Most people marvel at my near 19 years of daily documentation. They think I’m crazy and somewhat obsessive to continue to record/document daily for so long. But sometimes I fall of the daily documenting bandwagon. And it has happened. (Sort of.)
If you really carefully examine the calendars there are at least three days that are not in the right order–although for the life of me I would not be able to locate them very easily. (If you are at Exeter and looking at the calendars right now and reading this blog regularly and you can find them for me–I will make you a little pamphlet sketchbook. Just write in the comments the month, day and year of where the extra/wrong days are located.) Or in the case of one February, there is a whole extra day in the line-up and it wasn’t a leap year.
If it wasn’t for my commitment to posting the daily update on this blog, I would be in the middle of one of those lulls–a time where I miss a couple of days because it seems like there are so many other things to do, and I just can’t get it together to spend the 10 minutes or so in the morning to record the previous days events–so I eventually get one, two or even three weeks behind. Thankfully it was only four days this time, but only because I couldn’t stand the guilt for not doing what I said I would do.
Yet inspite of that guilt, I try to forgive myself for not doing it. It’s not that I am letting myself off the hook, it’s more than I am recognizing that I am fallable. Like many people, I am my worst judge and my worst critic. But I also know–and there are studies to back this up–that if I forgive myself for my fallability and try again, really and truly moving on from it, I usually get back on the schedule again. It’s the same thing for any discipline–whether trying to maintain an exercise practice, a better way of eating or whatever–by forgiving yourself when you “screw-up” instead of berating yourself, you usually recover much faster.
One of the studies related to this is with college students and procrastination. Students who procrastinated and did poorly on a test at the start of the semester and then berated themselves for doing so typically continue to procrastinate and do poorly. Students who forgave themselves and started over were more likely to succeed. I can’t remember which pop-psychology book cited this study–but I think about it often–especially when I am beating myself up for procrastinating!
So my words of the day–for myself, and for whomever reads this–forgive yourself. Really and truly–don’t let yourself off the hook, but forgive yourself. Only you can figure out what that means for you.