Author Topic: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?  (Read 3929 times)

FamilyGuy

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I have the knowledge. I clearly know the consequences of doing things and not doing things. I rock it and feel very good for a few days. Then downhill & feel exactly opposite.
I will be extremely frugal for weeks. Then become spendy for weeks. Back again.
I will study something for days. Then will discontinue for weeks.
I will start to write a diary & stick to it for days. Then forget where I kept that notebook.
I will check off all the tasks in my to-do app and then totally abandon the app next time. God knows, how many apps I have changed.
Gym, another example.
Diet, another example.
I've walked 10,000 steps every single day for 50 days and then stopped it completely.
Even in my job, I will be extremely productive one day and lazy to do anything the other day.

I always have discontinued things all my life. I am extremely tired of all this and I WANTED TO CHANGE FOREVER. As my life's decisions are based on this uphill & downhill battle, some are good and some are extremely bad.

Example: I bought my home when I was in an extremely frugal, minimalist phase. I got a nice home. Its a small home compared to my friends bought. But I thought that's enough for me and that was a wise decision.

Then came the spendy phase. I felt so bad buying this small home when my friends have bought bigger ones. I bought expensive furniture & cookware for my home.

Back to frugal phase, I am happy about the home now and extremely regretting my choices on furniture and other stuff.

Is this how life works for everyone? What do you all do to be consistent and stick to a thing which you believe is good for you?
I know this is the root devil causing all problems in my life.

dcheesi

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2018, 08:27:57 AM »
I certainly had good days and bad days, and I go through phases (including spending phases) as well. I think a certain amount of fluctuation in interests and focus is normal. Also, if you're pushing yourself to one extreme, in say diet or spending, it's natural for your mind to rebel a little bit after a while.

OTOH, if your phases or mood swings are really that strong and/or seemingly inevitable, it might be a sign of some sort of bi-polar tendency? I don't know much about that, so I'll refrain from arm-chair diagnosis, but it's something to consider.


lizzzi

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2018, 09:37:50 AM »
I find I fluctuate like this on a lot of things. It's part of leading a rich, textured, interesting life, and  finding out what's really important to me and what isn't. So there's a lot of fluid movement in my life as I give more or less time to activities and interests.

I think the OP is being too hard on himself--maybe over-thinking this.

Having said that, I do agree with dcheesi that if it is That Much Of A Problem--really disrupting his life--the OP may want to get some counseling to get a handle on what is going on.

Altons Bobs

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2018, 12:00:00 PM »
I don't do that at all. Are you saying that you're unreliable? Like if you're supposed to help a friend do something, and half way in, and you decide you're not going to do it anymore just because?! You need to examine your life or talk to a mental health specialist to see if they can help you.

CalBal

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2018, 12:05:22 PM »
I don't know if this is the case, but it could be that you go to extremes when you jump into things, and then quickly burn out on them. It's really hard to maintain something if you go from zero to full throttle, resulting in abandonment. This is why a lot of people recommend don't going completely to the bone frugal unless you have some serious debt issue, because it is very difficult to maintain that long term especially if you are coming from a decidedly non-frugal place, and so you yo-yo back in the other direction, making the situation worse. (Same with dieting for a lot of people.) So that's just a thought. The next time you feel like jumping into something one million percent, maybe try easing into it instead and approach with moderation, and see how it goes?

use2betrix

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2018, 12:46:11 PM »
There’s a book called, “the power of habit” I really enjoyed and would suggest reading.

I’m like you for many things, but can stick to a select very few. Your post resonates a lot and I haven’t found a solid fix.

DS

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2018, 12:48:38 PM »
Have you tried being inconsistent with your inconsistency? :)

driftwood

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2018, 02:05:15 PM »
I have the knowledge. I clearly know the consequences of doing things and not doing things. I rock it and feel very good for a few days. Then downhill & feel exactly opposite.
I will be extremely frugal for weeks. Then become spendy for weeks. Back again.
I will study something for days. Then will discontinue for weeks.
I will start to write a diary & stick to it for days. Then forget where I kept that notebook.
I will check off all the tasks in my to-do app and then totally abandon the app next time. God knows, how many apps I have changed.
Gym, another example.
Diet, another example.
I've walked 10,000 steps every single day for 50 days and then stopped it completely.
Even in my job, I will be extremely productive one day and lazy to do anything the other day.

I always have discontinued things all my life. I am extremely tired of all this and I WANTED TO CHANGE FOREVER. As my life's decisions are based on this uphill & downhill battle, some are good and some are extremely bad.

Example: I bought my home when I was in an extremely frugal, minimalist phase. I got a nice home. Its a small home compared to my friends bought. But I thought that's enough for me and that was a wise decision.

Then came the spendy phase. I felt so bad buying this small home when my friends have bought bigger ones. I bought expensive furniture & cookware for my home.

Back to frugal phase, I am happy about the home now and extremely regretting my choices on furniture and other stuff.

Is this how life works for everyone? What do you all do to be consistent and stick to a thing which you believe is good for you?
I know this is the root devil causing all problems in my life.

