I’ll have a longer post on Friday about all the long-covid stuff, just to catch everyone up on what has happened, but today, I’m going to motivate you by taking a different approach to motivation. Today, I’m telling you to accept your limits.
You may be thinking, “Wait, how does accepting limits translate to motivation? Hasn’t this crazy lady already posted about not underselling yourself, not stopping, trying again, and all sorts of other stuff?”
You’re right; I have. Now, I’m going to tell you to do all those things AND accept your limits. Once you recognize and accept your limits, you’ll figure out how to do the most within them, and thus be more inspired, more interested in doing things, and ultimately accomplish more.
This is a thing I’ve had to learn, and I’m still learning, so let me give you an example.
Throughout the battle with my post-covid symptoms, I’ve come up against a brand-new set of limits. In the worst parts, I might write 3 sentences a week. I couldn’t run my own vacuum and get my whole living room in one day. I could get the dishes done in one day, but it took all day. There were months when reading a book wasn’t possible because I couldn’t focus enough to take in the story.
What did I do?
I wrote 3 sentences a week and accepted that it was better than no sentences.
I vacuumed a quarter of my living room and tried to remember which quarter so I could rotate it around as I was able.
I spent a day doing dishes – for one person.
I found movie versions of a book because I could track things visually more often.
It has been, and continues to be, the most frustrating time in my entire life. The more I recover, the more I want to get back to my “Wrote 5k words, proofread a chapter, cleaned the entire house, worked a full shift, and now I’m off to bed” self. I mean, I went to the gym, earned my bachelor’s degree, wrote three books, AND worked full time. No, I didn’t have an off switch. Yes, I did sleep, but outside of those 8 hrs, I was on the GO, and I LOVED it.
As I’ve recovered, the things I can do have improved. I can write about 1k words before I need to stop, and sometimes I can go back and add a hundred or two later in the day. I can finally do my dishes in about 20 minutes, the normal time frame! I can vacuum my living room AND take out the trash on the same day!
When I accepted my limits and worked within them, I avoided dragging myself down with “you should be able to do x” or “you’re a failure because you didn’t complete y today.” It left my mental space free to consider doing something else or give myself permission to call it a day. When I didn’t accept my limits, I wasted a half day feeling like I was a failure, and all the other fun, depressing thoughts that go along with that.