Everyday we face deadlines. Not everything is specifically noted as a deadline but anything that has a set day or time, is a deadline. Getting up and going to work is littered with a series of small deadlines. Get up by XYZ time, be showered by XYZ time, be dressed, fit in breakfast, beat traffic, get to work on time. So kudos to those who meet these set deadlines day after day. Often, we don’t give ourselves credit for just getting up during the day. Sometimes, the win isn’t a big grandiose thing. How many people did not get up today? How many people hit the snooze button 5 times this morning? How many people were late to work today? So again, we should applaud the small feats we make each day. Guess what? Clocking out, going out, happy hour, bedtime…also small deadlines.
while life gives us deadlines, sometimes we place unnecessary deadlines on ourselves. Life deadlines like college completed by 21, career in full swing by 25, married with kids (and a dog) by 30, somehow traveled the world by 35 and ready for retirement by 40. Guilty as charged. We beat ourselves up as we draw closer to these deadlines that we have set for ourselves and oddly, we beat ourselves up even more when we meet the deadline, achieve the task but somehow feel as though we fell short or it wasn’t all that we had dreamed of and there is no time to “do it over” or, as is the case with children–no take backsies. I think that because we overlook the victories that we make everyday, we become apathetic to even our big triumphs because we systematically have convinced ourselves that we are no big deal and that by proxy, nothing we do is all that great. Think about it. The job you got, you celebrated only momentarily before already mentally giving yourself a deadline to get a raise or promotion. We get married and we ( females mostly) are already giving ourselves the motherhood deadline. We get the babies and deadlines for growth, development, and education of a whole other human consume you. Whoa…. slow down. Sit down. shut up! Get out of your head!! You ever think about how 80-90% of our stress is due to deadlines that we have set for ourselves? I’m not saying, live life spontaneously and on the fly. Not at all, I’m only saying its ok to miss a deadline that no one knows exist but YOU!
As the world changes, we should adjust accordingly. It is becoming more and more acceptable to NOT go to college right away. I know corporate America hasn’t exactly caught on but the internet sure has. With the surge of internet businesses, work from home job, small business, and entrepreneurs… it’s just as easy to work for yourself as it would ever be to commit 4 years training just to try out to work for someone else. Imagine, investing as much time into your own dream as you do trying to be the perfect fit for someone else’s…
What is worse that setting high expectations and strict deadlines for ourselves, is the deadlines and expectations we set for other people. We get in relationships and loosely based on the deadlines we set for ourselves ( i.e. marriage, kids, home ownership, relocating, career moves, etc.) we expect the other person to meet deadlines so that OUR plans can stay on track. When these unsuspecting persons fall short of helping us stay on track, it is in fact, the end of the world… or at least our world with them actively existing in it. Why do we do this to ourselves and why on earth do we do this to other people. What would happen if we only set small goals during the day that will help us get to the goal for the week that is ultimately simply heading in the direction of “better” ( whatever that may be for you)? What would happen if we actively congratulated and praised ourselves for achieving small things that in prior days we pushed off or simply were not doing/doing well? What if we began to consciously appreciate who we are and how we contribute to life? What if we celebrated ourselves just a little more?
Everyday, I try to run. I don’t do it every day for one reason or another-kids, sleepy, aches, busy morning schedule, whatever. But recently, I started changing HOW I ran. I would “cheer my self on” for the small achievements and deadlines I reached even before leaving the house. I got up before 7am –Yes! It’s gonna be a great day! I got dressed to run… still before 7am. Awesome! Go me! You are on fire. I took my vitamins, phone charged up, stretched, drink some water. Still before 7am. Gurl, you are on fire this morning! Bonus for the water!*insert happy dance here*. Then, after a swift look around I am out of the door. I alternate between playing music and listening to audiobooks. Shorter runs, only 2 miles, I prefer music. Longer runs, 3-6 miles, I prefer llistening to books. I like listening to books because I often don’t have enough time to sit down and read a book. For me, deadlines are set from the first page to try to complete X number of chapters by X time fo I can complete the entire book by XYZ day…it becomes its own silent torture and no one is holding me accountable because, let’s be honest, no one cares if I read a book they haven’t heard of, aren’t interested in, and/or has no interest in having to feign interest while I ramble on what I gained from reading said book. But I digress. So no I’m off an running. Gurl you got the that mile marker quicker today. Yaay! You aren’t even out of breath or tired and you’ve been running 30 minutes. You are amazing! Kudos to you for getting out before 7 in17 degree weather. You’re a beast! Home stretch. Look at you! You did it! Time check, X minutes. Damn look at you! You did that! Somewhere between beating myself up for not working out as often as I could, blaming my kids for everything I was never able to get done during the day, borating myself for not being a Kimora Lee Simmons Mom-mogul, I decided FUCK THIS!! I AM AWESOME!! I decided to start celebrating me!
I still make deadlines, but now celebrating all the right steps in the direction of that deadline, I have a greater appreciation for reaching the deadline. Likewise, if a deadline passes, I am now able to consciously look back at all the wins I accomplished already and can easily disregard all negative thoughts that I somehow have been slacking all this time and that’s why I didn’t make MY deadline. Also, I’ve learned to take into consideration how many of these deadlines I am simply making for myself and s “the boss” I am able to grant myself flexibility and an extension. I also take into consideration how much of my deadline is unavoidably spent waiting on other people. We never fully take into consideration the idea that in order to get that promotion– the manager has to know we want it, the position has to be available and sometimes, whether the timing in our life ( and those that depend on us) is even right for the added responsibilities of a promotion. We become people with action plans absent of planning. I set out to own a publishing company before the end of 2018. Done, that process was actually the “easy part”. What had I been so afraid of? But then the pressure (self imposed) to write, edit, and released all 19 and counting of the book ideas, and blog, AND podcast, AND publish other authors began to make me hate going to sleep on days where I couldn’t check something off my list or waking up knowing that I still had deadlines to meet. GURL…. who said you had a deadline? Well people are expecting… WHAT people? Hmmmm… you right. I learned that deadlines, like notions of time in general. are fictitious. We say that a day has 24 hours. Did you know that the 24 hour day divided in to hours and minutes ( as if life as we know it is a stop watch counting down and resetting every “day” we survive) was not established until around 3500 B.C.?? So what did our ancient ancestors do before they could say “today” or “tomorrow” “next month “( which, by the way, the calendar wasn’t established for almost another 2 centuries in or around 700 A.D.) They just LIVED.
So what about you? Could you, would you, should you JUST LIVE? What if deadlines, especially those you set for yourself, were arbitrary and you decided to just live? What happens if in living you learn to appreciate how much you do each day as you walk towards a goal ( walk, don’t run, what’s the hurry?) If you created the deadline, you can change it. Give yourself a break. As we race towards our self-imposed deadlines, we often miss the life that happening. As we set personal deadlines, we forget how to just LIVE.
as an aside, setting deadlines and goal setting , while similar are not ( I repeat are NOT) synonymous! We should set goals but short of “before I die” ( for obvious reason, lol) the deadlines are as unique and pseudo important to us and only us as the goals themselves. remember that.