Dear Be Social,
I keep seeing posts on Instagram that say things like, “It’s halfway through 2019; quit wasting your time” and it’s making me anxious that I’m not doing enough. I feel like a failure for not having accomplished more this year, despite what I told myself at the start of the year. All of my friends are getting killer jobs or engaged or otherwise moving forward with their lives and I just feel like I’m in the same spot I was in January. How can I use the rest of the year to inspire myself to do more?
There’s a popular saying that goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” But let’s rephrase it in context for our conversation: comparison is the thief of time. Like you — and countless others — we’re prone to go on a bad-for-you, but hopelessly addicting Instagram spiral. We look at girls who are jetting off to Bali, while our idea of leisure is sleeping in with Brooks (if you don’t know who Brooks is, stalk Ali’s Instagram to find out). It’s human nature to be competitive with each other, but the key is knowing when enough is enough.
Which brings us to our first point: we love social media, but the work is done off screen. Like most social media, Instagram is a highlight reel. We see people’s finished products, but we don’t see the hours of production that goes behind it. Of course you’re only going to see the promotions and weddings and vacations; no one wants to catalog the tedious hours spent doing the grunt work. But the hustle is there and the people who truly value their time, they’re not spending hours focused on what other people are doing: they’re closing their apps and getting down to business.
Second, a mantra that we often repeat to ourselves is this: inspiration is fleeting, work ethic is everything. We love the work we do, but that doesn’t mean it’s always fun or easy (even our founder Ali Grant recognizes this: “While I love what I do, it’s still a job and I am working for someone, whether a client or the company, so things need to get done correctly and on time.” ). If we only worked when we felt motivated, we’d never get anything done. If you want to do more, simply do that: do more. Don’t wait until you have time to start on that project you’ve been thinking about; make the time. Don’t wait until Monday to go to the gym; go now. See our point? It’s the simplest, but hardest piece of advice we’ve had to swallow ourselves.
Our team is no stranger to hard work, but we’re also smart about it. Our Senior Brand Director, Kate Labat, says, “I live for a list. If it’s not written down, it’s not getting done. For short term goals and to-dos I have a digital task list that lives on my Gmail so it is always visible to me throughout the workday. For long term goals, I find writing them on a piece of paper, in a journal or some sort of physical surface makes it seem more concrete. There is something so satisfying about crossing something off! I also think it’s important to have someone that will help hold you accountable. You know how it’s a lot harder to bail on that yoga class when you know your friend is going? Same concept! Share your goals with someone you trust and I bet you’ll be more motivated to make it happen!”
Whether it’s keeping a planner or sticking Post It notes on a mirror, find ways to remind yourself that your dreams are entirely in reach — so long as you keep reaching for them.
That being said, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Or even a year. It’s tempting to measure your success on these months left, but that’s all they are: numbers on a calendar. Be productive, but also be kind to yourself. You’re not any less because you didn’t get a promotion this month. You’re not any less because you haven’t found your soulmate yet. Be patient with yourself, work smart, and be generous to the people around you. That’s how you make 2019 a meaningful one.
Ask Be Social is a bi-weekly advice column from the minds of the Be Social sisters. We’re here to answer any questions that you have about life, career, beauty, etc. Send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t be shy!