When I’ve talked about what I’ve struggled with the most these past few years with my blog (see here), I was serious about wanting to find a solution. I’m an achiever, so when I set a goal, even if it’s hard to quantify or organize, I’ll still do my best to get there. I don’t fully subscribe to living an unattainable, aspirational life à la Goop where self-improvement is a constant, because I do actually want to solve my problems.
For an update on what I’m talking about, here it goes: Basically, my biggest creative demon is hesitation. I wait. To execute an idea. And in the process, that idea becomes a big beast that frightens me a little bit. It’s stuffed with fear of failure, fluffed with a to-do list that overwhelms me, and becomes a wild thing that I’d rather just leave inanimate in my notebook. So the problem is obvious, I want to execute on my craziest creative visions with grace and urgency, but the solution is a bit harder. Packed into that hesitation is a dose of self-doubt, a hint of perfectionism, and a gallon of “what if it’s wrong.” I stew with my little ideas for longer than is normal. I also come up with more ideas than I can execute, so I don’t need to tell you that I’ve got a backlog of posts for this blog that are both exceptionally creative and overwhelmingly terrifying to put out there. Being someone who creates – who writes, expresses, photographs, and dreams – it’s always difficult for me to share my work. I’ve been laughed at, ridiculed, and mocked, and I’m sensitive to all those things. But it doesn’t make me want to stop sharing. In fact, it makes me want to share harder, to relinquish expectations, and to be my most genuine self. So this hesitation problem…well, it’s holding me back from that! And so I’m determined to find a solution.
And I think I’ve found one…
The 5 Second Rule. I stumbled on a video on a website somewhere, and it resonated with me. Not the silly, self-help idea necessarily, but rather that someone else had categorized my inability to act, just as I had. Hesitation. I said it here, well before I really knew that it was a thing our brains did. I just was able to analyze what I saw as a problem with holding myself back. Check out the (rather poor quality) video here:
The 5-second rule is literally counting down from 5 to get yourself out of the hesitation habit and into action. It’s all about stopping yourself from overthinking and rather, getting yourself moving on whatever thing you want to be doing (or should be doing). Mel Robbins, the brain and motivational speaker behind the idea, used it to get herself out of bed when she was in a terrible place.
While I personally find the whole self-help aisle a little trite, this idea seemed to be perfectly tailored to the thing I want to get better at. So I’ve started using it when I can. I’ve also checked out her book from the library, though disclaimer: it’s selling me on the idea a little too hard. I can’t say that I’ve gotten to the point that I’m counting down. Instead, my internal thoughts are along these lines:
Eva scrolls her phone.
Brain says, “You shouldn’t be doing that.”
Eva does what she’s supposed to do.
But I do think the 5-second rule will work over the long term. I’ve used it to get myself to do more cardio, even when I’m sore. I’ve used it to get straight to writing, rather than flitter around on the internet. And I’ve used it to help me take care of errands I’ve been putting off for too long. It’s working for me, and I hope that it’ll ultimately help me in the bigger ways of creative expression.
Like any work in progress, there’s only a little to report at a time, but I hope you can feel it here. I hope you can see the flowers of creativity growing on this blog, and I hope it makes you as happy as it does me.
Do you have problems with hesitation? What gets you motivated? Share your thoughts with me in the comments below! These photos are from my trip to Italy last summer – to read the whole post, click here.