The Balance Between Self-Discipline and Self-Compassion

Many of us are well aware of the importance of some form of goal setting to help us move forward.

I want to improve my writing and to share my ideas regularly. To this end I set myself the goal of publishing an article once a week during 2022. I know this goal motivates me, helps me prioritise writing and moves me forward when I may be feeling a little on the lazy side.

But the last couple of weeks have been very busy at work, meaning I’ve been regularly working evenings and weekends. And at the same time, I’ve been holding auditions for a musical and needing to prepare for rehearsals.

I could have made myself write something by the end of last week. There was probably just enough time to do it on Sunday evening once I’d come home from the theatre and cooked and eaten dinner.

However I was exhausted so I decided that I wouldn’t meet my goal.

Man sleeping on sofa with book fallen to the floor
Image by Mert Kahveci via Unsplash

The voice in my head has tried to berate me for this decision a few times since, particularly as I wasted an hour that night doing pretty much nothing on my phone (which I’ve been working hard to avoid doing). Each time it’s started to criticise me I’ve shut it down quickly.

Yes, I wanted to write an article each week. But it’s MY goal, and I know that what I needed on Sunday was to stop and recover from the hectic week I’d had. Do I wish I’d chosen a better way to unwind? Of course. But it doesn’t matter. It was one hour of my life. And probably I didn’t have enough capacity to make good decisions at that point.

So this morning I’m writing and sharing this with you; getting back into focus and realising that my weekly writing goal should be a positive impact on my life, not a straitjacket to confine me.

So my message is that although sticking to your goals is important, at the same time remember that you are only human. If occasionally things don’t go to plan then be kind to yourself, do what you know you need in that moment, then start again the next day. It’s not the end of all that you’ve achieved, it’s just a moment to pause, gather strength and start again once the moment has passed.



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