EDOE Rule #3: Stacking your habits so they stick

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into smaller jobs.” ~Henry Ford

Before we can move on to the ‘what-the-hell-do-I-do-with-this-massive-to-do-list-that-makes-me-want-to-cry” portion of the Extreme Do-Over Experiment, I have to tell you that nothing I share from this point forward will work unless you learn (or re-learn) some basic rules.

Let’s review the first two rules. They may seem counter-intuitive to making any progress, but they are key to making things work in this experiment:

Rule #1: You have permission to give up

Rule #2:  Remember, it will get worse before it gets better

Today, as long as you are ready …and find (because you read them) that the above rules aren’t as depressing as they seem, we will begin the very first stages of doing something with that to-do list.

Problem:

As a caregiver who has no structure to her day, and even if I did have structure (ie, a job or requirement to be in the public’s eye) it would be derailed at any given moment. Things that came easy for everyone else didn’t come easy for me.

Things like:

  • Brushing my teeth before noon, if at all. (gross, I know!)
  • Getting dressed. Like, beyond my pajamas kind of dressed.
  • Working on my to-do list of 250+ items

Yeah. The moment I wrote out the list of things I needed and wanted to do in my life, I wanted to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head and hide forever.

I wanted to give up. I wanted to procrastinate.

It was just. too. much. Too much to think about. Too much to do. Too much to worry about. Too many things that may never get done.

I am guessing you are at that point too, wondering if this experiment is even worth following!

I asked myself at the same point of this process:

If I couldn’t even get to the most basic elements of each day, how was I supposed to tackle everything that I had to do? Great googly moogly, I’ll NEVER get this list done in a lifetime!

Well, I gave up to be honest. BUT, I didn’t give up trying. I found a way.

First I had to find out what made me tick and why it never worked in the past.

I give a lot of credit to the FlyLady in her system, as her home management program is founded on stacking habits and creating routines based on established zones of your home. However, it was not for me. I had fallen off the FlyLady wagon so many times I couldn’t count. It left me feeling like a total failure, wondering what the missing piece of the success puzzle could be.

There was no motivation on my end to rehash what I knew would only work part of the time.

There had to be a better way.

I first heard about kaizen, the Japanese word for “continuous improvement”, somewhere back in one of my college business courses. I later read it from a different perspective in Tony Robbin’s book Awaken the Giant Within.

Though it is arguably a philosophical word by definition, kaizen is often (as was the case during my class) applied in business situations, whether in management or manufacturing, to continually improve the way in which a business runs, and therefore the overall profitability of the entire operation.

Tony explains it further in his book:

“By the way, kaizen is based upon the principle of gradual improvement, simple improvements. But the Japanese understand that tiny refinements made daily begin to create compounded enhancements at a level that most people would never dream of.”

The same ideals can be applied to you.

The first rule is to learn how to slowly and incrementally stack your everyday habits, starting with the most important ones.

But wait a minute. Isn’t that what I just said was the foundation of the FlyLady system? Creating habits? Why, yes. Yes I did.

So what is the difference?

The difference is found within the word “improvement”.

When I reflected on all the reasons why my days would become derailed, most of which I had any real control over, I decided to improve some things first.

Shining my kitchen sink every day through the FlyLady system may be admirable, but if I was too exhausted to clean it, what was the point?

The first thing I did was identify the absolute MUST items that had to happen each and every day.

1.  I had to take care of myself.

  • I had to brush my teeth every day. At least twice.
  • I had to get dressed, even if it meant getting into a new set of pajamas.
  • I couldn’t ignore my health.

2.  I had to take care of everyone else.

  • In order to take care of everyone else, I had to take care of me first.
  • Remember rule #1.

I later discovered some other things I needed to do, but I focused on just that one rule first.

Here is what happened.

  • I wanted to give up in all the wrong ways when I looked at the big picture. It was too overwhelming. When I looked at a smaller picture, the one thing I could control and improve, I began to feel empowered.
  • Things got worse before they got better. But when they got better, they were incredibly better. I wished I hadn’t procrastinated and had just done it sooner.
  • Once I started working on ME, realizing that I had limiting beliefs stemming from my upbringing that made me feel selfish if I did anything for myself, I was able to do more and give more to those around me.

The first thing I did was create small habits and build off of them. BUT, those habits started with me. Not my house. Not my to-do list. Not my family. NOTHING but me.

From here on out, no matter what is on your ‘to-do’ list you created in Step #4, you will be working on first things first: YOU.

From there I will show you how I built off that one habit, stacked it with everything on the to-do list, and whittle away at each thing one by one. We’ll get into the limiting beliefs we carry as well, and start giving them up so we can all get to a better place in our lives.

