How to Start Again

Has it been one week? It feels like two. Maybe it’s been two weeks since I’ve decided to take a break. Since I’ve “finished.”

Now it’s time to start back up again, if for any other reason but that I promised myself I would. It’s interesting: When this started I was driven by a hereditary compulsion. I tend to sometimes get an idea and laser focus on it, driven against my will to the point of exhaustion to work on it. Then, like always, the drive waned. This time, though I had set an attainable goal line for myself, and when the emotional half of my brain tried to lose interest, the more deliberate part of my brain was able to take over and push just a little extra to get there.

I call that “Practicing discomfort.” It’s something I do when I work out. My body is done. I don’t “want” to do it anymore. So I practice being uncomfortable. If you can understand that sometimes the uncomfortable places are the places where progress is made, you can accomplish much more than you would otherwise.

And now, I’ve taken a break. There is zero dive to keep going beyond a list of cool stuff I can accomplish. So let’s just set a little goal this time. I’m taking just a small handful of the ideas from that list. That’s all I have to do to finish again. Some are boring but easy. Some are more work, but more exciting. But the important thing is that this new goal line is easily obtainable. I can’t count on my neurotic compulsion to get me there, or even to get me started this time. That interest has drifted on to other things over the break.

But will the little goal carry me? Can I trick myself with many little goals, interrupted by many little breaks? I’ve done it before with some success, though on a smaller scale. When I don’t feel like working at my job, I tell myself I’ll “just work for 25 minutes. Then we’ll take a 5 minute break.” I can do that for days: Working 25 minutes. Break for 5. Work another 25. Break for 5 more. And so on. I get a lot of work done when I don’t feel like it that way. So let’s see if we can expand it.

We’re just going to do this little list of things. Let’s see what happens.

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