Not sure if it'll help, but I am similar in many ways, and I just try to find new 'fads' or hobbies to jump to.  So maybe you do Crossfit & Paleo for a month or two. Then quit. Screw those caveman psychos. Then do Yoga and Vegan for a month or two. Now you're tired of the downward dog and want some bacon, so try Keto & train for a marathon. Well that was too much running. Too many healthy fads in a row, join an ultimate Frisbee meetup that really just meets to have beer and pizza. Now move on to a hiking group and experiment with exotic recipes... 

In that moment when you're absolutely DONE with a habit or thing you've been doing, try to switch to something else that is also beneficial. The results over time will be positive. The friends you make will stick if you continue to talk to them. Discard any habit/acquaintance that you don't want to carry forward.

With thrifty/spendy though, that's one where you have to figure out how to develop discipline. Automate your savings and bills, then let yourself fluctuate back and forth between being frugal with what's left (after savings/investing/bills), and blowing what's left on stupid shit. Gain over time will be steady progress towards FIRE. Short term will be a flux of spending/saving, but with a fraction of your overall income.

lbmustache

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2018, 02:36:15 PM »
This is purely psychological. It's well-documented. You get excited, start something, the excitement wears off (you realize it takes... work! Gasp!) and then you abandon it.

This is a good quick podcast to listen to on the topic: https://www.rachelhart.com/why-enthusiasm-fades/ ("Why your enthusiasm fades"). Fair warning, it's for people trying to reducing their drinking (not addicts or alcoholics) but her basic principles of psychology still apply here.

frugalfoothills

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2018, 02:46:06 PM »
I don't know if this is the case, but it could be that you go to extremes when you jump into things, and then quickly burn out on them. It's really hard to maintain something if you go from zero to full throttle, resulting in abandonment. This is why a lot of people recommend don't going completely to the bone frugal unless you have some serious debt issue, because it is very difficult to maintain that long term especially if you are coming from a decidedly non-frugal place, and so you yo-yo back in the other direction, making the situation worse. (Same with dieting for a lot of people.) So that's just a thought. The next time you feel like jumping into something one million percent, maybe try easing into it instead and approach with moderation, and see how it goes?

This is how I perceived OP's situation as well, and I have a friend who is also like this in literally every aspect of her life, and it has the same types of negative effects on her life that OP described. She decides she wants to lose some weight, so she goes from a diet of pizza and beer to starting Whole 30 overnight and deciding to do 2-a-day workouts every day. After a week or so gives up because it was too radical of a change too quickly and was unsustainable.

Finances -- she will sit down and make a budget that spans five years into the future, showing herself paying off thousands of dollars in debt, slashing spending, saving for a down payment for a house, etc. She sticks to this for a week or so and eliminates all excess spending, eats rice and beans, etc. then gives up and backslides and buys a new Mustang (not a joke.) Then she feels like a failure for not sticking to the plan, even though the plan had 0% chance of success to begin with because of how outrageous the rules were. Then she starts the cycle over when she gets fed up a few months later.

These cycles of intense, unsustainable, life-altering change followed by the inevitable failure to stick with those changes has bred feelings of shame and embarrassment in her. She beats herself up whenever she abandons a plan, hates herself through the backslide into her old ways, then tries again only to fail again. Rinse & repeat for years and years. Money, relationships, food, work...

OP, if this sounds like you, I'd strongly suggest trying to embrace small changes versus life overhauls... I know with her she has this all or nothing mentality, but that's just not how it has to be. You can be trying to eat healthier and still have a beer. You can be frugal and still splurge on something you love. Deprivation doesn't lead to success.

One place I can relate to your story is on the house/furnishings & maybe my own mindset will help. Compared to the homes my friends have, mine is small and modest. Instead of overcompensating for that by buying thousands of dollars worth of high-end furniture, I've tried to focus instead of loving my home for what it is (which I do!) and try to fill it with things that are meaningful rather than expensive for the hell of it. If there's something I really want to splurge on, I let myself, but 80% of the time I'm working with hand-me-downs, DIY projects, thrifted finds, etc. That means 80% of what I have/buy aligns with my financial goals, which I can feel good about, and I don't dwell on the other 20%. I don't feel like I'm depriving myself and, even better, it means I have built a home that I'm proud of and really love.

I don't think there's an easy answer here for you. You need to figure out WHY you feel the need to go balls-to-the-wall with everything you do instead of feeling comfortable with your life on the whole and just making small tweaks here & there to optimize instead. For my friend, it's because she has some deep-seeded issues that stem from comparing herself to others incessantly, which makes her unhappy and resentful toward her life and herself, and makes her believe that the only way to be happy is to change herself completely (and overnight.) But comparison is the thief of joy.

wenchsenior

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2018, 02:54:30 PM »
There has been some research (although I understand the robustness of the conclusions have been questioned) that 'willpower' or  self-regulation functions similarly to a muscle in most people.  So it can be gradually increased in capacity over time, but if you ask too much of it too suddenly, or in too many areas, you overload it to burnout.