So, are you new here? Thanks for joining me. :)  Are you following along since it started? Tell me in the comments below! While you are at it, be sure to check out the full series of topics of the Experiment or click the graphic below!


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EDOE Rule #2: Remember, it will get worse before it gets better

Before you get too far into the Extreme Do-Over Experiment, I need you to think about this:

You know how you step into a room in your house and find it is a total mess? Perhaps you made the mess. Perhaps other people did. Either way, it’s got to be cleaned and organized.

You decide to tackle it and get it back in order. What happens before the job is done? Most likely it gets messier in the course of pulling things out of their places to put them back in order again. The mess may also spill over into other rooms in order to put all that crap away where it belongs. You also need to identify the junk that just needs to be tossed out forever and put it in the trash where it belongs.

Your life is just like that messy house and all the rooms in it.

This process is very similar. You are going to be assessing your life here. It’s going to get messier for a few days, weeks or even months before all the pieces start coming together in an organized fashion. While you clean up one ‘room’ of your life, things may spill over into the other ‘rooms’ of your life.

Stick with this. Don’t get discouraged!

Right around Step #4, you’ll hit a brick wall. You’ll want to give up. You’ll get overwhelmed. I know I did.

But, I learned how to give up in all the right ways.

As long as you take your time and go at your own pace, you’ll get to a place where things start coming together. Naturally. Just remember, it will get worse before it gets better. But when it does, it will be the do-over you have been wishing for!

If you would like to see the full list of topics in this series, including the rules and steps, click here: Announcing the Extreme Do-Over Experiment!


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EDOE Rule #1: You have permission to give up

“Never, never, never give up.” ~Winston Churchill

I call bullshit, Sir Churchill.

Society has conditioned us to think we would be a failure if we gave up. Let’s look at what the dictionary tells us:

Definitions and examples of “give up

  • To surrender: The suspects gave themselves up.
  • To devote (oneself) completely: gave herself up to her work.
  • To cease to do or perform: gave up their search.
  • To desist from; stop: gave up smoking.
  • To part with; relinquish: gave up the apartment; gave up all hope.
  • To lose hope for: We had given the dog up as lost.
  • To lose hope of seeing: We’d given you up an hour ago.
  • To admit defeat.
  • To abandon what one is doing or planning to do: gave up on writing the novel.

Let’s look at it another way:

We all have to give up at some point or another, or we’ll go crazy or kill ourselves in the process of trying too hard. Whether it is giving up things, ideas, or ceasing forward movement on any action, it’s a necessary element of life.

Did you happen to notice that not everything on that list was a bad thing?

We have to give up bad habits at some point. We have to drop everything in our plans to accommodate the unexpected, more urgent issues. We have to give up bad ideas; things like..oh..that we have to be perfect at everything in order to be a success. You also have to give up in order to be devoted to any one thing completely.

Instead of giving up in a bad way, do this: Promise yourself you won’t stop trying. Take whatever break you need, but come back to your goals, desires and needs when the time is right.

This experiment did not work until I learned that it was okay to give up.

If I was having a bad day, I gave up my plans and made it better. I remained kind to myself, my well being, and those around me.

If I needed a nap but my to-do list was growing, I gave up the to-do list to focus on my self care. In turn I was twice as energized to work on my list after I had proper rest.

If I needed to give up some things in order to focus on other things, I gave those things up. Perhaps temporarily. Other times entirely.

If my husband (or kids, or anyone else) was having a bad day, I gladly gave up my plans to assure their day was as much of a success as possible. I didn’t give those plans up entirely; I just restructured them into another day instead.

If I felt inspired to write, I would write. I didn’t look at the to-do list because I had already built it into the structure of my day. I just moved everything else around it. In the end, I didn’t have to give anything up.

Go right ahead. You have full permission. Give up as much or as little as you want, as often as you want.

I initially gave up around step #4 in this experiment. I became overwhelmed. But, I didn’t give up trying. The irony is, once I started giving up in all the right places, the experiment became a success.

Once you are ready to move on in the experiment, I encourage you to read the full list of the series (to date), which can be found here. Take your time with this and go at your own pace. Give up if you need to, take as long as you need, but don’t stop trying.

…I hope to see you as successful as I have been!

 


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Extreme Do-Over Basics: What this experiment isn’t

Before we get too far into this experiment, I think it is important to let you know what this experiment isn’t.

What you can expect (or not expect) from the Extreme Do-Over Experiment series:

I needed a life management system that served as a blueprint to take back control of my life, but it needed to be a blueprint of my own creation. I didn’t want someone else to tell me what to do. My life is not the same as someone else’s life, nor was anyone else’s life just like mine. What I needed was a reliable process for finding my own solutions so I can share with others how they can do it too.

