How to determine if you’re an amateur or a professional


In a recent post, I talk about taking massive action to fight for your goals. The article I reference focuses on the importance of changing our mindsets. And that it isn’t just trying something once, or trying and failing and then quitting. It means trying until we get the results we want; i.e., mastering daily habits that ultimately lead to success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and the creator of the Habits Academy, it’s about the power of schedule and creating a daily routine. Clear says, “Stop waiting for motivation or creative inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.” Further, give yourself permission to deliver a less-than-average outcome. “The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.”

So what’s the verdict—amateur or pro?

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When you run out of margin: create more

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In November, my second three-year term as secretary on my neighborhood community’s HOA board of directors concludes. I’m beyond excited to allocate my extra time toward other pursuits in an already jam-packed schedule. Case in point: a goof up this past Sunday in regard to said schedule reiterates that my margin runs shallow. While I spent two hours in the mountains hiking and writing, my church peeps waited for relief at the information desk. Although written in my planner, I overlooked my commitment when organizing my morning trek. With one minute to spare, I showed up for service, located a seat and later learned I had missed my volunteer stint. Yes, I’m human, but the oversight forced me to admit I either need to a) slow down or b) color code my task list. Regardless, good riddance to crabby neighbors and hello to more time for things that thrill me. It’s about creating margin (and taking a nap or two).

What happens when you run out of margin?

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A mini mental holiday (when time is limited)

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[Image credit: Gregory Szarkiewicz]

Sometimes my judgment needs a serious overhaul.  For me, a mental holiday oftentimes does the trick (or a swift kick in the rear).  But there never seems to be time enough to plan — let alone take time out for — the former luxury.  For example, the other night I packed my schedule pretty tightly.  After work, I planned to pick up a prescription, scrub the bathroom, wash clothes and make dinner.  Following a break to eat and clean up the kitchen, I was going to dust and then attend Yoga class.  Once home, it’d be time to shower and hop in bed.  My reality?  After work I came home, changed into my comfies, poured a martini and spent the evening on a date.  With my laptop.  While I put my best-laid plans on hold, writing substituted for much-needed therapy and cheese and crackers my sustenance.   And you know what I realized?  Mini mental holidays sure beat a swift kick in the rear.

How do you maintain a healthy mental self?