Not The Best You Can Be? Deal With It
You’re tucked up in bed and practically buzzing with excitement about how productive you’re going to be tomorrow. Your to-do list rattles about in your head and thought of all the things you’ll accomplish almost stops you from going to sleep.
Because Tomorrow You is going to be awesome and nothing will stand in your way.
Until something does. Until you hit a slump. Until the idea of blitzing your to-do list seems laughable.
You don’t edit that chapter, you don’t write that blog post, and you swap the healthy eating plan for an entire pizza, topped off with chocolate cake. Instead of going to the gym like you promised yourself you ABSOLUTELY would without fail, you end up collapsing on the sofa and binge-watching True Detective.
All that sparkly, self-hope and ambition you had for the day sort of fades away as you realise that Tomorrow You actually kind of sucks.
This happens to me more than I’d like to admit. And the problem isn’t that I set my expectations too high – because isn’t it nice to think that things will be better the next day? – the problem is how much I scold myself when I’m not doing the best I can.
Because in my head, I want to be the type of person who gets up early to make breakfast and maybe even goes for a little stroll whilst the world is waking up. I want to stay focused and productive at work, not eat lunch in front of my desk, and then go home and squeeze every ounce out of the day. I want to have a healthy, balanced diet and to not find myself desperately eating cooking chocolate because it’s the only vaguely sweet thing we have left in the house.
And whilst I’ve never had that elusive perfect day, some days I do feel like I’m at my best. I’ll be filled to the brim with creative energy and itching with ideas to take on my book, blog and everything in-between. I’ll eat perfectly, go for a power walk at lunch and get to Inbox Zero. I’ll swap an evening slump for exercise, check in with my nearest and dearest, make exciting plans for the weekend and end the day feeling like I’ve absolutely killed it.
But that can’t happen every day. It can’t even happen every week.
Because being your ‘best’ requires a lot of work. It requires conditions to be perfect and everything to fall into place. Chances are, your ‘best’ doesn’t really live in the real world.
For me, I know I’d be at my creative best between 9.30am – 12pm and last thing at night. But oh wait, I can’t use that time to work on my novel or side project, because I’m at my pays-the-bills day job. And I can’t stay up all night because, you guessed it, that 7am alarm is waiting.
I know I’d be at my best if I could go the gym late afternoon, and take a couple of hours off to feel recharged before I crack on with writing. I know I’d eat better if I didn’t work at an office and have to grab an overpriced cheese-filled sandwich on the way to a meeting, or binge-eat chocolate biscuits after said meeting makes me want to jump down the stairs.
So for now I’m trying to accept that my ‘best’ will have to change each day.
Sometimes, my best will be meeting all my deadlines with time to spare and starting on the new nice-to-have projects, sometimes my best will be not screaming into my colleagues’ faces. Sometimes it’ll be ending the day feeling like I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to, other times I’ll have to make peace with going to sleep feeling like I did the absolute best I could in the given circumstances.
And sometimes, I’ll end the day knowing that I didn’t do my best at all. That I’m face-down eating peanut butter out of a jar whilst my best is off somewhere scolding me. And when that happens, I’ll have to make peace with it.
Because Tomorrow Me is going to try really hard not to screw up.