This experiment is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ system. It is shared so you can see the evolution of my process, for finding my own solutions, so others can do the same. It is not a 30-day program, or a top-10-things-you-need-to-do kind of program. It is a foundation for continued learning, is self-adjusting, and a collection of possibilities that can be toggled to fit whatever circumstances come along the way.

I needed to create a system for myself that was flexible enough to absorb all the little ‘oh-crap!’s of the day and still keep me on track.

This experiment will not have a fixed schedule. It will be based on routines and habits, where the chaos and unexpected can fit in without derailing the entire day. It will focus on the mental shifts we need to make so that any circumstance, any situation, can be dealt with in a focused and sustained way.

I needed a calmer, more gentle place in my life where I was free to do, or not do, my list of things to do. I needed to find a place in my life where all those nasty little “should’s” in my head would retreat into the background and not consume my thoughts. I needed permission to let life, especially the ‘creative’ parts of my life that I had given up on finding, could happen. Generically. With no schedule or sense of being forced.

This experiment will not create a sense of failure based on the number of things left on any to-do list. It will not dis-empower; rather, it will create empowering thoughts that create momentum to pursue my life on my terms, not someone else’s. Small accomplishments turn into bigger accomplishments. This is a snowball system of sorts. But in a good way.

Time is my most precious, and perishable, asset. Time is finite; it’s the one thing you can’t ever get back and it’s the great equalizer among us all. I felt like we all deserve to live with the absolute certainty that we’re getting the most from each moment.

This experiment will not facilitate or endorse any wasted time, money or energy creating systems that are better left on the cutting room floor. In other words, this experiment will not be used to spend all your time setting up systems with no time left over to use them. It’s not complicated. It is based on some kinds of systems, but they are simplistic ones.

This experiment is about creating my own happy ending.

What kind of story do you want to live?


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You may ask yourself, well, “How did I get here?” and “How do I get to a place called Anywhere but Here?”

You keep your head down and you hustle and hustle, and you wake up one day and wonder: How did I get here? ~Queen Latifah

We hustle and hustle…but sometimes we get lost in it and we wake up one day wondering, “How did I get here?” Or, we may ask ourselves, “How did 30+ years pass by so quickly since this completely relevant video was created?

 (RSS subscribers, click the link to see the Talking Heads video)

Spending time versus wasting time

We got here because we allowed ourselves to waste time instead of spending it.

I know I did.

This revelation is coming from someone who doesn’t get sucked into the boob tube very often. The first year we moved to Colorado, I could count on ONE hand how many hours I watched TV – for the entire year. I don’t watch soap operas. I flip the channel to NatGeo when reality TV comes on. I found it incredibly odd to spend any amount of time parked in front of an appliance that shows images of other people living fictional or dysfunctional lives when I could be living my own life instead.

I avoided mulling around the mall to ‘kill’ time and my budget. I never dreamed of overstructuring my children’s schedules and strip them of time to create, imagine and explore. I planned my grocery shopping so I went only once a month instead of every other day. I didn’t work outside the home any more, and hadn’t done so in years.

You would think with that approach I would have all the time in the world compared to everyone else, right?

Wrong.

I was wasting time, not saving it.

I wasted it in many ways. I would spend 20 minutes looking for a pencil sharpener (opting to use a pen instead), or a gift card (opting to pay with a credit card instead), or razor blade refills (opting to get only one leg shaved in the end).

On deadline-driven projects, I’d wait until the last minute to get it done, exhausting myself with an all-nighter that left me feeling like crap for two more days. I’d leave my house 15 minutes late for an appointment, run into traffic, then get to my destination so late that I had to reschedule.

I would spend every waking hour persevering over the ‘to-do’ lists in my head instead of being fully present to enjoy the moments playing out before me. I skipped sunsets because I was frantically trying to defrost meat for dinner, serving the meal so late that I was too tired to eat it. I was responding to emails with apologies for missing information, deadlines, or meetings.

I let my inbox dictate my focus, accumulating nore then 300 interruptions in a single 24-hour period. I would answer the phone without fail, regardless of what I was working on, leaving me to walk in a circle for 5 minutes saying, “Now what was I doing?.

When I just needed to dumb down and veg out (AKA escape) I would spend hours on Facebook reading 100% of everyone’s posts, getting only 2% of value in the end. By the time the article “13 Things Your Housecleaner Won’t Tell You” that I contributed to in Reader’s Digest went to print, my own house had gone to shit. I know how to clean house. I ran a successful business with well-trained employees and was a peer mentor to others in the industry. Yet, here I was…months later…and I couldn’t keep my own house clean.

All my good choices were negated by other bad choices.