If this is true, it explains why slow gradual changes tend to stick more than sudden radical ones in a lot of areas. It also explains why people who are highly successful at self regulation in certain areas of their lives (:coughsuccessfulpoliticians&celebritiescough: often are brought down by seemingly stupid lapses of self control in areas of e.g. sexual behavior.

Or why you might restrain the urge to throttle your annoying boss or coworker all day, and then go home and pick a fight with your partner.

This research also seems to indicate that stable blood sugar levels also play a role in self regulation, which might be why people attempting to control food intake often lapse in the mid to late afternoon after the combine 'willpower sapping' of a long day at work and a mid-afternoon blood sugar crash.


AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2018, 03:55:43 PM »
We're not all wired the same way. What you write off as inconsistency also shows an ability to adapt to change, resiliency etc etc. Maybe you're  seeker type personality that needs constant but relatively short term projects. Two sides to every coin, innit?

galliver

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2018, 03:56:21 PM »
I don't have a complete answer but have some thoughts from my own experience...

One thing I've noticed is that sometimes when I don't stick with habits, it's about utility. Particularly journaling, time tracking, meditation, those kinds of things. Maybe I start them because I'm not sure how my choices are adding up, or I have a whirlwind of thoughts in my head or whatever. But a few days/weeks/month or two later, I recognize my patterns and stop deriving new information, or life things calm down, and I no longer (feel like I) derive the same benefit from the new habit, so it becomes a chore and eventually I stop. I've given myself permission to have this ebb and flow of certain activities as they are needed, or not.

Another thing I've noticed is my dropping habits is closely related to overall energy levels. If I have a rough day/week at work and make myself do a particular workout anyway, I'll perform poorly, feel bad about myself, and grow to hate the activity. I'll also have zero f*cks left to give about flossing, or taking vitamins, or whatever I'm trying to be consistent with. It gets better if I rest properly (SLEEP, not watch TV until 1AM), and then learn to re-start things that lapsed while I was out of it. I also try to scale back vs canceling: if the thought of running is abhorrent, maybe I walk the 3 miles home. Or lift some weights. Or do some yoga.  Similar idea goes for finances...some months are spendy (Oct-Dec is often spendy because of holidays), and trying to cut your grocery budget when you plan to throw a turkey feast for 20 people is, uh, unrealistic. But maybe you can scale back in some way (skip the signature cocktail tradition? throw a potluck? one fewer gift for kids?) and most importantly get back on the horse in January (or whenever the weird month ends).

TLDR: Learning to start (and re-start) activities and habits you want in your life is probably more important than keeping them going, because Shit Happens. But it's also ok to let go of things not currently useful to you, even if they were useful for a time. I like @driftwood 's suggestion re: finding positive new things to jump to (although if you have a tendency to get "the gear" for whatever new activity you're doing, and then have occasional decluttering binges, that can backfire financially...just watch out for that).

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2018, 09:46:57 PM »
Thank you, everyone, for the multiple responses. I'm reading one by one carefully.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2018, 09:49:35 PM »
OTOH, if your phases or mood swings are really that strong and/or seemingly inevitable, it might be a sign of some sort of bi-polar tendency? I don't know much about that, so I'll refrain from arm-chair diagnosis, but it's something to consider.

I have the same doubt and have been reading about bipolar, taking their quiz etc. I do have many of those symptoms. But I strongly think there should be way out of this without any medications.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #15 on: October 19, 2018, 09:56:50 PM »
I think the OP is being too hard on himself--maybe over-thinking this.

I really wanted to lead a fair and steady life. I don't want to over-think about this but feeling helpless and there is no other way except to write & speak my mind. I saw a therapist and that did not help. No one around me knows that this problem exists for me. I don't know if talking to my family or friends would help here...and whether they will believe it or not.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2018, 09:58:46 PM »
I don't do that at all. Are you saying that you're unreliable? Like if you're supposed to help a friend do something, and half way in, and you decide you're not going to do it anymore just because?! You need to examine your life or talk to a mental health specialist to see if they can help you.
I'm a very reliable person for an outsider. I take care of my promises to my friends & family. It's only within me this problem exists.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2018, 10:00:47 PM »
There’s a book called, “the power of habit” I really enjoyed and would suggest reading.

I’m like you for many things, but can stick to a select very few. Your post resonates a lot and I haven’t found a solid fix.
Thank you. I've read that book and couldn't follow the steps as usual. Compound Effect is another such book, have read it a few times.

CrustyBadger

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2018, 05:48:36 AM »
OTOH, if your phases or mood swings are really that strong and/or seemingly inevitable, it might be a sign of some sort of bi-polar tendency? I don't know much about that, so I'll refrain from arm-chair diagnosis, but it's something to consider.

I have the same doubt and have been reading about bipolar, taking their quiz etc. I do have many of those symptoms. But I strongly think there should be way out of this without any medications.

