By Leo Babauta
As we are now in Week 3 of ourÂ Courageous Self-Discipline ChallengeÂ â€¦ there’s a good chance that a pattern has emerged for you. That’s good news!
This week, we’ll bring a sense of play to working with that pattern.
Some patterns you might have noticed:
- Avoidance â€” putting off the task you’ve set for yourself (aka procrastination)
- Distraction for comfort â€” the task is hard or uncomfortable, so you leave it to go to a more comfortable distraction
- Overwhelmed & shutting down â€” you have too much to do, so you shut down and avoid
- Rationalizing why itâ€™s OK to do busywork â€” just clear out those messages and emails before getting to the important task, that’s OK right?
- Reducing the importance of the task â€” you forget your bigger Why and tell yourself that it’s OK to put it off just for today
- Self-judgment or feeling guilty â€” you’ve been putting things off, so you beat yourself up about it
- Perfectionism â€“ especially not doing something because conditions are not perfect
These are some of the most important patterns, ones we talked about in the webinar.
So how do we work with these? We turn them into play!
Playing with Your Pattern
Once you’ve become aware of the pattern â€” and it’s important to be very honest with yourself, don’t kid yourself â€” then you might try playing with the pattern.
That means to bring a sense of play, fun, joy, child-like wonder and curiosity to the pattern.
- When you feel like putting something off, you might instead count down from 6 and then jump up and do it! Maybe throw in a “tada!” when you jump up.
- When you feel like going to distraction to get comfort, instead play one of your favorite guilty pleasure songs, and dance a bit as you do the task.
- When you feel overwhelmed, build a blanket fort for yourself to shut out the rest of the world, and snuggle up with one small simple but important task (writing one paragraph of that report).
- When you’re rationalizing why it’s OK to do busywork, see if you can catch yourself, catching your rationalizations like you’re catching a magical creature. Zap the creature (rationalization) with love! Feel success in spotting this particular rationalization. Be curious about which ones come up most often.
These are not the limits of play â€” I challenge you to find a way to play with your pattern! Bring in other people, challenges, music, dancing, games, exploration, curiosity, fun!
The idea is not just to play, but to play with the pattern, as if it were a playmate. It’s not an enemy, it’s a dance partner.
And then see if the play can help you shift the pattern. Loosen it up. Make it not so urgent, strong, or hardened.
Please try it this week and report in the #discipline-challenge channel and with your team, letting them know how you’re playing and how it’s going.