Among all that chaos, I would remember how I wanted to spend my time. I wanted to read books at my leisure. I wanted to explore the new area we live in. I wanted to start a blog. I wanted to eat three meals a day, bathe regularly, pamper myself from time to time, and I wanted a decent night of sleep. I wanted to learn how to garden, learn photography, exercise on a regular basis and just have a friend over for an afternoon coffee break.

Then I felt like a failure for not getting around to that ‘someday’ in my head.

I wasn’t spending time doing anything of value. I was wasting time.

Period.

This is how I got here

Instead of spending an hour a day organizing my things and reducing my things, I would spend two hours a day in frustration and defeat trying to find them.

I procrastinated enough times that I was left with exhaustion and frustration, and spent twice as much time getting things done.

I allowed interruptions to get in the way. Between the thoughts that circled in my head on a constant basis, the emails dinging every time one appeared in my inbox, and the phone getting first priority, I literally had thousands of interruptions each and every day.

I lost my focus. I didn’t dream, plan, or do.

I spent more time apologizing instead of making sure things got done.

I argued with my husband for 30 minutes instead of taking 10 minutes to plan a date night out.

All that wonderful free time I created to let my children imagine, create and explore…was spent without me.

All those things negatively affected my finances, my patience, my relationships, my home, my self care, my health, my marriage, my ability to parent effectively, and my sanity.

Time went by quickly. I lost track of what time I was spending, and where. I forgot to invest my time in all the right things and avoid all the other things.

But I am fixing it

I started by being honest with myself. Instead of ruminating in the past or trying to escape my present, I started thinking about the future. I got in touch with how I feel about where my life is and where I am going.

But the most important thing I did was be honest with myself.

Do I look in the mirror and like what I am seeing? Do I look in the rear-view mirror and feel fear or become paralyzed over things that happened in the past? If I know what I want and can be honest about it, is it what I am actually doing? Do those two things even match up in any way?

Photo credit: Geek.com

Here’s how we all need to fix it (AKA your assignment for today):

It’s time to gear-up and slap yourself. To make the self-slappage easy, I’ve even made a list of question to ask — many of which I’ve been pondering as well.

  1. What is most important in my life? People, or things?
  2. What can I afford to lose?
  3. What will I gain instead?
  4. When I look at my schedule, who owns it — me or some hideous monster I’ve created?
  5. Is the time I’m taking to do everything IN my calendar worth the dollars I’m getting paid for it?
  6. Am I even getting paid for it?
  7. Am I really running a business? If so, am I running it like a business or a free clinic?
  8. With whom do I work that I’d like to work more?
  9. With whom do I work that I need to work less with/for?
  10. Is everything in motion with the right kind of motion — or is it just making me so fucking dizzy that I don’t know where to look when I stand up?
  11. What nonsense am I infusing into my brain each day with reality TV shows, soap operas, negative news stories, Facebook drivel or other such fluff that can be equally spent on things like relationships, dreams or income-producing activities?
  12. Am I doing what I love?
  13. Am I doing what I love for the right people?

These may seem like simple questions, but asking ourselves these things helps keep us from getting complacent. Questions like these keep us honest with the only person who matters: ourselves.

Before I tell you how to take the next steps I created in the Extreme Do-Over Experiment, you need to do this one thing:

Spend time asking yourself these questions. Don’t waste time by avoiding them.

This may take you only a few hours of reflection, or it may have to come to you over the course of weeks or months, but you have to be honest with yourself and ask these very simple questions.

Otherwise, if you don’t you’ll stay right where you are, and that’s not getting you to your final destination to Anywhere but Here.


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Extreme Do-Over Basics: {Step 2} Define the roles in your life

Each month in the Extreme Do-Over Experiment I’ll be sharing a special focus. The first month is about Taking Stock of our lives. The first few weeks of my shared experiment will cover the basics and foundation of making the Do-Over work.

On my last post I explained how I learned to identify the roles in my life. This was a very important step in getting my life back under control. If you are joining me in this journey, you should have your list of roles ready for the next step. But first, I have to tell you why this list even matters:

Newsflash! “Someday” isn’t a strategy that works very well

Problem: There were so many things I had to get done in a day, let alone find time to get around to all the things still forming on my ‘someday’ list’. I also couldn’t find a clear answer to the question “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Solution: In early 2012, I made a “to-do” list of all the things *OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD* that I knew I needed to catch up on. This did not include things like “change sheets” or “mop floor”, but rather…projects that I have fallen behind on. I stored all those things in my head each day for the last few months, thinking “I’ve got to get that done as soon as I have time”.

The list had 62 things to do on it.

Can you believe I spent every hour of every day stressing about these open loops of things to do, but never getting around to doing them? Talk about wasted energy, added stress, and a constant feeling of failure.

