Last week I shared my New Years Resolutions with you and I got some good feedback – some of you said it was an interesting way to make resolutions and you might give it a try!
Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked…
Actually, it might be more accurate to say it isn’t working for some resolutions. My meditation and yoga resolutions are going very well. I’ve given myself time for each of them and the charts I made myself currently look like this:
I’m fourteen days ahead in meditation and forty-four days ahead in yoga!
But then I take a look at my violin and piano charts…
Why is this? Why have the two resolutions that are the most linked to my Main Goal of having a creative career fallen by the wayside? How can I carve out ten to thirty minutes for yoga and meditation but not music?
These questions bothered me until a couple of days ago. I was binge watching TED Talks about how to improve your life, promising myself after each one that, yes, I would wake up at 4.30am every day and stop having any negative thoughts about myself or anyone else and that all of these ideas would solve any problems I’d ever had or would ever have. It might sound ridiculous, but anyone who’s gone down the TED Talk rabbit-hole will know what I mean.
Then I came across a TEDx Talk called “Why TED talks don’t change your life much”. Obviously this might just be another case of me thinking a motivational speech can change my whole life, but one aspect of that talk gave me the answer I’d been looking for. Why am I making time for yoga and meditation but not music? Because it’s easier.
Think about it: Any physical issues aside, how difficult can it be to sit still or move around on a yoga mat with someone telling you exactly what to do? Once I’ve made the decision to spend some time on it, I don’t need to think about what happens in that time. But practising an instrument takes a lot of brain power. You need to listen to every single sound you make and think about how to improve it. It’s frustrating. Any gratification you get from it can be very, very delayed. And I’m giving in to the part of my brain that wants instant gratification.
So, I had a think about what I’m doing instead of practising or creating music. What instant gratification is my brain getting distracted by? The answer: Binge watching. On Netflix. On YouTube. On iPlayer and All 4. Anywhere that I can get a constant drip-feed of entertainment. Looking back over the first week of this year, it seems like I am unable to watch one episode of something. I have to watch just one more…until before you know it an hours break has turned into three (or more. Don’t judge me). It’s just so easy to have Netflix on in the background while I’m washing up or writing up a score or eating, carrying my laptop around the flat, constantly distracted, not giving myself enough brain space to really think or create anything.
Although this might keep me entertained in the short term, it’s getting in the way of my Main Goal. So I’ve decided to do an experiment. I’m not going to binge watch anything for thirty days. That means no more than one video or episode at a time. I’m also banning myself from watching anything at all before six in the evening – it just makes it more difficult to get back to work, especially if I’m working from home that day.
Today was Day 1 and I already got more done before leaving the house than I normally would. I even started working on a new piece for The Mortal Path. I’ll be updating how I’m getting on on Twitter, so if you want to see how this pans out follow me there. You can all hold me accountable! Or join in if you like – it’d be nice to have some company!
If you’ve got to the end of this very long post, thanks for sticking with me. Let me know what you think. Is this an issue you have as well? Or do you have a similar issue with something else that gets in the way of your bigger goals? Leave a comment and maybe we can tackle this together!
P.S. If you want to watch that TEDx Talk, here it is:
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