On Day 54, I wrote about lessons I drew from my childhood game, The Sims. I’d like to elaborate on those lessons today.
At the end of that post, I concluded that if I
- make a plan,
- do what my plan says even if I don’t feel like doing it,
- and focus completely on the task at hand,
I will be able to do anything I want to get done. This is absolutely true. This is the very essence of doing the things you actually want to do.
Now, of course, it’s not that easy. If everyone understood how to do this, there wouldn’t be a self-help industry. People wouldn’t be complaining about how they procrastinate too much. I would be cranking these posts out like clockwork, have ripped abs and be a millionaire. No, my conclusion is the ideal result. It is Day 500 in your journey to doing what you want to do.
Until very recently, I was living a very unstructured life. For a lot of my nights, I would snap out of my late night reverie and realize I had spent the past five hours surfing Reddit and ate a whole pizza. I would get up and tell myself, “No more.” and set out writing a 2-page itemized to-do list for the next day.
The next day, I wouldn’t do them.
You know why? Because I didn’t take into consideration where I was. I had no schedule, no constructive habits, and some pretty destructive habits as well. I couldn’t just suddenly be an organized person the next day.
It is only after I accepted where I was that I could start changing. By accepting where you are, your ego won’t get in the way when you take the first step. I was overestimating my ability to change in one day. It was nearly impossible to change that much. I had to start smaller.
Take a small step
How small? So small, you can’t fail. I didn’t intend to learn this through my blog, but I did. On this blog, my only measurement of success is 20 minutes on the stopwatch. Then I can move on to other things. This tiny task allowed me to practice planning, executing, and focusing until it became something I naturally did. Every day I got another repetition in saying I’ll do something, and then doing it.
And it is that phrase that is key. Say you’ll do something, and then do it. Every time you do that, you believe yourself a little more. Self-belief breeds self-confidence breeds success. First, you say to yourself you can do it. Then, you tell others you can do it. And your actions will snowball into the next big mission you wish to take on. But it all starts with the first, small step.
If there is something you’ve always wanted to do, think of the absolute smallest goal you can set for it. If you want to eat healthier, how about eat a vegetable a week? If you want to exercise, how about walk around the block once a day? Something so small, it’s more work to refuse to do it. Then write it down. I would recommend writing it down daily, just to remind yourself.
As for me, I think I’m on my way to getting the planning and executing down, but I still need to find ways to improve my focus. Distractions make things take much longer than expected. I’ll get back to you on the lessons I’ve discovered there.
Will post game dev progress later. Weekend in tahoe!