The list really woke me up to some harsh realities. Here was my final assessment of that massive to-do list:

  • Now, I dare anyone to walk around and function with 62 things they need to do floating around their head. Like I said, it did not include all the ‘regular’ things that had to be done…just extra things that had to be done. Putting it all on paper and on my calender really put into perspective how much information overload I have on any given day.
  • Another interesting fact: None of those 62 things were for my own benefit. Maybe residually I would benefit, but not directly to my own benefit. I am beginning to see a trend here…. No wonder I have high blood pressure and too much stress.
  • The sad reality: Every day I had these items nagging me, popping up in my brain at all times of the day (especially at night when I am trying to go to sleep!) and constantly reminding me of how far behind I get each day, which then leads to negative thinking about how much I must suck to let all these things go. After adding up the estimated time needed to get these things done (or at least started) and putting them on my calendar, just the ‘deadline-driven’ items means I have about 120 hours to come up with in the next three weeks.

The list created a new problem: I got overwhelmed and depressed when I realized there was no humanly way to get it all done. I got so stuck in where I should start that I became paralyzed. I could barely find time to get a shower or brush my teeth most of the time. How was I supposed to do anything else in my day, let alone find time for the things I wanted to do?

My natural reaction was to learn better ways to manage my time. You know, create a better schedule to get it all done.

My search for time management tips and tricks lead me to Amy Lynn Andrews book Tell Your Time.

In her book she touches on this issue of identifying our roles in preparation for learning how to manage our time wisely. As important as time management is, we are putting the cart before the horse if we don’t know where our time should be spent.

I had an “Ah-HAH!” moment, to say the least.

I was making excuses and didn’t even realize I was doing it. I DO have the time. We all have 24 hours in a day, no more, no less. Time is finite.

I repeat: I DO have time — if I make time for all the things that are important to me.

I also realized that even if I was the kind of person who stayed on top of my daily to-do lists (which I could do until a few years ago) or miraculously found myself bored in my day because my to-do list was finished, it still wasn’t getting me to where I wanted to be in life.

What I did to fix that problem:

I had to define my priorities by understanding what roles I wanted to have in life, THEN find a way to balance them so they got equal attention in my daily list of things to do.

Even though I had come to the conclusion that I needed to come up with 120 man (or, in this case, woman) hours to get everything done, I took a different route.

I sat down and DEFINED the roles that needed my attention in life. As much as it was nagging me, that to-do list had to wait.

I started with answering these questions:

“What do I want to do when I grow up? Where do I want my life to be now, or in the future?”

Here are the descriptions of each role that I came up with, some of which I borrowed from Amy Lynn’s list.

Role Description Goal
Self I am an individual with a mind, body, and soul, all of which need to be cared for. If my self is unhealthy, all of my other roles suffer. Putting myself at the top of the list is not an indication that what I want always comes first. To the contrary, I put myself at the top of the list so that I am well and strong enough to attend to my other roles without being distracted by the ailments that come with an unhealthy self.(Quoted from: Andrews, Amy Lynn (2011-07-27). Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free (Kindle Locations 300-302). Amy Lynn Andrews. Kindle Edition.)
Wife I am a wife. I am committed to marriage for life. My goal is to honor my husband’s dedication to his family as a provider, a leader, and an influencer of our roles within our family.  I want to spend the next 50+ years in a meaningful and connected relationship built on trust, effective communication, a nurturing spirit and a mutual friendship.
Mother I am the mother of three children.  I want to bring them up in such a way that they turn into responsible, independent, ethical, happy, capable and effective adults.  I choose to be a proactive parent than an reactive parent.  Time with my children is precious and should be cherished for the gift that it is.  My children have been stripped of many years of their childhood, and with what little time they have left in their age of innocence, I wish to provide them with memories that will sustain in their hearts and minds for their entire lives.
Caregiver I am the proud wife of a wounded warrior, who sacrificed so much in duty to his country.  I am dedicated to improving his quality of life, providing peace of mind, and making sure he knows his contributions mattered.
Dreamer I would love to travel more and share my views of the world in a broader scale.
Business Owner I am a business owner. This is good for my family’s budget, and the satisfaction it provides helps with my role of “Self.”
Advocate I want to empower those who are overwhelmed, educate those who are unaware, and inspire those who are indifferent.  I not only wish to impart a positive impact on my community, but I wish to impart a positive impact on the world, leaving a legacy of change that lingers long after I am gone. I wish to network into broader circles in the military blogger community.
Home Manager Being a stellar home manager is not something I’m dying to be remembered for. I am only interested in a tidy and smooth-running house as much as it contributes to a happy and pleasant home life for my family. This is one role I don’t particularly enjoy, however for our family at this time, I have chosen to be the point person for the home managing responsibilities. I include it on this list since it requires a fair amount of my time and energy.  (Quoted from: Andrews, Amy Lynn (2011-07-27). Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free (Kindle Locations 315-318). Amy Lynn Andrews. Kindle Edition.)
Author I want to successfully launch and publish a traditional book, starting with the Walter Reed Story and move on to multiple non-fiction topics.  I also want to learn how to self publish smaller (and profitable) e-books as a way to reach my audience in a timely fashion.
Home Owner I want to improve our living situation to provide respite, comfort, and solace in a retreat-like setting, so that we may open our doors to others to do the same. I want to aggressively pay off our mortgage through multiple income streams and build a stand-alone home that allows our existing living space to become guest housing that provides privacy for our family as well as our guests.
Blogger I want to use my blog as a tool and platform for my advocacy:  to inspire, educate and empower my readers through the use of wisdom, insight, experience with practical tips and tricks. My personal brand will be built on trust, transparency and humility.

