I was shopping for a notebook recently. I’m very particular about notebooks and journals, and it can take weeks before I commit. Plus, now there are all these notebooks with cutesy slogans on the cover about “slaying” things or following your dreams or similarly empowering crap. I avoid notebooks with words on the cover.
However, I stumbled upon one that made me reconsider my distaste for cover slogans. The statement is simple. It’s one I’ve always loved, but often forget about – “Remember why you started.”
It’s the kick in the pants I need to keep going. “Keeping going” is not one of my strong suits. I’ve taken enough strength assessments to know my sweet spot is dreaming ideas and imagining all the directions they can go. I love learning the best path forward and putting plans into action. But when the shine wears off, I’m eager to start the next thing.
Is it a coincidence that I’m writing about this as I’ve passed the deadline on “My 39 Things,” and am several posts away from my new self-imposed deadline? No. Not a coincidence. I need a kick in the pants. I need to remember why I started.
I started as a way to flex my writing muscles and get into the habit of writing regularly, without too much judgement, planning or perfectionism (my usual frenemies).
I started because I wanted to slow time, stay present and elongate my 30s. I wanted to say yes more, try new things and make my life feel more expansive.
Could I have easily hit my deadline? For sure. There are so many things I never wrote because I convinced myself I couldn’t perfectly capture it. Or was afraid of being too vulnerable. Or hurting feelings. So these things remain swirling around my head without a voice – which is 100 percent counter to why I started.
Plus, as I’ve gone through the year, I’ve dreamed up several new ideas and projects. In true fashion, the glimmer of their newness distracted me from the path of “My 39 Things.”
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Enneagram – it’s an assessment that uncovers your personality tendencies and how they play out in your internal and external worlds. When I learned I was an “Enthusiast,” I was skeptical. To me, these are extroverted, spontaneous, social-butterfly people who don’t want to miss out on action, whereas I’m happiest on days when I don’t have to talk to or see anyone.
However, the more I’ve read about my type, I realized it fits me perfectly. I’m constantly seeking new things – not necessarily in an extroverted, social way, but in an internal, personal-development way. I want to learn and create so many things that I become scattered and over-extended.
Also high on my Enneagram is “Achiever,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Achievers are driven, image conscious and want to be successful. If you put these types together, you get someone who wants to learn and do absolutely everything, but also needs to be the very best at them all. Sounds totally doable, right?
Here I am, trying to be cool with the fact I didn’t achieve my self-imposed goal, and am still slacking on it. I’m such an image-conscious achiever that I’m writing an entire thing to justify it, because I’m certain you’ve been sitting around judging me for being a failure.
When I lose steam, it’s been a practice of mine to remember why I started. But I haven’t figured out what happens when the reasons you started don’t completely make sense anymore. How do you know it’s time to try something new? I’m going to need to find the answer on the cover of another notebook, I suppose.