Focusing on the Specifics
What’re the most important things to you in your life? I’m not talking about friends, family, your girlfriend or your hair stylist’s advice. I’m talking about priorities. Yesterday I was noticing that since I moved to Amsterdam I have had certain expectations of myself, and I realized I’m not proud of any of them. My expectations in the city of sin were just having fun, fun, fun. And it’s been exactly a month since I arrived and I finally feel completely exhausted. I’ve been drinking every day, I’ve been polluting my lungs with various substances, and my sleeping pattern was destroyed. I’d sleep for 12 hours one night, waking up at 5 in the afternoon, and other nights I’d only sleep for 3 hours. You can say, “Fuck it, it’s college,” but I have my limits too. So yesterday, waking up to a headache after drinking 3/4 of a bottle of vodka the night before, I decided to make some changes. I figured that partying 24/7 wasn’t working, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to replace that with full-blown studies. I needed a compromise. So why do I ask what’s important in your life? Because those priorities should always come ahead of everything.
I was in Amsterdam on exchange. I’ve seen almost everything there is to see of the city, and since I don’t have time to travel Europe yet, there wasn’t much else to do. Well, that’s a lie. There’s always something to do in Amsterdam, it’s just I needed to really cut down on it. My studies were going to come first. And since my sleeping patterns were still twisted, I stayed up all night working on readings, essay outlines, and even finished a presentation. The thing about studying, there are really two ways to approaching it. You can dread the whole process or you can embrace it. I approached it with the latter thought in mind. I honestly always try to do things with a positive outlook, because it just makes things a lot easier and pleasureful. Put on some relaxing music, have a snack, take breaks, and have fun learning something new and expanding your knowledge.
I’ve been getting my cardio due to the copious amount of bicycle riding I’ve been doing in the city, since it’s my only means of transportation (besides walking), so that didn’t need any improvement. My body, however, needed some more improvement. I haven’t lifted weight in over a year and even though I wasn’t in horrible shape, I know my mind and body and know that when I work-out, not only my body gets an improvement but my mind’s structure becomes more focused. When I exercise, I feel more energized, happier, and am able to concentrate on my tasks much better. So right after doing what I needed to do for university, I was off to the gym to get back into shape. I know the entire process of getting back into the rythm of working out will take 3 or so weeks, but I’m ready to commit.
School-work: check. Work-out: check. Now what? Back to the bottle and women? No. That would ruin my complete focus. Well, the women are fine, but the bottle was just leading me on a negative path. On my spare time I’d get back to what I love, and that’s my so-called “job.” My job in Amsterdam isn’t selling real estate as it is in Toronto, but it’s typing away on this blog and typing away on a new novel. My first novel was published and I was working on marketing it, but yesterday I was inspired to start something new so I sat behind my laptop and got myself half a chapter written. I’ve been pretty happy with my output of posts on this blog, but I’ve been lagging behind on marketing my first novel and really feel a need to get to that.
Sweet Ol’ Weekends
Even though weekends are for parties and women and going out and having a great time, I still focus on the three things mentioned above, making sure that I’m not falling behind on anything. Then when everything is in check, it’s time to drink, but drink in moderation, because once you get into serious work-out mode, your body really demands that you cut down on abusing it with various substances, and that’s honestly what I love about the whole work-out process. That once you see you’re getting out of control, just start working-out and you’re back on track. No nicotine patches, no AA meetings, no bullshit or hassle.
I mention all this just to make a point that if you’ve been feeling like you’re stuck in this cycle of unproductiveness, it may be time to focus on specific things that are really important to your daily routine and start on those things as soon as possible. Oh, and I decided to stop drinking on weekdays. This has been the most difficult so far. And I began to eat much more healthy foods. Feeling great and very motivated to keeping it up.