Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Posted On December 1, 2023

Photo by Michele Venne

It’s been a while since I’ve felt budding momentum ripped out from under me. If I was able to not let outside circumstances affect my inner landscape, my life would be very different. Though I understand this ability, I’ve yet to come anywhere close to practicing it on a regular basis. So my three days this week where I diligently applied effort to my projects was quickly derailed by the actions of another.

There is something positive and heartwarming and encouraging to building a helpful habit. It was a quick peek into the possibilities of what could be if I kept the habit going. The momentum would build upon itself. The habit would be not as forced. Progress made would delight my inner achiever. But just as the spark of all this began, it was blown out by the selfish behaviors of someone else. If I was a different person and didn’t care so much about what others close to me do and say, then that spark would have been fanned into a flame, and I could celebrate the beginning of a positive habit streak. Instead, my creativity switched to survival and even the puff of smoke from that spark has been blown away.

Knowing this is what happened, I can take back control and begin again. And I will. Tomorrow. And with this incident so fresh in my mind, I’ll be on the lookout for others like it. Because I have zero control over other people’s choices, and can only control how I choose to respond or react, the next time this event occurs (unfortunately, it will) I can choose to respond differently. I can still put in even five minutes of effort on the projects. A little puff of air on that spark to keep it from dying out.

Since this is December 1, and I’m aware of how much still needs to be done with these three projects, I need to accept that they won’t carry a 2023 publication date. And again, I have a choice. I can let that reality drag me down and keep me from working on the projects (why bother since I won’t meet my goal), or I can continue to put in the effort, a little each day, and see them to completion further down the road. Wrangling the inner critic and minding my thoughts about the other person’s actions (as tough and imperfect as my wrangling will be) will give me the space to take those two steps forward and be prepared for that inevitable one step back. How do you handle disappointment and setbacks?

Written by Michele Venne

Writer of immersive and intriguing stories.

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