I think it sounds more likely to be related to ADHD, or executive function disorder, than bipolar illness.

FatFI2025

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2018, 08:50:31 AM »
I don't do that at all. Are you saying that you're unreliable? Like if you're supposed to help a friend do something, and half way in, and you decide you're not going to do it anymore just because?! You need to examine your life or talk to a mental health specialist to see if they can help you.
I'm a very reliable person for an outsider. I take care of my promises to my friends & family. It's only within me this problem exists.

I'm curious, if you pretend to be an outsider observing yourself, how would you rate your executive function? It sounds like you might have a lot of ambition and then you burn out some goals, but I'm guessing not all goals. My attitude is to aim high and if I hit 20%, I'm doing pretty well. The saying goes "don't bite off more than you can chew," but how are we to know how much we can chew if we don't eat a bucket of burgers and puke once in a while? I've failed to reach ambitious goals and learned where I'm weakest (food, drink, working out) and where I'm strongest (work). Each time I get knocked back by my own weakness, I learn a little more, maybe give up for a while, but eventually I'll try again. Those failures help me to be more realistic in goal setting, but don't turn me into the slow-and-steady tortoise because that's just not me. So fully acknowledging that mental health warrants serious consideration, also consider that one of your weaknesses is a lack of self-forgiving -- embrace your ambitions and failures as part of your personal growth.

PoutineLover

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2018, 08:58:44 AM »
I feel like I have the same issue. Can't really offer advice, but following to get some.

DirtDiva

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2018, 07:25:54 AM »
I am the same way.  I am completely reliable in my obligations to others (show up and do my work with a smile every single day, faithful to my spouse for 34 years, present and consistent parent and friend and family member and volunteer) but for things I choose to do that have no external obligations I am not consistent. (Examples:  eating, exercising, hobbies and habits like meditation or flossing).

 I have enough externally imposed obligations that not honoring internally imposed obligations feels good sometimes. 

However, I have found that some things (like moving my body every day and not eating a load of sugary shit) feel good enough that those activities have become their own reward.  The motivation to do these things is the good feeling they produce, not the thought that I “should” do them.

I don’t think I have a mental disorder. It is simply  my personality.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2018, 08:43:10 AM »
I am the same way.  I am completely reliable in my obligations to others (show up and do my work with a smile every single day, faithful to my spouse for 34 years, present and consistent parent and friend and family member and volunteer) but for things I choose to do that have no external obligations I am not consistent. (Examples:  eating, exercising, hobbies and habits like meditation or flossing).

 I have enough externally imposed obligations that not honoring internally imposed obligations feels good sometimes. 

However, I have found that some things (like moving my body every day and not eating a load of sugary shit) feel good enough that those activities have become their own reward.  The motivation to do these things is the good feeling they produce, not the thought that I “should” do them.

I don’t think I have a mental disorder. It is simply  my personality.

This really resonates with me. I have no problem being consistent when I am accountable to others, but I have a hard time being accountable to myself. When my husband is home I exercise and make healthy dinners and clean up after myself and follow a schedule and get myself to bed on time. I don't even think about it, it just happens. But if he is away all of a sudden I'm eating popcorn and whisky for dinner and staying up til 1am. I don't even know why, because I feel much happier when I am the better version of me. But I am just not motivated to maintain the routine when I'm on my own. If we ever split up I will devolve into an absolute mess of a person within days. It is the same in my work. I work best when collaborating with others, or having lots of low pressure interim deadlines and check ins. If I have one big deadline and a lot of solitary work I will procrastinate and then drive myself crazy as the pressure builds. Why? I don't know. I think the key for me is knowing that I am like this and building in that external accountability. Which can be difficulty but is better in the end.

Dicey

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2018, 09:12:29 AM »
I can totally relate to this thread. I look forward to following along.

I see a lot of helpful input here..

And I can already see the worst answer thus far. @Altons Bob, this is an amazingly tone-deaf, judgemental reply:

I don't do that at all. Are you saying that you're unreliable? Like if you're supposed to help a friend do something, and half way in, and you decide you're not going to do it anymore just because?! You need to examine your life or talk to a mental health specialist to see if they can help you.

Your "help" is not encouraging in any way. OP asked for input in order to facilitate a change, not gloating criticism. Goody for you that this is not your issue. Why the hell are you here?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 12:09:36 PM by Dicey »

MandalayVA

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2018, 11:26:14 AM »
Too much ambition is definitely a thing.  When I want to change one thing, I want to change EVERYTHING.  Learning to do one thing at a time isn't coming easily, but it is coming.  Hang in there!

Rosy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2018, 01:55:40 PM »
I have a similar personality. I've always had a myriad of interests and I am interested in everything. I get a kick out of learning and understanding - then I move on to something else.
By now, I recognize the signs of restlessness. So, I take a break, step back to re-evaluate and adjust - or totally walk away.