Your assignment for today:

Step 1:  Take your list of roles that you identified in Day 1. Write a description of each of those roles. Use the above examples as your inspiration if you need to, but take your time to dream about where you want to be now, or 5 or 10 years from now. By doing this you are giving your life importance and meaning. Think of it as writing a business plan for your life. Your roles are now tangible when you put them on paper. It is your VISION STATEMENT.

Step 2:  Now write out up to three goals you would like to achieve within those roles. Each item must do one of three things: Simplify your life, Improve your life, or allow you to better Enjoy your life. This step is NOT something you will find anywhere in Amy’s book. I created and modified her advice because the levels of stress I was dealing with was going to kill me if I didn’t focus on fostering three positive elements in my life. Her advice works great for busy people, but I am more than just a busy person.

And so are you.

I did not share my entire list of goals here because mine will not be the same as yours. I just wanted you to see where I was going with the process. However, I will give you an example that I think we can all relate to:

Under my role of Home Manager, I listed these goals:

  1. Sort household goods and donate excess items. (This would simplify my life and improve someone else’s life)
  2. Develop and implement better schedules and routines: Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. (This would improve my life)
  3. Rework our budget. (This would help us have more funding to put toward more enjoyable things in life, or help us plan better for the future)

Once you are done, pat yourself on the back. Because…

Congratulations! You just wrote your life goals.

Now you have the foundation in which to proceed with an Extreme Do-Over of your life. It’s already working for mine!

In the next segment of the series, we’ll address what to do with that pesky to-do list. :)

 


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The basics: {Step 1} Identify the roles in your life

Each month in the Extreme Do-Over Experiment I’ll be sharing a special focus. The first month is about Taking Stock of our lives. The first few weeks of my shared experiment will cover the basics and foundation of making the Do-Over work.

I spent 8 months creating this method. I had a lot of false starts before I perfected a plan that not only worked for me, but will work for anyone who follows along.

Today I will cover Step ONE. This will take some serious thought, but I promise you’ll feel so much better after you get it down on paper. Take your time and let yourself mull things over. This is not a race, nor is it a quiz. It will be unique to you and your circumstances, and it will fuel everything you do from here on out.

[Read more...]


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The “Extreme Do-Over Experiment” Begins!

Today is the first day of the “Extreme Do-Over Experiment” series.

What is the Extreme Do-Over Experiment, you ask? I’ll explain:

One cold December morning in 2011, I woke up and realized that my life wasn’t going as planned, despite how hard I worked. I wished for this one thing:

Can I please have a do-over?

Does that sound familiar to you?

I think we’ve all thought that at some point in our lives. When we can’t take it any more, we take a good inventory of our life and ask, “What the world l happened to me? Is this what I want for the rest of my life? Why in the hell can’t I get ahead?”

That’s when we wish for a do-over. We want to fix it, make it better, see it through. We just want a second chance to make it right again.

And that’s exactly what I am doing.

The Extreme Do-Over Experiment is a memoir-based journey of self discovery and finding answers to problems in day-to-day life. Consider it a documentary of sorts: Each week I will share my experiments in practicing a better way to live my everyday life – filled with insight, humor, honesty and resources to help you do the same.

This journey, taken slowly, amounts to extreme changes over time. Never underestimate the power of small changes, one by one, stacked up over days, weeks and months. You may be surprised where you end up in a year.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” ~ Mark Twain

Please join me. You’ll be glad you did.

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
 into the world determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Mary Oliver

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Announcing: The Extreme Do-Over Experiment

Do you wish you were happier? Would you like to figure out ways to find contentment and control in your daily life?

Perhaps the duties of being a mom, wife or caregiver, or the stresses at work are consuming you. Or maybe you’re just not satisfied with the status quo and want to reclaim a passionate, purposeful life.

Are you looking for that second chance to do things right? Are you stuck in the midst of chaos and among issues you cannot control?

Happiness is more than a state of mind – it is a skill to be learned and practiced.

