Can Ignoring How You Feel Help You Achieve Your Long Term Goals?

You may have noticed a lack of posts lately, maybe even a bit of a disconnection with me, its author.

A few weeks ago, I posted a vlog about how to let go of anger, in which I talked about the mountain of stress that had been coming my way. I also spoke about how my emotions and coping mechanisms seem to shut down in order to manage the overwhelming pressure I put myself under. It is like my mind is saying, “ENOUGH, I need a break!”

You see, on top of building this site in order to start living my soul purpose (which as all you bloggers know, is a lot more work than just posting an article every now and then), I’ve also been planning a wedding, started a life-coaching course, am organising a 3 months travelling excursion as part of our honeymoon, and am writing a book (well, I’ve kind of started 3…). We’re also moving out of our house a week before we get married and I’m trying to do all the housework because I feel so guilty over not earning any money.

And I have given myself a timeframe of 4 months.

I’m sure you can agree that – by anyone’s standard – there’s a lot going on, most of it stupidly amazing! And I was doing fine (just). I had my lists, my 4 months plan. But it left little room for anything to go wrong. So when it did a few weeks ago, I had a mini meltdown and have been in an almost catatonic state ever since, afraid to do much of anything incase I make things worse.

You may think that I’ve taken on too much. You may be right. But I’m a stubborn little so-and-so and when I really want to achieve something, I generally do. I thrive on the stress of a busy work schedule. Stress of dealing with people is another story. You can’t organise people. People are unpredictable. I don’t like unpredictable. In fact it’s the things that I haven’t planned for that stress me out, probably more so than anything else. I can deal with almost anything, so long as I’ve had time to process it and can come up with a plan of action.

I like being pro-active, not re-active.

I can’t even tell you what I did last week or what happened apart from the odd occurrence. It all seems a bit like a blur. I was just going through the motions, not feeling much of anything. It was pretty much a write-off week. And yesterday, the result of that hit me with such force, I felt winded. I was so overwhelmed with my thoughts, that all I wanted to do was hide from the world and everyone in it.

But today, a breakthrough! I woke up, still feeling like I wanted to hide, but I knew that if I didn’t do something soon I would enter a much darker space in my head. So I started off with some self-affirmations:

I am Positive and I am Happy.

And then I planned. I became practical. I put my emotions to one side – there’ll still be there when I get back – and I wrote down daily and weekly tasks. Here’s a picture of my weekly blog objectives (not particularly pretty but you get the idea):

IMG_1839

Oh the irony of doing this! Taking all that practical mess out of my head and organising it on paper has freed up my head space for more positive emotions! 

It makes me wonder: Is it possible to set our emotions aside in order to progress? If we have a plan of action for the day, for the week, do we take away the emotional burden of practical tasks that can be so overwhelming?

I see this working for diets:

When you go on a diet, you are much more likely to fail if you don’t plan your meals. You have the best intentions (usually after a burger) and vow to never eat another chocolate bar as long as you live! This time, you tell yourself, you’ll be successful and this time in 3 months you’ll have the body of a goddess. But inevitably the thought of eating, which doesn’t come along until you are hungry again, is when you make the decision of what to eat. You are then more likely to make a bad decision based on the overriding feeling of hunger, instead of concentrating on your long-term goal of losing weight/eating healthily. It feels too hard, too out of reach in that moment, and so you fall off the wagon. When you have a meal-plan, you take away the thought of what you want to eat and the option of making a bad choice is no longer there.

Could this be applied to all our objectives? In order to maintain the integrity of our long-term goals, must we first put the effort into planning our daily/weekly tasks?

Well, of course we do! And for most people it really is as simple as that. However, for those of us suffering with anxiety and intrusive thoughts, we first have to battle the debilitating fog of fear residing in our heads. We have to take back control of our emotions in order to move forward. But is it possible that by ignoring these negative emotions and concentrating on the practical tasks at hand, we are able to rise out of the mist and put our overactive brains to use in a more positive way?

Bearing in mind I’m not talking about emotions that are indicative of something more serious that needs to be addressed. I’m talking about intrusive thoughts and lies that our anxious minds tell us, such as ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I’m worthless’.

But when those thoughts inevitably crop up, willing us to fail, does that mean we have to act (or not act) on them? If you think you’re not good enough to do something, don’t you still have control of what you do with that emotion? Do you not have the power to choose to do it anyway and not believe the lies?

I vow to do more and think less. To be fearless in the pursuit of my dreams and aspirations, regardless of how I feel about myself. I will not allow my anxious mind to become my truth.

Because we are not what we feel. We are what we do.

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14 thoughts on “Can Ignoring How You Feel Help You Achieve Your Long Term Goals?

  1. Pingback: The A-Z Of My Life Experiences | The Unmarked Road

  2. I started planning my days by making lists when I got a 1 page per day diary 32 years ago (and it’s on my Christmas wish list every year ever since). I can honestly say that without this I would have ended up on the scrap heap of the mentally screwed or a number in the annual statistic of suicides decades ago as my fear-driven childhood did nothing to prepare me for the real bad world outside. By planning my every day I managed to give it meaning and purpose. When I spent 6 months in hospital 8 years ago with no day planner and lists I almost dropped off the edge. Once I was back (still in bed for a year but with my diary and lists), I slowly learned to overcome the sociophobia I had developed in the institutionalised hospital routine and clawed my way back to the land of the living. You’ve got it perfectly correct, Dani. Planning your days give you a purpose and a feeling of self-worth (as long as you don’t over-face yourself and make so many plans that you can’t possibly carry them all out), and from that position you can go forward and handle what life throws at you every day.

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  3. Great job overcoming your desire to hide, taking control of your emotions, and finding ways to creative positive momentum in your life! You definitely have plenty going on, so try not to feel overwhelmed, and take it one day at a time. Loved your post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I automatically ignore everything bad and try to look at the positive. And sometimes I kinda crash (badly) but I will always pick myself back up.
    I can see how you had a meltdown.. You should do things one by one or 2 at the time.. That’s how I do it. Any more and I’ll just go frantic. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This reminds me of what I was thinking about this morning. I was worrying over and over again about a bunch of things going wrong in my life and how this worry just numbs you and prevents you from actually doing anything.
    Thanks for sharing, I will definitely refer to this from time to time.
    K.C

    Liked by 1 person

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