4 Guaranteed Ways to Fail

Being out of college has left me feeling restless. I miss the constant sense of forward movement and a long-term goal. Even better was the feeling at the start of every semester that I could wipe away the last few months and start fresh.

Now I feel stuck, repeating the same cycles over and over again in my flailing attempts at self improvement.

But, to paraphrase Thomas Edison, I have not failed but simply learned many ways that don’t work. Here’s the cycle I’ve found myself stuck in, in the hopes that maybe by writing it down I can start to get out of it and that it might help someone else get out of their own rut.

Make a ton of goals

It’s so easy to start with one goal (i.e. “I’m gonna get in shape and lose a few pounds!”) and quickly get derailed. I should clean the house more. I really ought to make more of my own food and clothes. Oooh, I really want to get started on Etsy and the craft show circuit. Hm, and my blog’s been dead for like a month.

Have high expectations

Then comes the daydreaming.

As someone that’s way out of shape, fitspiration is merely thinly veiled daydreaming.

Suddenly I’m imagining myself next summer with a super model body, a financially sustainable handmade store,  a closet full of clothes I made by myself, and a spotless, minimalist apartment. Never mind that each of those by themselves would take months of focused effort to complete.

Work hard at all of them

Willpower’s a muscle, so I need to exercise it a ton. Except that this is the exercise equivalent of trying to bench press a car when I’ve only been able to lift fifty pounds.

After burning out, vow never to fail again and repeat the process

The self-hate is vital here. Really pound in that I suck, that I just need to try harder. Come up with a slightly tweaked but equally difficult version of the previous list of goals and repeat it all over again.


Hey, they say to write what you know, and you have to admit this is much better than a “so sorry it’s been awhile, life got in the way” post. If you’re looking for something a little more uplifting, I’d direct you to:

/r/GetMotivated – an active, friendly community that’s happy to offer advice and support alike

/r/ZenHabits – similar to GetMotivated with happiness and meditation advice as well

Nerd Fitness – whether your goals are fitness related or not, the six week challenges are an excellent format for goal setting

The Rule of “F&*% Yea or No”

As I was puttering around the blogosphere, I came across a post called “Fuck Yes or No” (sorry, I censored it in the title, but I’m just not going to do that for this entire post). Essentially, if you or the person involved does not say “fuck yes”, then consider it a no.

Its original context is sex and dating, and in that arena it’s a genius rule; why would you want to be with someone who isn’t actively excited about being with you? Forget all of the “is s/he into me, why haven’t they called/etc” and just move on.

I read that earlier this week, and I keep coming back to it throughout my day.

While trying on clothes. Wellllll, this dress is okay. The top is weird, but I guess I could rip it out or something and…

Is it a fuck yea? It’s not? Okay, then that’s a no. Move on.

Then as I was working on some earrings, but not feeling particularly inspired I found myself thinking,

Does the thought of making these make you say fuck yea? Oh, you’re just doing this out of guilt that you have unused craft supplies? Go do something you’re actually excited about!

Or when I woke up at the crack of dawn and proceeded to waste time on some funny story websites, but wasn’t even cracking a smile.

I’m not even really enjoying this am I? This is just autopilot. Let’s go find something to say fuck yea about.

Yes, of course this can’t always be the case. Sometimes at work, as I stare at my overflowing to do list, I am definitely not cheering fuck yea. But. Of course I need a paycheck. And those time of stress are evened out by the funny moments with my clients and coworkers, and the feeling of accomplishment and making a difference I get from this job.

Not every moment is going to be a fuck yea moment, but I can make choices that give me a lot more of those moments instead of comfortable apathy.

Welp, I just broke my record for number of swear words in a post. I’m now going to go make sure my mom never reads this.

Gamifying Life – Simple Can Be Good Too

I love gamification when it’s done well. Games can be so motivating, so encouraging, and yes, sometimes so addicting, that harnessing that for good – whether to lose weight, learn a new skill, or finish a project – seems like a great idea.

Ok… so it’s not always done well, or with the best intentions. Farmville is ridiculously addicting, and even with it’s basic premise has some clever methods for sucking us in (NSFW). Other places slap arbitrary levels and badges on a page and call it good. Continue reading