Like many of you, I wanted a second chance to do things right.

My wish for a ‘do-over’ included five main areas of my everyday life: Home, Health, Relationships, Finances and overall Quality of Life.

If you’re ready to focus on yourself and think about small changes you can make in your life, to boost your happiness and finally find balance and control, you can follow along in my journey called the Extreme Do-Over Experiment. The Extreme Do-Over Experiment  is my brainchild where I transform my own life bit by bit, day by day. Each day in this series I will address the key areas of my life that I wanted to change. Then I will share the journey of how I managed to change it, what I learned, and how you can do it too.

If you are ready to join me and get started, here’s what you will need to know:

The Extreme Do-Over Experiment begins!

The Basics: What this Experiment isn’t

Food for thought: How did I get here and how do I get to a place called Anywhere but Here?

First things first: Steps to create your own weekly planning retreat {I put this on my calendar and do it every Sunday}

10 tips to get you out of a crisis mode: how to infuse simplicity and self care on an emergency basis

Top 10 tips to do for when the going gets tough

If you are having a bad day, read this…

The Rules of the Experiment:

Rule #1: You have permission to give up {in all the right ways!}

Rule #2: Remember, it will get worse before it gets better {but when it gets better, it’s incredibly better!}

Rule #3: Stacking your habits so they stick {it’s easier than you think!}

Rule #4: Learn how to be flawesome {there is no right way, just your way}

Rule #5: Find your weapons of mass distraction {seriously easy tips here that will save you from tons of interruptions}

Rule #6: Add margin in your life

Rule #7: Take a tactical pause in your life

Taking Stock of Your Life:

The Basics: {Step 1} Identify the roles in your life

The Basics: {Step 2} Define the roles in your life

The Basics: {Step 3} The Big Brain Dump

The Basics: {Step 4} Getting your brain dump on file [with free worksheet]

The Basics: {Step 5} Create a calendar system that works for you

The Habits:

The basics of taking care of you

{DIY Project} Create a Do-it-Yourself Pampering Kit

Adding Margin: Getting better rest

Organize and pay attention to your health (with my “no diet or exercise” approach)

Helping others create habits and routines

Cut nagging time down to a minimum: Easy reminder system for those with memory problems

Staying organized

Prioritizing Your To-Do List: Getting the Right Things Done using 5 simple questions

How old is your oldest item on your to-do list?

The 2 most important things I do to keep my sanity each day

Challenges:

From piles to (almost) paperless: The Great Paper Purge

Introduction: Taming the paper monster

Step 1: Setting up your master filing system

From Piles to {Almost} Paperless: Next step – Rough sort your piles

Tying up loose ends

Menu Plans:

{Guest Post} January Meal Plan, Recipes and Shopping List (with free printables)

My “getting my schtuff together” diary:

2012

Reducing my distractions even more

Muddled Mind

2013

The excitement (and relief) of the New Year

About that meltdown I had on Facebook the other day

Guilty as charged

Starting where I stand

Taking a ‘time out’ from the chaos

Oh what a difference a year (or two) makes!

(more will be added as we go…check back often or subscribe to my RSS feed for updates!)


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Writing like no one is watching

I remember the exact moment it happened.

I had just wrapped up a week of intense learning at the Second Annual Twin Compass Writer’s Workshop. I was sitting under an Aspen tree in a camp chair, absorbing the crisp Colorado night. Gazing at the blazing stripe of the Milky Way in the southern sky, I was taking it all in. I laid my head back and said a quiet prayer of thanks while the breeze coaxed the trees to whisper in return. It felt like a dream to me, really. I couldn’t believe I was right there; at that moment, in that time, and in that place. I also couldn’t believe who I was with.

This person wasn’t just anyone. She was someone who came into my life only a year before, as if by providence. What she did for me from the moment I met her until that very night was nothing short of life changing for me.

Her name is Abigail Thomas, Abby for short. She is the most wonderful mentor anyone could ask for; not just for writing, but for life in general.

The words she shared with me right at that moment had a more profound effect on me than anything I had learned up until then. It sealed everything I knew about myself, or needed to know, but denied out of fear and insecurity.

She nailed it.

Summer 2011

I learned about the first Twin Compass workshop almost by accident. There was a small blurb in our once-a-week small-town newspaper about a writer’s workshop being held right here in the Wet Mountain Valley. It was hosted by Bar Scott, a musician and singer – now turned memoirist – who once lived in Woodstock, New York. She had recently transplanted to Westcliffe, Colorado. How serendipitous it was that she chose the very place I lived as her new home! It piqued my interest as I had worked closely with a screenwriter from the Woodstock region to write the screenplay of our movie. He encouraged me to write a book, nudging me with gentle reminders as we went along. He told me I was a good writer but I didn’t have the confidence to pull of such a major project. I needed to learn how to write in a way that would get me published.

