I was reading about the difference between otters and beavers the other day, and it got me thinking.
Otters are said to be the most playful of all animals. Life for them is one frolic after another, sunbathing on a rock, eating and then more playing and frolic. They have fun, seek out adventure, and make us say, “oh how cute” a lot. Sounds like an ideal life, right?
Beavers, however, work really differently.
There’s a reason for the label “busy beaver.”
They gnaw down small trees and dig pathways to transport the material they gather. They build their homes of sticks and mud and dams to maintain the water level of a stream or deepen a pond.
I can surely see my “inner” beaver when she comes out. I’m productive by nature so I can get overly absorbed in pursuing my goals. I can go through times when I’ll get up earlier and stay up too late in the name of accomplishment.
These days I’m looking to balance my inner beaver with my inner otter.
It’s great to be an achiever.
And I still believe in a “whatever it takes” approach when I set my intentions and am looking for certain results. However, only on rare occasions and for limited time frames will I go full beaver and leave my otter behind.
Sure, there are times that call for FOCUS and making something happen. That’s when I’ll call upon my inner beaver.
However, I’m learning that there is NO NEED to be in hyper-mode all the time. With better planning, delegating, and healthy expectations, life seems to come together just fine.
Under ordinary circumstances, and in my day to day life, I find that it’s much healthier and less stressful to embrace my “inner otter”.
When I complete a task or finish a project, instead of rushing like a beaver would to the next task and project, I’ll take some time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished or take a time out and do something very otter-like.
You can do something similar.
Next time you notice you’re intent on acting too beaver-like and the situation really doesn’t call for that kind of intensity, stop and think: how can I still get this done yet bring some of my inner otter out?
Here’s the point: Play more! It’ll help you bring renewed vitality and enthusiasm to the achievement of your goals.
In other words, take yourself lightly. You can do this even while taking your work or other responsibilities seriously.
It works for me and I know it can work for you, too.
Here’s an example of how to do this:
Make a list of your scheduled activities for next week. For each one, ask yourself, “How can I make this fun?” Write down your answer. And write the word FUN next to it to imprint your new perspective on your brain. Make this a part of your weekly routine. Let me know how it goes.
Make your new motto: You oughta be an otter!
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
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For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness habit coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.