem to have absorbed through our very pores the notion that there is some unnamed merit in the hard way. We credit as”real” only that which we do on purpose, which takes teeth-gritting effort. We belittle or ignore that which we do without deliberate intention, that which seems to happen. If we cannot take credit for the doing, we discredit it.”
–Denise McCluggage, The Centered Skier (via The Perfect Wrong Note)
The formula for my current way of measuring progress: Distance = Effort. This is confused. Would you measure the distance of a hike by how hard you walked? You walk the same distance coming down a mountain as you did going up it, even if the former feels easier.
I’m trying to rewire how I perceive progress, by:
- Setting objective, external ways of measuring progress
- Picking a most important thing (MIT) to do each day; everything else is a bonus.
- Accepting that I’ll almost always feel like I haven’t done enough, and that a) that’s okay and b) it’s not accurate.
How do you measure progress?