It is OK, to walk away when you are done. It would be stupid and a waste of my time, even torture, to force myself to continue when I already know - I'm done.
I've learned to (mostly:) manage my full throttle approach - I give myself permission to go for it, so I benefit from the extreme savings or get a thrill from creating say a big mosaic project for the house and garden. I've also noticed that 90 days seems to be my threshold for any wild schemes or interests I want to pursue.

Here are a few things that I realized about myself - maybe they will be helpful to you:
1. I tend to see everything as a challenge to be mastered and once I have - I often lose interest. Now that I have successfully done X for 30 - 60 - 90 days, I know that yes, I can do this.
In a way I check it off my list, I'm satisfied that I could do this if I wanted to continue or for some reason was forced to live that way. Perhaps a strange notion - but there you are.
It suddenly just isn't important enough to me to "stick with it", I know I could if I had to, and apparently that is enough for me.

2. I think as long as you handle your core obligations to family as well as at work and take positive steps to improve your life you are just fine.
Everchanging interests are not really a bad thing - they often come in handy down the road and they always give your spirit a lift.
No need to gnash your teeth, because you dropped an exercise routine or stopped writing in your journal. In truth, you could start again any time.

3. Recognize your weak points and find ways to deal with your 'all or nothing approach'. Know thyself:)
It has been the same with MMM, when I set new goals I give it my all for 90 days and then it becomes unbearable-time to adjust.
One tactic that I have learned on MMM:
Math and pragmatism are your friends because they put things into proper perspective instead of listening to "the foaming at the mouth, perceived-but unproven" possibilities in your head.

Math doesn't yell in your head to hurry up and kill that goal asap - it states ice cold facts. Now all you have to do is slash it into bite-size challenges to satisfy your need for overkill without setting yourself up for a crash and burn.

In general
A good habit will stick because it has relevance in your life. Life changes and old habits may even become detrimental as you grow and move on.

Routines may be boring but a few good habits and a measure of self-discipline are important to have. I think the recent book about the Navy Seal training has some excellent tools and insights.
Stephen Covey's book and others like it were totally worthless to me.

There is an old book titled: How to get what you want by Raymond Hull, (he co-authored the Peter Principle), that I reach for whenever I feel the need to review my life, focus on plans, goals. It is an oddly weird read (and workbook in one) but it worked for me. Different perspectives and tactics to achieve a balance in all areas of your life were helpful in finding better focus and balance in my life.

I'd say you have to accept the way you are, then find a way to use it to your advantage.
If we are just talking hobbies and interests - feel free to acquire a thousand more if that is how you are wired.
However, remember to use your time and energy wisely and since you are on MMM you do not get to spend wildly on an expensive hobby either:)

Congrats on the new home, you managed to purchase the most expensive and rather important property during your savings phase!

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2018, 02:35:15 PM »

There has been some research (although I understand the robustness of the conclusions have been questioned) that 'willpower' or  self-regulation functions similarly to a muscle in most people.  So it can be gradually increased in capacity over time, but if you ask too much of it too suddenly, or in too many areas, you overload it to burnout.


Self-discipline is the cardinal personal virtue.

wenchsenior

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2018, 03:13:21 PM »

There has been some research (although I understand the robustness of the conclusions have been questioned) that 'willpower' or  self-regulation functions similarly to a muscle in most people.  So it can be gradually increased in capacity over time, but if you ask too much of it too suddenly, or in too many areas, you overload it to burnout.


Self-discipline is the cardinal personal virtue.

Ok, but that's a moral judgement.  I'm not sure how it's practically helpful to the OP, though, or how it relates to my comment.

elliha

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2018, 03:41:24 PM »
I am easily bored by routine. I have learned that I need to change the routine a little at regular intervals if I am going to even have a chance to keep up with it. The hard thing is to know when and how much change is necessary and if I don't change the right way it all fails. My husband is the other way around. He has eaten the same breakfast for as long as he can remember. I will for real vomit if I try to eat the same breakfast for longer than 1-2 months. The same way he loves to eat the same maybe 10-15 dishes and while I also have some favorites that I keep repeating I rarely repeat things as often as the same month. A clear sign that I am not really feeling well mentally is that I eat the same things often while for my husband that is his preferred pattern. We try to find a compromise, he gets his favorites once a week or once every two weeks and I can try new stuff a couple times a week too.


AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2018, 04:21:12 PM »

There has been some research (although I understand the robustness of the conclusions have been questioned) that 'willpower' or  self-regulation functions similarly to a muscle in most people.  So it can be gradually increased in capacity over time, but if you ask too much of it too suddenly, or in too many areas, you overload it to burnout.


Self-discipline is the cardinal personal virtue.

Yes, yes it is. I save all my self discipline for the big stuff, like spending, eating and not punching judgey people. I'm still easily bored.

Nola584

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2018, 05:47:56 PM »
I see myself in what you’re saying OP, as well as others in this thread. I like to throw myself in head first and learn lots of different skills, but eventually lose interest in most.

One thing that started to shift my thinking a bit in some, but not all, areas was the book “Mastery” by George Leonard. I picked a few pursuits that were important enough to me that I want to truly master them, and have given myself permission to dabble in others here and there as needed.

