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Feeling frustrated by your lack of progress?

If so, you are on the right track. BIG things are about to happen.

Frustration is a sense of discouragement, anger, and annoyance because of unresolved problems or unfulfilled goals, desires, or needs.

I don’t like feeling this uncomfortable emotion. Most of the time my aversion to frustration is the fuel I need to propel me forward. Make a little progress toward the desired goal, and the uncomfortable feeling resolves. But last week was different. It caused me to give up on one of my big goals this year – learning Japanese.  Sometimes, the mountain just seems too high. More than that, the incline is too steep. The required power to continue to peddle to the top is more than I can bear.

Now, I know this is a little dramatic for a self-imposed goal.  However,  the way I felt and the decisions I made last week revealed a pattern that holds some people back. Maybe you.

Unfilled goals and desires. Unresolved problems. Unmet expectations. The feeling can make you or break you. It can propel you forward or shackle you to your current set of circumstances.

If you believe you have the ability to change your current situation, the good news is, you can and you will. You see, we ALL have potential. If you believe that YOU have potential you WILL make progress toward your goals, self-imposed or not. If you want to be better at something, YOU can.

But here is the truth: potential is only potential.

For better or worse, our habits will decide whether or not that potential becomes reality.

I have a daily habit that involves way too much Youtube. I justify this habit because most of the time I am watching “educational” content. Japanse language learning is amongst the topics I like to consume.

I can recall the exact moment last week when I decided learning Japanese was no longer important. I had just finished a mini-binge session of consuming “Japanese shadowing” (a method of learning a second language). I ended that session completely frustrated. The lady was talking really fast, and I felt like I didn’t recognize a single word. Worse, I couldn’t even “shadow” (literally just repeating back what I had just heard).

For almost a year now, I have been learning Japanese following lessons laid out in a textbook. I meet once a week with a teacher and we practice what I have been learning. But occasionally, I will divert to the “master youtube” because it is just easier to sit back and listen to someone else “do the work”. I justify this with the fact that there is some value in listening to a native speaker.

But here is thing. Even seemingly harmless habits can block our potential from becoming reality.

Thankfully, I hate wasting money more than I hate the feeling of being frustrated. After my mini too-frustrated-to-continue moment, I had a prepaid Japanese lesson.   Long story short, I had a productive lesson of putting in the painful reps of simple sentence structures designed for where I am at in the learning process.

Here is the take-away, watching Youtube, isn’t necessarily a bad habit. in fact, I wouldn’t have a Youtube channel if in fact it weren’t for watching said channel. But last week reminded me that any “tool” used at the wrong time or in the wrong manner has the potential to cause more harm than good.

If you sleep 8 hours a night, you have 960 minutes of awake time you will fill with something.

Filling those minutes spending time with friends and family isn’t necessarily bad. Unless they are sucking the life out of you.

Filling some of those minutes watching your favorite television show isn’t necessarily bad. Unless the commercials, or the show itself, gets you thinking about an actual harmful habit (ie: unhealthy food, an unhealthy relationship, drinking alcohol, smoking…etc.)

Filling some of your waking minutes watching Youtube, isn’t necessarily bad. Unless it fills you with a sense of deficiency that cascades into “debility”.

Spending some time each day in reflection IS a GOOD thing. Unless it turns into rumination.

Scrolling social media isn’t necessarily bad…… unless ????? ???? Ok, the ONLY good thing about social media is @retrievers  ????

Where do you want to be 1 year from today? What ARE the big picture thoughts and behaviors that will keep you moving up the mountain?

Does that behavior satisfy one of the big picture reasons for being?  Faith, friends/family, health, and/or service?

Most behaviors aren’t “good” or “bad”.

And I think it is perfectly ok to indulge every once in a while. However, if the indulgences start filling up the proverbial bucket, at best It can push out the things that are really important to you. Or worse, cause you to give up altogether.

bucket of rocks with rocks labeled faith, family, health, service at the top

On the other hand, if we prioritize the behaviors that move the needle forward on things that really matter to us, You might be surprised that you automatically push out the habits and behaviors that don’t.

bucket of rocks with rocks labeled faith, family, health, service at the bottom

Many thanks to Pastor Johnnie for sharing the bucket metaphor.