In order to keep my Sustainable Sue hat on I need to redefine success this season. This fall is very different from last year when I was planning fun outings and such (link). These days are all about transitions. I did a couple podcast episodes about it as I was heading into the season (Managing Transitions and Sustainable Sue Takes a Sabbatical). These served as more of a pep talk for Future Sue because I know my patterns. I often fall into overwhelm because I don’t give myself the grace to let things fall by the wayside. 

While I am figuring out a revised Sustainable Sue routine to work around my new day job, hobbies are falling away. While I visit my dad for a few weeks, my exercise routine drops off. It is really obvious when I look at my habit tracker for a month or two. But I have been tracking my habits for over six years and have learned some lessons that help redefine success. 

Widen the Time Period

Lesson one is that success happens over longer periods of time than today’s culture defaults to. I may not average 10 miles of walking each week during October 2023. But if I look back at the whole year of 2023, I likely will meet or exceed that target. 

“The years teach much which the days never know.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you start to feel the hours and days closing in around you, take a few deep breaths and zoom out your perspective of time. If you don’t see or feel any white space in the next foreseeable future, you might need to make some hard decisions. Last month when I was feeling that constricted feeling I had to cancel two volunteer commitments. Guess what – no one cared. Except for me who had a couple hours back to restore. That was everything. And in the scope of a year, those couple hours did not matter one bit to the volunteer agency.

Long Haul

Lesson two is that life will ebb and flow like the tides. To a certain extent, you have control over your to do list and calendar, but the fact of life is there are seasons that are busier than others. Allow yourself to balance work and rest today and more importantly – over long haul.

It seems counterintuitive to schedule rest in a hectic time. If you have a free hour you should accomplish a task while you have a free second. Consider that the task should be to restore yourself to sanity. Because running on empty is insane, non-productive, and not sustainable. Ask me how I know.

Defining Worthiness

Lesson three is that your worth as a person is not defined by miles on a treadmill, hours in your office or emails in your inbox. Each of us has the ability to let go of the messages we are clinging to that tell us we need to earn worthiness and love. 

By definition, habits that are Sustainably Productive need to have well-defined time parameters that take the current season into account. Shift your mindset to accept that there will be seasons of life that are busier than others, knowing that over time it balances out. 

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. Which of these three lessons resonated most with you? What action item can you consider to enforce that lesson?
  2. Which of these three lessons felt most prickly to you? Why do you think that is?

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that work for you.