Something about having that deliniation was really helpful for my mindset.

madgeylou

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2018, 06:21:12 PM »
OP, check out Gretchen Rubin’s work on The Four Tendencies, where she breaks down different responses that different people have to internal and expectations. Knowing your tendency can help you figure out strategies that work for you, to help you build habits you want to build.

Sounds like you may be an obliger, who tends to respond best to external expectations. Like, if someone is meeting you to go running, maybe you’re more likely to go running. There’s no shame in that — it just means you’ll be more successful when you build more external accountability in to your plans.

lhamo

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2018, 07:55:31 PM »
OP, check out Gretchen Rubin’s work on The Four Tendencies, where she breaks down different responses that different people have to internal and expectations. Knowing your tendency can help you figure out strategies that work for you, to help you build habits you want to build.

Sounds like you may be an obliger, who tends to respond best to external expectations. Like, if someone is meeting you to go running, maybe you’re more likely to go running. There’s no shame in that — it just means you’ll be more successful when you build more external accountability in to your plans.

Great minds think alike!  Was just about to post a similar response.  Here is a link to the framework:

https://gretchenrubin.com/books/the-four-tendencies/intro/


FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2018, 07:57:30 PM »
I don't do that at all. Are you saying that you're unreliable? Like if you're supposed to help a friend do something, and half way in, and you decide you're not going to do it anymore just because?! You need to examine your life or talk to a mental health specialist to see if they can help you.
I'm a very reliable person for an outsider. I take care of my promises to my friends & family. It's only within me this problem exists.

I'm curious, if you pretend to be an outsider observing yourself, how would you rate your executive function? It sounds like you might have a lot of ambition and then you burn out some goals, but I'm guessing not all goals. My attitude is to aim high and if I hit 20%, I'm doing pretty well. The saying goes "don't bite off more than you can chew," but how are we to know how much we can chew if we don't eat a bucket of burgers and puke once in a while? I've failed to reach ambitious goals and learned where I'm weakest (food, drink, working out) and where I'm strongest (work). Each time I get knocked back by my own weakness, I learn a little more, maybe give up for a while, but eventually I'll try again. Those failures help me to be more realistic in goal setting, but don't turn me into the slow-and-steady tortoise because that's just not me. So fully acknowledging that mental health warrants serious consideration, also consider that one of your weaknesses is a lack of self-forgiving -- embrace your ambitions and failures as part of your personal growth.

OK. I'm little emotional today and anything is bringing tears to me. If I pretend to be an outsider observing myself how would I rate my executive function? I would give 6 out of 10. I agree I'm not realistic in goal setting and that is one of the problems. I am either this or that. Cannot think about this grey area between. I fasten up to do something and I strongly believe I will complete it but there comes a day when I totally forget it.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2018, 08:04:13 PM »
Too much ambition is definitely a thing.  When I want to change one thing, I want to change EVERYTHING.  Learning to do one thing at a time isn't coming easily, but it is coming.  Hang in there!
Thank you. Putting ALL the problems in a to-do list on Monday morning and checking it off is NOT working.
I can see why doing few things is a better idea to help rather working on everything. What I don't get is why my mind is not getting this simple idea. I'm very confused. Thanks for your input.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2018, 08:06:39 PM »
I have a similar personality. I've always had a myriad of interests and I am interested in everything. I get a kick out of learning and understanding - then I move on to something else.
By now, I recognize the signs of restlessness. So, I take a break, step back to re-evaluate and adjust - or totally walk away.

It is OK, to walk away when you are done. It would be stupid and a waste of my time, even torture, to force myself to continue when I already know - I'm done.
I've learned to (mostly:) manage my full throttle approach - I give myself permission to go for it, so I benefit from the extreme savings or get a thrill from creating say a big mosaic project for the house and garden. I've also noticed that 90 days seems to be my threshold for any wild schemes or interests I want to pursue.

Here are a few things that I realized about myself - maybe they will be helpful to you:
1. I tend to see everything as a challenge to be mastered and once I have - I often lose interest. Now that I have successfully done X for 30 - 60 - 90 days, I know that yes, I can do this.
In a way I check it off my list, I'm satisfied that I could do this if I wanted to continue or for some reason was forced to live that way. Perhaps a strange notion - but there you are.
It suddenly just isn't important enough to me to "stick with it", I know I could if I had to, and apparently that is enough for me.

2. I think as long as you handle your core obligations to family as well as at work and take positive steps to improve your life you are just fine.
Everchanging interests are not really a bad thing - they often come in handy down the road and they always give your spirit a lift.
No need to gnash your teeth, because you dropped an exercise routine or stopped writing in your journal. In truth, you could start again any time.

3. Recognize your weak points and find ways to deal with your 'all or nothing approach'. Know thyself:)
It has been the same with MMM, when I set new goals I give it my all for 90 days and then it becomes unbearable-time to adjust.
One tactic that I have learned on MMM:
Math and pragmatism are your friends because they put things into proper perspective instead of listening to "the foaming at the mouth, perceived-but unproven" possibilities in your head.

