Avoidance is Your Worst Enemy

I’ve always been in tune with how I am feeling. I can sense if I am emotionally exhausted, incredibly elated, highly disappointed, etc. Because of this awareness, I try to take very good care of myself. I push myself when I am feeling motivated, but I reward myself with breaks when I need to rest. In general, I feel comfortable and in control.

Recently though, I have noticed something I do that I think most college students probably do as well. I complete tasks that interest and excite me, but I avoid the opposite. If something seems challenging or scary, I pretend it doesn’t exist. Some may argue that this intuition is part of human nature, but I refuse to succumb to that principle. I strive to improve myself every day, and now that I’ve noticed this tendency, I have decided to fix it.

The first step towards tackling my avoidance is to figure out why I ignore the things I do. I’ll give you a concrete example. I hate calendars. I always have. I don’t like to look at the months all lined up together. It seems crazy to me that a whole year can fit in one little book, or on one little page. Calendars make it hard for me to live in the moment.

My anxiety towards calendars has derailed my success during important times in my life. Last spring, during finals week, the volume of work I had to complete was especially stressful. Instead of planning ahead, I tried to store every logistical detail in my head. I didn’t write anything in my agenda, and it didn’t turn out well. I forgot important appointments and fell behind on projects.

Looking back, I wish I had forced myself to sit down for just ten minutes and organize my life. What was I so afraid of? Why did I avoid, over and over again? If only I had realized that using a schedule would actually help me feel calmer. I know now that I need to choose to see calendars as an opportunity to plan ahead. Using an agenda will help me feel organized, and feeling organized keeps me happy and productive.

So what am I really saying aside from sharing with you my bizarre phobia of calendars? I’m asking you to take time to reflect on things you may be avoiding. Are you putting off confronting a friend, procrastinating a huge assignment, or ignoring your to-do list? Whatever it may be, think about why you’re avoiding it. Then, reframe. Acknowledge the positives that will appear from addressing the problem head on.

Oh, and when you figure a time to address what you’ve avoiding, you can put it in your calendar. 🙂