Normally for me, spring is a time of year when I feel motivated to massively gear up both professionally and with my health. But this year…I’m not sure I have the energy reserves to mount that kind of offensive game. So this week’s topic on sustainability could not be more welcome.
I’m hearing reports of guilt pop up among my clients because they are also feeling the need to push harder and do more. There’s a bit of alarm around the fact that it’s already May and there are many goals that we haven’t even touched on yet.
That stuff should have been done back in March, our inner critic tells us. I’m often working to help my clients beat themselves up less but there is usually resistance to the idea of self-compassion. We worry that if we don’t come down hard on ourselves we won’t achieve anything.
But is our internal beat down the only reason why we work towards our goals? With this question, we can begin to see the light because the whole reason you push hard is that your goal matters so much to you.
We go the self-critical route because that’s what we’ve always done. But that’s a stressful way to do it and it isn’t sustainable over the long term. In burnout mode, we easily default into mental states that reduce our effectiveness—impatience, frustration, distraction, and disengagement.
For sustainability, compassion is the mental state associated with greater physical and mental well-being. Showing ourselves some empathy and kindness doesn’t diminish our motivation to do the things that matter. It isn’t our inner critic that propels us forward, it’s our inner resources of determination, commitment, and courage.
Your ability to engage over the long haul depends on your ability to show yourself some understanding as you navigate the ups and downs associated with the way forward right now.