As you may or may not know, my daughter had a rough go of her first semester at college. She started out fine, but mid-semester it all went to hell. This semester, she's starting out even better than she did last semester, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up. Like I told both my husband and my mother, we need to see if she can keep this up.
And thinking about my conversations on this topic made me realize something. The kid comes by it honestly. I have a real problem with sustained effort myself.
Take my crocheting for example. If I can keep my head down and just work, I can knock a blanket out in a month. But they usually take me far longer. I start out great, but after a while, the work level drops off. This one I've got in my work bag was mostly finished back in December, but I haven't touched it in weeks.
It's the same thing with exercising. I start out with the goal of exercising regularly, and I do that for a week or two. This time, I've been doing it for three weeks so far. I'm at the point when I usually get distracted or discouraged or just plain bored and stop.
What about cleaning? Same thing. Three years ago, I made a cleaning schedule for this behemoth of a house. Each weekday had its own chore. That lasted a couple months. Now I rush around attacking the things that most need doing when I can no longer stand looking at the gathering dust bunnies.
And my writing? Okay, so I can put my head down and write a book in two months. That's awesome. Yay. But what happens after? I sit down to edit and do that in dribs and drabs until it's eventually done. (Or not, depending on the book and my commitment level.)
That's no way to succeed. If I want to accomplish these goals of mine, I need to be serious about it. I need to reach some kind of sustained effort. Get up to speed and stay there until the work is done, or if the work is never done (like exercising or writing), then I need to maintain that level of effort for the rest of my life.
I believe acknowledging the problem helps defeat it. So, now that I know I have a problem with sustained effort, I fully expect to conquer it. I will exercise today. I will sit my ass down and work through this hard copy edit of chapter one. Monday, my cleaning schedule will resume. And when I need a break from all that, I'll finish that damn blanket. Because hey, I can't expect my daughter to conquer her problem if I'm just sitting here on my ever-widening ass letting my own problem fester.
What about you? How are you with sustained effort? What trips you up - distraction, discouragement, boredom...? If nothing trips you up, how do you manage sustained effort?