I have a hard time with consistency. My latest blog post was dedicated entirely to this difficulty, and I shared how it’s hard for me to continue to show up for a project once the newness and novelty of the project wears off. For instance, I like starting businesses but I end up moving on to something else once I have to start consistently marketing my idea. I like competing, but as soon as I have to start training (in order to compete at a higher level), I move on to another activity. I like teaching and writing, but the thought of blogging and podcasting every week makes me recoil slightly.
While there are a lot of underlying emotions that affect my ability to show up consistently in all of these settings, the real issue is that I mentally "punish" myself every time I fail to show up as much as I would like.
Most of you can relate to this pattern.
You have a lot of things that you value.
You try to allocate your time to accommodate all of those values
But when you look back at your week/year/life, you find that you've devoted much more time to some values/goals while neglecting others.
These neglected values are still important to you, so you beat yourself up about failing to show up in this area of your life.
You feel regretful, shameful, disappointed, and dissatisfied.
You’re not alone. Everyone deals with this issue at some point. And while getting very clear on your values is an important first step (with happiness being the primary focus, in my opinion), that's a discussion for another post. What we're talking about today is how to practically manage multiple values/goals, so you don't look back with regret or self-blame.
If you're like me, this feeling of dissatisfaction and regret comes from a simple time management problem. When you're living your life, you make decisions that cause you to spend more time on some values and less time on others. If your goals and values were like buckets filled with time, you essentially are borrowing time from one bucket and giving it to another bucket. And when you make these decisions (whether conscious or not), it probably feels like a smart choice. It's not until later, when you realize you're looking in an empty bucket, that you feel regret, shame, and dissatisfaction. When you start to feel this way (and your other strategies for getting back on track don't seem to be working) try this strategy instead:
Give yourself multiple personalities.
Notice I didn’t add the word “Disorder” to the end of that sentence. That’s because I think you can use the concept of multiple personalities for your benefit, without it getting to the point of being a disorder.
*Full disclosure, I have zero psychiatric experience, so I have no idea where the line between beneficial and disordered behavior lies. All I know is that I’ve started practicing this mental trick, and it is working for me.*
By saying, “Give yourself multiple personalities,” I mean that you can adopt different "identities" for each of your values/goals. And you'll give each identity a unique name.
For example, I practice switching between the identities of "PARKER!!!" and "park."
My “PARKER!!!” identity is the driver. “PARKER!!!” is the guy who is focused on my value of earning money, training for obstacle course races, and writing this blog. “PARKER!!!” is someone who likes accomplishment, values competition, and pushes physical and mental limits by leaning into discomfort and doing hard things, consistently.
Meanwhile, “park” is chill, carefree, go-with-the-flow, and spontaneous. “park” values connections and relationships in whatever way they present themselves. “park” is not worried about what needs to be done or accomplished. “park” just lives and let lives.
I choose to use these two identities because my value of connection/relationship building is usually at odds with my value of goal achievement. I often borrow from my goal-achievement bucket and give more time to building relationships and having fun with my friends. And while I value relationships and fun more highly, I'd still like to devote time to goal-achievement, so I invented the "PARKER!!!" identity to help with that (you can invent as many characters as you need/want). Whenever I need a reminder to stay consistent and show up for my goals, I will literally shout "PARKER!!!" in my head, as if I'm throwing a Pokémon ball and summoning my "PARKER!!!" identity to the stage.
Many of you can relate to having multiple values that are really important to you but seemingly at odds with each other. Sometimes you may literally feel like you have multiple personality disorder because your brain is pulling you in two different directions at once. This may have you feeling dissatisfied on both ends because instead of allocating time for each value, you just do what everyone else wants you to do (rather than being true to yourself and your values).
I get it. When you feel like you have conflicting interests, it’s easy to just take the middle road and hope for the best. But I think you’re better off leaning into that feeling of having multiple personalities. Instead of taking the middle road, amplify the differences between those various parts of yourself and literally treat them like separate individuals.
Lean into that feeling of having multiple personalities. Instead of taking the middle road, amplify the differences between those various parts of yourself and literally treat them like separate individuals.
The good news is that certain identities may only need to show up for a brief period of time. I only have to be “PARKER!!!” when I want to train, work hard, or just remind myself of the importance of my goals. For instance, “PARKER!!!” may only need to show up for the first 10 minutes of an activity, because he's the guy that shows up and is consistent. “PARKER!!!” (or your PARKER!!! equivalent) may get me started, but “park” will show up to continue the task. "PARKER!!!" might also help end a task. When it’s difficult for me to leave a social situation in order to write, train, or work on a business task, I will use “PARKER!!!” to yell at me like a drill sergeant. I may only need to switch into “PARKER!!!” mode for the brief period that it takes to stop one task and move on to another, but if that’s what I need to stay consistent, then I’m willing to feel completely unhinged as I yell “GET YOUR ASS IN BED” to the carefree, spontaneous, social butterfly side of myself.
I’ll flesh out more of this strategy in future articles (especially with how to use your multiple personalities to make decisions - hint: like having an ‘angel on your shoulder’) but for now, think about what your personalities might be. Is there a bucket in your life where you continue to feel disappointed by its emptiness? Are there areas where you want to practice more consistency? Do you have a goal in mind but you continue to fall short? Or do you just want more balance among the things that you find valuable?
These inconsistencies can often develop from the simple fact that your values and goals are seemingly at odds with each other. You may feel like it’s hard to embrace one identity without sacrificing a part of yourself that wants to identify as something different. By using this ‘multiple personalities’ strategy, you can start to give yourself the mental framework to make those identities possible. It may feel a little insane at first, but it just might work.
PS I’d love to hear the names and costumes of the identities you come up with. Let me know in the comments below!
Written by Parker Hewes, a chiropractor, author, American Ninja Warrior, and serial adventurer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Parker believes learning and growing are the keys to living a full life. He started Getting Gooder to help others learn and grow, so they can create the happiest, healthiest, and wealthiest lives imaginable.
Parker also knows that our ideal life gets even better when we have others to share it with. So, keep following Parker and the Getting Gooder community as we build our ideal, together.