I’ve always been taught that the goals need to be SMART. I liked this idea because it was giving me a direction on how to start. Okay, I want to this and that? Let’s make it Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-limited.
Trust me, I love planning. I am known for preparing a ‘to do’ list even for the smallest occasion. Do you need a beautiful excel table? Just give me a moment. Do you want any help with preparing a perfect schedule? No problem.
Having the things noted gives me pleasure. If it is written, it will happen.
Most of the years, months and weeks, I start by noting. Even in 2020, when everybody said that the calendar was the most useless thing which could be bought, mine was full. Filled with random thoughts, shopping lists and brilliant quotes.
Obviously, I am not a big fan of pandemic, illness and being scared one of another. But I need to admit that during the last 12 months, I’ve got a lot of lessons learned. Having a chance to slow down brought me a massive dose of acceptance and completely changed my perspective on my own weaknesses as well as other people’s feelings.
It has also shifted the way I’ve been planning.
In my journal from 2020, you can precisely observe this evolution. At some point, my daily notes stopped containing so many numbers. Somehow, they got replaced by names of different emotions, which earlier didn’t exist in my vocabulary.
You can read in it sentences starting from: ‘I feel…’, ‘I am afraid…’, ‘I am happy/sad/grateful/worried…’. or even the questions about my actual needs. Despite the vast amount of sex, there is also a lot of pure love, understanding and caring. And in my life – much more courage, relaxing thoughts and satisfaction. Even if I don’t know what will happen in the future, I am calm with the present.
Instead of trying to measure all the beautiful moments, I’ve started to appreciate them. And instead of counting all my steps, I’ve got excited about the unknown routes.
Previously, when I was trying to achieve something, the first things I needed to know were: the specified results and established ways of working.
So when I was planning to write, I tried to set up how many days per week I should do it. When I wanted to learn a language, I needed to know how many new words per day will stay in my head. When I tried to lose weight, I needed a precise idea of how many calories I should eat, how often I should work out and how many liters of water I should drink (of course, in order to lose x kilograms/centimeters during x weeks).
I truly believed that the numbers were giving me control. The truth is that they took control over me.
Progress never felt good enough when I couldn’t reach my standards. I wasn’t satisfied with myself when I run 4 kilometers instead of 6; when I read 10 books instead of 15; when I wrote 3 pages instead of 5 or when I simply missed 1 workout.
Did I mention that during each of these activities, I was still making great progress?
Yes, I was.
But the more important question that needs to be asked here is: was I listening to the daily needs of my soul and body?
All I wanted was to be successful.
But finally – after months of lockdown and frustration – I’ve started to understand that – before going to sleep – I don’t want to ask myself anymore if my day was productive. I want to know if the actions I’ve taken actually made me happy.
I read somewhere that nothing is more serious than pleasure. And it hit me. After several days of walking with this sentence stacked in my mind, I understood that trusting the process is enough for improvement. And actually, if you follow the right way, you don’t need to care so much about the results because they will come anyway.
Being strict and concentrated on the possible outcome may only bring you frustration. The only thing which can open the door to satisfaction is accepting failures and getting ready for multiple adjustments.
You need to understand that there’s no reason for hanging up on perfection; in the end, all the efforts are perfect.
Pandemic showed me in many ways that sometimes the only way to speed up is to slow down.
Really, I’ve never expected that one day I will start working on ceramics or that I could fall in love with the plants so easily. But it happened. And I am happier than ever.
And do you know what’s the most important?
I really do not need to know how many new leaves my beautiful bonsai has to notice that he actually grows a lot. I just cannot forget about giving him enough amount of sun and water.