It doesn’t matter how inspiring the goal is — if it’s so intimidating in scope that you will not start, it’s not a helpful goal.

This doesn’t mean you should give up the goal, it just means that you could benefit immensely from breaking it down into smaller steps.

When you don’t feel like starting, try cutting the goal in half. If nothing changes, cut the goal in half again.

You lower the friction to start every time you cut the goal down.

Two benefits to this process:

  1. By cutting the goal down, you’re forced to think more clearly about each step needed to accomplish it.
  2. You actually start (!), which is half the battle for getting anything done.

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Worrying about what you cannot control doesn’t give you more control, it just gives you more worries to sweat about — sometimes literally.

A key facet of resiliency is being able to recognize and avoid the stuff that unnecessarily takes up your energy.

As a general rule of thumb, if it’s within your control then it may be worth some consideration.

If it’s out of your control, then giving yourself full permission to let it go is one of the most valuable things you can do for your well-being and what you’re trying to accomplish.

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There’s a fairytale that we often tell ourselves:

That someday our to-do lists and responsibilities will lighten up enough and provide us with the perfect vacancy in our schedule to do what’s important to us.

The thing is, there will always be more to do and there will always be…

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In certain circumstances, you may try to justify putting your well-being in second place.

You may think, “I have no time” or “too much is at stake”.

The price of burning yourself out can sometimes feel worth it in these circumstances, yet it almost never is.

Time might be tight, and a lot might be at stake — all that can be true. But none of that ever means anything if you aren’t able to recognize yourself downstream.

The importance of taking care of yourself deserves the same imperative as breathing.

That is — it is a given. It’s a necessity.

It’s required for thriving.

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When you find yourself entangled by a distressing thought, it can be helpful to describe that thought by saying: “I notice I am having the thought of…”

The idea — formally known as defusion — is that by attempting to notice your thoughts instead of identifying with them, you can change how you relate to them.

You put yourself in a position to ask useful questions like:

Is this thought helping me in any way?

Is it creating unnecessary suffering?

The fact that it’s possible to build distance and ask questions of your thoughts in this way points to an important truth: you are not our thoughts.

In other words, with practice, it’s entirely possible to notice and accept that you’re having a distressing thought without identifying and being entangled by it.

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William Liao

William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)