Commitment and sustainable effort.

Just like the title reads: commitment, and sustainable effort. Two halves of a whole essentially. What do I mean?

The will to stick to the goal, to keep at a habit, and to stay disciplined enough to stay the long term through an action. It’s not easy, but no one ever said it would be.

Starting out is never easy, but the intangible positives of cultivating a good habit and maintaining it? Immense.

Sustainable effort
This is the yang to the yin, the gears that makes the engine go. Improper planning and estimation here could very well lead to the commitment going nowhere, eventually leading it into an early and futile demise.

A habit can only be kept up if the effort level required is sustainable. Asking something of ourselves that requires a superhuman mental effort on a daily basis will kill the willpower eventually. This is not something we want. We want to develop a routine that we know we can maintain. Something that’s not entirely effortless, but not utterly draining either. Something in between, a little pattern that means something, that takes a bit of effort to maintain.

Because nothing worthwhile is ever effortless.

I’ll talk about myself on this topic as an example.

I began Celtics Down Under with a view to write on a daily basis. I wanted to do a variety of articles, from post-game reviews to opinion columns, to a daily compilation (and short opinions) on various other Celtics related columns by other writers.

After a few weeks, I realised the effort level required was unsustainable. I needed an average of two hours for the compilation, an hour for the post-game review, and about three hours to watch the game itself. With practice, I could probably shorten the time needed on a post-game review by writing during timeouts and halftime, but the total time required would still be a minimum of four hours on game days, and two hours on other days.

The level of time commitment required was too much, seeing as I still had to write every day on my personal site (an hour), attend to Elly (varied), chores and dinner (three hours) and get some R&R time for gaming, Facebook and Twitter (two hours).

In the end, I decided to give up my commitment to the daily compilation (The Green Ubuntu) and the post-game reviews.

It was a bit of a letdown and I killed the freshness of the content by a great deal, but it wasn’t much of a choice at this point. I had to either scale down, or risk losing the entire venture by killing myself mentally.

Another example off the top of my head, would be relationships.

Dave is a go-getter, and always wants to put his best foot forward. When he first got together with his girlfriend, he would do all sorts of little romantic gestures to make her feel loved. Every year would mean a meaningful little gift on their anniversary, Valentine’s Day, her birthday and Christmas. The Big Four, so to speak.

(Does this picture sound familiar to you at all?)

Fast forward to five years later: Dave is taking life by the horns, and struggling. Work is tough, the hours are long and he’s feeling drained. He begins to cut the little things out. Things like walking her home. The long night time phone chats slowly petered out. Texts became infrequent. The thoughtful presents became gift cards, or material goods and designer labels that meant little.

To his lady, it felt like he was no longer as in love with her as he was last time, because he seemed to care less. It might have looked that way, but Dave was simply being overwhelmed, and chose to cut corners on his road to survival.

Dave had simply painted himself into a corner when he began that level of unsustainable effort at first. Expectations in a relationship go upwards, not down, and his giving his all right at the start meant he had to continue at a 100% level all the time.

Is it wrong? Nope. But it’s tough to keep things up. Like a good poker player, the wiser bloke knows better than to reveal his entire hand.

This line of thought is not something everyone will agree with, but everyone has their own approach to life. I’m merely sharing what I believe to be the right path.

What do you think?

One thought on “Commitment and sustainable effort.

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