Math doesn't yell in your head to hurry up and kill that goal asap - it states ice cold facts. Now all you have to do is slash it into bite-size challenges to satisfy your need for overkill without setting yourself up for a crash and burn.

In general
A good habit will stick because it has relevance in your life. Life changes and old habits may even become detrimental as you grow and move on.

Routines may be boring but a few good habits and a measure of self-discipline are important to have. I think the recent book about the Navy Seal training has some excellent tools and insights.
Stephen Covey's book and others like it were totally worthless to me.

There is an old book titled: How to get what you want by Raymond Hull, (he co-authored the Peter Principle), that I reach for whenever I feel the need to review my life, focus on plans, goals. It is an oddly weird read (and workbook in one) but it worked for me. Different perspectives and tactics to achieve a balance in all areas of your life were helpful in finding better focus and balance in my life.

I'd say you have to accept the way you are, then find a way to use it to your advantage.
If we are just talking hobbies and interests - feel free to acquire a thousand more if that is how you are wired.
However, remember to use your time and energy wisely and since you are on MMM you do not get to spend wildly on an expensive hobby either:)

Congrats on the new home, you managed to purchase the most expensive and rather important property during your savings phase!
Thank you @Rosy. I'm saving this message to read it whenever I wanted to.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2018, 08:53:46 PM »
OP, check out Gretchen Rubin’s work on The Four Tendencies, where she breaks down different responses that different people have to internal and expectations. Knowing your tendency can help you figure out strategies that work for you, to help you build habits you want to build.

Sounds like you may be an obliger, who tends to respond best to external expectations. Like, if someone is meeting you to go running, maybe you’re more likely to go running. There’s no shame in that — it just means you’ll be more successful when you build more external accountability in to your plans.

Great minds think alike!  Was just about to post a similar response.  Here is a link to the framework:

https://gretchenrubin.com/books/the-four-tendencies/intro/
Thank you @madgeylou  and @Idahome
I took the quiz and it came as Obliger - who can meet external expectations but not the self ones.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #37 on: October 22, 2018, 12:36:10 AM »
You know what, OP? I've spent years dabbling and moving all over the place career-wise, and getting told to stick to the path and stop faffing about. I'm now in demand because I have a 'broad skill base'! Go figure, huh?

JanetJackson

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #38 on: October 22, 2018, 07:20:35 AM »
I read this post last night, but was too tired to respond.

I want to say that you are not alone.

While I haven't had this inconsistency in my life in every facet, I have experienced it in some.

I have found, through trial and error, that I enjoy dabbling and that it's ok to try something new and then change my mind... BUT if I find something I WANT to stick with, or if it relates to my health or well being, that I need to have a specific strategy.

That strategy is TINY... and I mean... TINY bites.

10,000 tiny bites vs. 10 HUGE chomps can still equal the same meal... but some people just need to approach it differently.

I simply cannot go "full force" into something or I will burn myself completely out after several very successful months, or even years. 
I will never want to think about the thing again, and I will fail at doing what I wanted to do.
For me, I must take tiny-almost undetectable steps, and then grow upon those each day.  It must become a habit, and it must not JOLT my life... just slowwwwwly become a part of it.
Once I have a slight hold on the habit, I also make sure to document it.


Example:  Let's say I want to run a half marathon.
Day 1. Run from my car to the house after work (yeah, even if I have to walk back for my stuff)
Day 2. Run to the mailbox (maybe 10 ft further than the car)
Day 3. Run to the mailbox and HALF of the distance back (even if I know I can run the rest)
Day 4. Run to the mailbox and back.
Day 4. Add 3 yards.
Day 5. Add 3 yards.
etc. etc....

At about day 7 I'd start marking the distance in a small notebook IMMEDIATLY when I get back inside the house.

If I ever "don't feel like it" or "don't feel good" I can walk the distance.
But I would quickly realize that if I just want to 'get it done' that walking will take a lot more time... and I'll go back to running.

Yes, it will take me a LONG time to train for a half marathon using this method, probably a year, maybe even more...which is a really long time to train for a 1/2 marathon.. but also, better than NEVER doing one if my goal is to do one.
I will be running every day, it will become a habit.

I've been able to build a lot of very healthy fulfilling hobbies this way.

Small teeny tiny changes have opened up possibility for me.  If after a month or so I really still don't want to do it... if it's not for my health, or a necessity, I can drop it.

Things I have crashed and burned on and let go of:
Knitting
Crochet
Cross-Stitch
Learning a third language
Hockey
Hot yoga
Baking
Outdoor Boot camp
Many many Etsy shops
Farmers market stand
Soap Making
100 Push up challenge 6x
Plyometrics class
TRX class
Swimming lessons
Horseback riding
.... and so many more.

But I do have successes in other aspects of my life... and I've earned those through taking teeny tiny bites and building them into my life carefully and strategically.
Any time I want to jump deeper into something new (which is OFTEN), or skip steps... I take a DEEP BREATH, calm myself, and go back to the plan.

