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How To: Ignore that Grain of Self-Doubt

It’s the holidays. Your bathers are still dripping from your morning swim at the beach, grains of sand still between your toes. Closing your eyes, you breathe in this sense of freedom, this sense of calm. Life is good – the last thing on your mind is the dated exterior of the law building, or the angular halls and staircases of the LTB. But slowly, day by day, the time of your return to reality draws nearer and nearer, bringing forth images of upcoming assignments and late nights spent studying in the library; you scrunch your face and reach again for that feeling of peace.

Of course, there are many who relish this time of anticipation, who appreciate this opportunity to organise themselves with pretty planners before getting into the nitty-gritty. Maybe you are this person and if that’s so, I applaud you because we all strive to be this person; someone dedicated to fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions and who has enough confidence within themselves to know that they’ll remain steady on this path to self-improvement.

And we do try our best, we do, making our to-do lists and joining the mass of people determined to meet their better selves at the gym. We try to look at things through that same optimistic lens that that so many others somehow manage to do, encouraging ourselves to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

And yet, that grain of self-doubt will not be dislodged from its spot in your mind. Its whisperings catch you in random times of solitude: when you wake to find you slept through your alarm again; when you first open your emails after weeks of careful evasion; when you stare at the chocolate selection in the supermarket.

‘Why!’ you scream internally. ‘Why is this so difficult? Why can’t I just be better?’

I know that feeling; I know it well. Filled with good intentions, you prepare to take on the world- and then find your feet stuck in mud, stagnation setting in. So, what do you do? How do you wash off this mud, these muddy bad habits?

I can only think of two words: discipline and consistency. I’m sorry I don’t have more to offer than that but it’s all I’ve got. You can scrap motivation – it’s a fickle friend, that one, here one day and gone the next. No, the key is to set your sight on something and stop at nothing until you achieve it, even when you feel like that’s the last thing you feel like doing. You’ll face setbacks – it’s inevitable, considering the highly fallible creatures human beings are – but if you can discipline your mind to take it all in stride, you’ll find yourself looking back at the year in 12 months, surprised at all you were able to achieve.

So yes. Discipline and consistency; it’s all we’ve got.

Written by Sarah Whalen

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