Natural Delimiters

Day 240 Week 35 Q3 Tuesday, August 29, 2023

The involuntary march of time provides us with many delimiters.  We have ends of months, years, quarters, days, and weeks; any of these boundaries can be a target to shoot for to complete tasks, milestones or projects. You don’t have to search for or create them because they are already naturally occurring. Take advantage of these naturally occurring delimiters. This does not mean overly saturating your calendar with goals. Because we already know that that does not work. On the other hand, what does work is performing behaviors that you have derived from your identity goals.

Behavior delimiters work in the following way. Stick with a behavior until reaching the delimiter, which is hopefully far enough away to habituate beneficial behaviors. If it is not a behavior worth automating, then it may not be a behavior worth engaging in. I am quite serious about this. Once you know the specific behaviors that are necessary to move you in the direction of your desired identity and its associated goals, it makes sense to habituate these behaviors so they are automated and do not require attention. They become the default of how you spend your time. Another description for this could be to develop a routine.  

The trick here is to have a small number of priorities, not more than two or three, to be held at the top of mind during a naturally occurring calendar delimiter. For example, say it is the middle of the month, and you have 1000 things on your mind as usual. pick the most important two or three, and describe some very simple, highly prioritized goals that need to be achieved by the end of the month. Do not hold very tightly to these goals; instead, hold very tightly to the behaviors that would naturally permit you to achieve them.

And yes, I am saying that behaviors are far more important than goals.  You can have behaviors without set goals, but you cannot have goals without sad behaviors. In other words, it may be much easier to commit to goals than to behaviors, but this is a waste of time because the goals will never be achieved without engaging in the required behaviors regularly.  On the other hand, if you were committed to the appropriate behaviors held a bit more tightly than your goals, you would still get somewhere closer to where you want to get. Whereas, if you hold tightly to the goals and then don’t meet them, you end up beating yourself up instead of rewarding yourself for engaging in the appropriate behaviors that are worth habituating in order to automate actions that lead toward goals.

So yes, you can keep the goals in mind, but only as a context for focusing on the appropriate behaviors to achieve them.

Use your natural delimiters to help keep you focused on your priority behaviors.