It's not always easy, but it is effective.

----------------------------------------

Good Luck, and thanks for sharing with us.



Rosy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #39 on: October 22, 2018, 12:07:52 PM »
I have a similar personality. .......
Big Snip.....................................
Congrats on the new home, you managed to purchase the most expensive and rather important property during your savings phase!
Thank you @Rosy. I'm saving this message to read it whenever I wanted to.

I'm honored, FamilyGuy - it pleases me no end if my post is helpful to you.
The only thing that has toned down this personality trait in me is age and a difficult time after my husband died when I was 48.
The good thing was it also turned out to be the one character trait that helped me the most to radically change my life when I needed to.

I never quite saw it as a flaw, but rather chose to see it as an extra benefit, a gift that not everyone has. Going full throttle can produce awesome results - you just have to know thyself and take a break before you burn out so that you can do it again - if you want to - and it makes sense to continue.

It certainly helps at work when you have total focus on a short-term project and do it well.
In our personal lives, it is more complicated and most of us struggle to get it right, find balance, deal with our own challenges, core values, weaknesses, even genetics and luck.

FamilyGuy

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2018, 07:00:18 PM »
Thank you every one. I read more on what an obliger tendency is and awestruck that it relates to my personality so much. My personality cannot simply meet all the internal expectations. This is liberating to know. I did some analysis on what things I've done and what I've not. It kind of proves I was an obliger always.

I did 10,000 steps a day for 40 days for a company-wide race challenge and met that goal. In fact some days I went up to 17,000 steps. Once the race is complete, no one is there to make me accountable, so I stopped walking 10k steps a day. 

I ate a vegetarian, dairy free, one meal a day diet for 15 days for a religious ceremony that I got to do and will be attended by many. It was easy for me. But without that demand, I cannot imagine a vegetarian diet.

I have saved money & invested in different areas - (built a home & 3 apartments in my home country mortgage free and invested in family business/peer to peer lending etc.) because my dad is overlooking all these finances there. I'm accountable to him. Here in the USA, no one looks at my finances, so I suck now and then with the leftover money I have here. 

I signed up for a course - paid 2 grand (Please knock me down the street). It was a complete self-learn with some facebook support group. That didn't go well at all because no one I care about is validating me or making me accountable. 

I went to the gym for 2 years (95% attendance) because my roommate always goes and I join him. He will ask several questions if I don't and people starting naming me as a regular gym goer. That was quite a prestige for me at that time.

Workwise, only when I put followup & status meetings on calendars, I do significant work on that project.

I don't study for exams till the last day of an exam. I study the whole last day when there is no escape. I was a college topper but I always think how great my scores would have been if I have done a systematic learning approach.

I do things what people expect out of me. I don't want them to be disappointed. So my finance, health, career, habits, relationships are fair & okay for the outer cycle. But only I know the inner stuff and how I struggle to keep things and how poor am I in my own inner being. I have poor self-esteem, people pleaser, approval seeker, cannot hold steady decisions etc.

OK after realizing an obliger personality and my internal goals can be met via external validations - this is what I'm deciding and God knows how consistent this will plan be. I'm seeking for a real someone who can make me accountable for the goals I wanted to achieve and make me suffer consequences. Looks like the term here is "accountability partner".

My roommate is a serious gym person. I am going to go to gym 30 to 45 minutes every day with him. I will be sad disappointing him and so there is a bigger chance I might be consistent in this one.

I will write more on this & next efforts.

Sorry I'm double posting this in the below thread and my journal because there are some people following only one of these and I wanted to update all of them. That said, I will merge this topic soon in the journal.

Journal : https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/sometimes-i-wish-life-had-subtitles
Thread:  https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/i'm-so-inconsistent-in-everything-is-this-how-life-works-for-everyone



« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 06:51:00 AM by FamilyGuy »

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: I'm so inconsistent in everything...Is this how life works for everyone?
« Reply #41 on: October 23, 2018, 10:14:27 AM »
We're not all wired the same way. What you write off as inconsistency also shows an ability to adapt to change, resiliency etc etc. Maybe you're  seeker type personality that needs constant but relatively short term projects. Two sides to every coin, innit?

I read what the OP wrote and thought to myself, did I write this? Above is probably the best comment. Two sides to every coin. Some of the things that we think of as deficits are actually what draws people to us. It's what makes us, us. I am highly analytical and love learning about different productivity methods, however implementation is where it all falls apart. I've always wanted to exercise more but sticking to it is troublesome. However, I am all over my budget every day. I want to keep my house perfectly neat and tidy but can't seem to keep up with it and clean in spurts on the weekend.

I drove myself nutty with self help books and over thinking everything, still do. But there are days that I realize that I am me and that's just the way it is.

So all the rambling aside, find what makes you happy and fulfilled. With me, I find getting a moderate amount of exercise, eating well, sleeping well, and maintaining my to do list/log makes me feel like a functional adult. When I don't do these things I feel things are falling apart.