Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sustained Effort

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?


  1. ...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.

    This is what trips me up, because I can't imagine doing something over and over again! I end up feeling like the hamster on the wheel. But if I take it one day at a time...


    I'm trying to keep that uppermost in my thoughts these days. And then, maybe looking back, I'll see that I conquered the 'sustained effort' you speak about.

    Are you sure we're not related?

    Have a great weekend :)

  2. Honestly, I dont have a problem keeping stuff up. When I was in university, the need to prove to my extended family that I could do it tended to keep me on track. If that didnt work, there was always the guilt of my parents paying out of pocket for me to attend school--that ALWAYS got my ass in gear, LOL.

    However, if anything does trip me up, it tends to be an illness of some kind, whether its a cold or my arm surgeries. I get tired and Im in pain, and I just dont feel like doing anything unless I HAVE to. Recovering from those times has always been difficult.

  3. I don't have a problem keeping my writing going, but when it comes to cleaning and exercise I do find thst takes more effort for me!

  4. Your post so easily could be mine. I call my disorder procrastination.
    I start out gung ho. Then my energy wanes and I start the excuse phase, making excuses for my lack of disipline.
    I've known about it for ages. I still meander along at my own speed some days achieving more than others.
    Perhaps I'll set some goals and become more organized.
    But I doubt it. THanks for naming my demon.
    Sustained Effort.
    Blessings, Barb

  5. I get into a place where I need change. I like to mix things up. It's not so much sustained effort as the fact that I get bored easily. Terrible, I know! But I agree - acknowledging the problem is a HUGE step, and very important to changing something. I hope your daughter has a better semester this year around, and I hope that blanket gets finished. Now, if I could just motivate myself to exercise!