I set a simple goal for 2020:
- 30 minutes of reading, 5 days a week
- one hour of creating, 5 days a week
One month in, I'm noticing that I tend to read for much longer periods than I create. Why? Because reading became my way to procrastinate from making and shipping things. 😬
This made me wonder what else I'm doing to self-sabotage. Creating is scary, after all... I bet there's a lot I do to subconsciously to avoid it. So I paid close attention to my actions over the last couple of weeks, and this is what I discovered.
It's not so much my actions that are screwing up my time and energy to create, but my thoughts.
I spend so much of my day worrying about unimportant bullshit, it's embarrassing. These energy-draining thoughts leave me too worn out to focus on my side projects. If I don't put myself out there with the things I'm truly passionate about, then I can never know that I don't have what it takes, right? It's my brain's fucked up way of trying to keep me safe.
I notice that I also tend to focus on emotional getaway cars.
An emotional getaway car is an unhealthy desire to distract yourself with something that promises to 'solve all your problems', while keeping you stuck in the same toxic patterns.
Just like an attractive stranger who races up to your Vegas hotel in a sleek sports car, seductively saying, 'Get in!', you can be sure that an emotional getaway car will lead you down an exciting but ultimately destructive path.
Some of my emotional getaway cars:
Moving somewhere new/ restarting the nomad life
- Why it's a getaway car: Travel is great external-validation; every time I mention that I was a digital nomad for 3 years, people are impressed. So it's a familiar way to avoid doing the work that matters, while still appearing productive. Plus, frequent travel takes up a ton of energy, reducing my brain-space for deep focus and creating.
- Why it's a getaway car: You ever get distracted by someone sexy and intelligent, and you're tempted to go down that path but it also doesn't feel like a good match? I've been drawn lately to a couple of people who feel similar to passing my favorite fast-food joint. I might really want that burger (and it's even a good quality burger) but I know it'll take me away from my healthy eating goals, and it's going to sap up my energy. Being single gives me way more time and focus to make stuff that matters. I do think a strong relationship enables both partners to accomplish more, not less, but he needs to feel less like Shake Shack and more like when someone home cooks you a nutritious meal that is delicious and good for you.
Changing things up at my job
- Why it's a getaway car: I don't have the stamina to do it all. When I am constantly taking on new things at work, I drain myself of the energy needed to focus on my own projects. And constantly taking on more at my day job is a way to avoid taking risks in my own work.
Jumping out of the Getaway Car
By recognizing my emotional getaway cars, and by minimizing the thoughts that I use to self-sabotage, I will be one step closer to healthy creating and working on projects that matter. I'll be continuing down this road on foot 😉 this time, as much as possible.