Week 11: A Slow Decline

Why is it so hard to pick up good habits? It takes both mental and physical effort to maintain. Bad habits just creep up on you and next thing you know, all your self control is gone…

What will I try to improve on next week?
Next week: more self-discipline. It seems that as the homework and stress loads increase, my motivation decreases rather drastically. Thus is becomes much harder to rely on my motivation to keep getting work done. As a bunch of deadlines suddenly approach, a lot of self anxiety rises in the face of all the up coming work.
Not knowing the exact steps I can take and the amount of time needed to finish each task, the daunting deadlines becomes even more daunting. From my personal experience, everything will get done to a decent quality. However, the stress costs of such feats are incredibly high even if they last just a short amount of time.
Focusing on self-discipline means to manage my time better. If I get burnt from focusing on one task, I should be able to switch to a less mentally engaging task all the while maintaining progress towards my overall deadlines. As an example of this, if I can’t solve the questions on my upcoming assignments, I should give them an honest try, see if I can find help, then finally, switch to complete some weekly readings or review for my other courses. That way, I’ll still be making progress in one way or another.
What was I most proud of this week?
I am really proud of the fact that I really applied the concept of taking a step back and taking small actions towards my goals. This means instead of freaking out over all the things I had to do and the little amount of time I had to do everything, I stopped and just stayed present. I focused on getting what I could get done with all the resources I had available at the time. Then I would take time off to prep for my next steps. It was reassuring and getting work done feels good. I need to keep reminding myself of this fact with the weeks moving forward in order to get through this last push of the semester.
What was my biggest accomplishment this week?
My biggest accomplishment this week was me taking the time out of my life to reflect and plan out my final push for the current semester. Although it is nothing major, I still feel great knowing that I have something concrete planned out I can work towards and seeing all my goals and deadlines laid out in front reassures me personally. I have been dealing with some emotional highs and lows all week long and taking the time down to write out my plans and my thoughts really helps me sort my monkey mind out. As a result, getting my own crazy thoughts onto something clear that I can reflect on.
What have I done to get closer to my life goals this week?
This week I finished a book called “Stumbling Upon Happiness”. Actually, I just finished it earlier today. It is written by a psychology professor at Harvard and his attempt at defining happiness. I really liked the book as it provided a ton information detailed with studies, analogies and jokes on how happiness is perceived in the past, present and future. I’ve learned that our memories are not very reliable. In a study talking asking subjects to guess how happy or sad they would be if their preferential candidate would win compared to how they actually felt and then compared to how they recalled they felt, the subjects predicted they would be much happier than they actually were had their preferential candidate won. That part made sense to me, it’s like buying something you’ve wanted for so long and as soon as you get it… meh. What surprised me about this study was the retrospect of the candidates. When asked how happy they were about this past experience, the emotion they recalled was not from the actual event but rather from what they thought there were going to feel should a certain outcome occur. This means that the subject that predicted he was going to feel extremely happy in the future actually only felt a little happy in the present but recalled feeling extremely happy when looking back into the past. That wasn’t the greatest explanation but that was fascinating in my mind. This book has really reinforced the idea that I am not my thoughts. Our brain only collects what stands out, high frequency events or just a highlight reel. Thus we cannot not always trust it to be accurate. I think this helps me focus on staying present and working hard to get done what I can do right now.
What was hard for me this week, and why?
The hardest thing for me this week was starting on my big looming school projects. The hardest part of starting a project is… well, starting the project. It’s vague. It’s big. and those factors just build upon each other making it seem so much worse. I am trying to shift my life perspective to live with uncertainty and free flow, but currently i still heavily rely on things like project outlines, marking schemes and examples to know exactly what the professor wants and so I can have something concrete to focus my research. I think the counter to this is that I should embrace failure, it is just a step towards success and even if all the research I’ve conducted is all meaningless, I’ll have learned my lesson, gained a little bit of knowledge from it and learn resilience to keep moving forward.
What was my biggest waste of time this week?
My biggest waste of time this week would have to be watching TV. Not just watching TV as a reward, but freaking out over all the work I have to do or rationalizing I have done enough work for the week and just binge watching anime. I know we all need breaks and although it is a good way to get a break from getting burnt out I should learn to have some self control. If I am going to spend the whole week drinking, I should at least be doing homework until the last minute I leave knowing I have something to look forward to after all this shit. I am really struggling with this fact. I do a lot of work as the week starts but as the week tapers off, so do I.
What did I do this week that made me ashamed?
I am really ashamed of the fact that I left my emotions get the better of me this weekend. So I cut out a really important person in my life and when my friends mentioned hanging with her, I just got real fucking sad. Then I spent the weekend feeling self pity and not going to make the best of the situation at hand. Sure I did have fun this weekend, but I definitely caught myself getting sad thinking about the past, what I could have done and what future might still exist out there. Yea, this is me being a little bitch about my emotions and I understand that sometimes it happens. Shit happens, as long as i don’t keep repeating my own mistakes, that is progress. This is definitely going to happen again. Next time it happens, I need to find a moment to fully feel those emotions, see that they exist and then let them go to move back into the present. It is important to have the patience and the wisdom to be able to do that.

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