Counselors Corner: In the Day to Day
Over the last couple of weeks, I noticed a struggle within myself: thriving in the day to day choices whose effects are not seen in the moment, but have long term ramifications. For example, after a recent loss, a colleague asked me how I was doing. I responded with, “I haven’t carved out the time to process yet.” The conversation continued with him reminding me processing can happen in smaller amounts of time within a day that is within a week which could be within a month, year, etc. At times there is the ability to lose the middle ground that happens in-between the start and finish of projects, pain, work, education, growing skillsets. I was making a daily choice to not deal with the pain that was in front of me, which could result in long-term ramifications that could be great if I never make the choice to grieve.
There seems to be a trap that people fall into: staying focused on the end goal without caring for the process that gets them there. We can be enamored with the finished product. This can be wealth, fame, success, healthy relationships, happy family, fitness, mental health, etc. We want to be at the finished product without putting in the daily choices that affect the end goal. Additionally, when the effects of hard work are unseen the tendency is to give up or want to give up.
Recently I was reminded that there are 365 days in a year and we have the choice every day to move closer to our goals or farther away. Jeff Olson uses a great example when he talks about steady growth. He uses reading as an example of making the daily choice for growth, and that is if a person reads ten pages of a “good” book a day over the course of a year then a person is reading 3,650 pages a year. Depending on the length of the books it could be around fifteen books a year. Making a small choice daily can add up quickly over weeks, months, and years.
People that I am privileged to talk with often get overwhelmed by the goal or think that it will all come together in a magical moment and hope to find themselves right where they want to be as a result. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case. The great news is that we can make the small choices daily to grow towards where we want to be. With patience and by making choices that propel us toward the direction of growth, we can accomplish what we want. By making simple choices of reading, exercising, talking, processing, etc. the compound effect can be great over the course of weeks, months, and years.