For as long as I can remember, I have told myself the same story: I am a sprinter and not a marathon runner. I’ve used this story to justify all sorts of crappy behaviour. Leaving things to the last minute; not finishing projects that I start. Even my professional career in the law — get in and get out — I have found myself bored when doing the one thing for too long. I can’t bear sitting at a desk every day.
My challenge … marry the positive aspects of my risk taking with a more steady set of habits based around long-term goals. To forgo immediate gratification for something bigger …
The story has also led to some poor choices about my health along the way. Radical dieting — bordering on eating disorder — or eating anything I feel like in the moment. Extreme exercise interspersed with none. Not drinking alcohol at all or drinking too much.
Black and white thinking; all or nothing tendencies. I have come to understand these traits as my Achilles’ heel. Examining the beliefs behind these behaviours has been illuminating. I have a long story running that being sensible and consistently doing the right thing, is boring. That being extreme makes things more interesting. That my impulsivity is kind of my super power. I realise as I write this how ridiculous it sounds.
But, these traits do provide benefits in my life. I relish a challenge and I am a risk taker (usually in a positive way). I’m the first to jump in when an opportunity presents itself. As a family, we do a lot of fun stuff — we go on different kinds of holidays and we moved our whole family overseas twice in five years. I encourage my kids to take the path less travelled. To be themselves. Not to worry about what the future might bring and do the things they love. To think critically about “the rules”.
Over the past year, I have read and thought a lot about the power of consistently doing the small things that count every day. My challenge for the coming year is to integrate. To marry the positive aspects of my risk taking with a more steady set of habits based around long-term goals. To forgo immediate gratification for something bigger over a more sustained period. So for me, 2019 is the year of integration and doing the small things each and every day — interspersed with a few cliff jumps, no doubt!
What about you? Are you a sprinter or marathon runner? How does it serve you? Come join our conversation on Facebook. If you have any tips on consistency, I would love to hear them!