I wanted to give the dignity and respect my husband had earned by telling, and writing, our story well.

I went to the website for the workshop to find the classes were full. Not only that, but there was no possible way I could afford such a luxury. Living on Dan’s disability income precluded me from having the funds for such a dream. I lit up with excitement when I found there would be free events open to the general public; namely, a public reading by the mentors holding the workshop and a reading by Bar Scott. I wanted to know more. I wanted to be there.

I read more about the two authors came in to teach at the workshop:  Abigail Thomas and Dorothy Allison.

Abigail’s book title “A Three Dog Life” lingered in my mind. I remember hearing about it, but couldn’t place the story. It was a book I had not yet read, nor had any plans to read. I had given up on my passion for reading by that point in my life. I didn’t have time, nor could I afford to feed that passion any more.

I went to Amazon and read the reviews. I saw that Stephen King reviewed her book as “The best memoir I have ever read. This book is a punch to the heart. Read it.”

I discovered it was a memoir about her journey in dealing with her husband’s traumatic brain injury after a tragic accident. I had yet to find a book that outlined the life I was living after Dan’s brain injury.

Damn. Now I am going to have to read it, I thought to myself.

Then I reviewed Bar’s book, The Present Giver. Her book also had good reviews. It was a love story, though one I wasn’t sure I could read. It was about her son, Forrest, and his battle with cancer. As a mother of three boys, I ached just reading about her loss.

Both were memoirs, just like I wanted to write. Both were about love and loss. Both touched my heart.

I decided I had to meet them – somehow I had to make that happen. Surely I could step away from the reality of my life for just a few hours, couldn’t I?

Meeting Bar, Dorothy and Abby

I slipped away from home the night of the public reading. I was nervous. I felt chagrined because I didn’t have anything ‘nice’ to wear to the event. My hair had 3 inches of gray roots offset by a ponytail of red hair. I looked out of place in public. I started to sweat as I made my way upstairs to the community room. I wondered if I had made a huge mistake. I had visions of my husband back home, in distress, and me not being there to help him. The last time I left him alone for an hour I came home to find him in an episode that held its grip on his mind for days.

I felt guilty for doing something entirely for my own benefit.

I hadn’t ventured out into our community very much since we had moved to our sleepy little town. I didn’t know anyone at the event. Luckily someone noticed me lingering on the fringe of the crowd and invited me to sit next to them. Marty, our town librarian, introduced herself. I began to feel more at ease. I pulled the cape I was wearing over my lap to hide the fact I was sweating under my five-year-old Wal-Mart outfit.

Then Bar’s sweet voice filled the room. She shared a few intimate moments of her book, and by the time she was done I was in love with Forrest. I felt at peace hearing her words. They didn’t make me cringe like I thought they would. My heart started filling up with emotions I didn’t realize I still had.

Dorothy shared parts of her book, and I was mesmerized by the powerful words she spoke. This was a woman who had overcome such great tragedies, too.

Then Abby spoke. I couldn’t take it any more. My eyes welled up as I listened to her story. It was like she could see right through me to know just what I was feeling as a caretaker to the love of my life, stricken with a mind that was no longer his. She made sense of the world that will never make sense. Her world became mine, and mine became hers.

Something changed in me that night. I bought copies of all their books, shyly standing to the side to ask if I may have their autographs. As I introduced myself to Abby, I could feel the sweat trickling down inside the layers I used to hide my insecurity.

I told her about the similarities of our stories, gushing with admiration like a starry-eyed school girl. She listened quietly, and the peace I found in her emanated through her words. She turned the conversation into her own admiration for me in my own journey. I didn’t expect that, nor was I seeking it. She connected with me in a way that I will never forget.

Her words to me, inscribed on the inside of my book read:

For Torrey

My hat is off to you. Wow. With great respect,

Abigail

I met Bar afterward, asking her about the possibility of another workshop in the future. I praised her reading, holding her book in my shaking, outstretched hand. She listened to me share my nervous babble about someday writing my/our own story but not knowing where to start. She said to me, “Start in the middle.” It was like a light bulb to think that I didn’t have to find a beginning or an end. I just had to write. I had to start somewhere.

Bar wrote in my copy of her book:

For Torrey,

Good luck with your journey. Write your book!

Bar Scott

I left that event with the commitment to not only write, but to actually read. I read both of their books that week and I was forever changed.

Here is my review of The Present Giver:

5.0 out of 5 stars
A gripping and profound love story like nothing you’ve ever read!,August 15, 2011
By Torrey (Colorado, USA) –
This review is from: The Present Giver (Paperback)

I had the honor of meeting Bar at the Twin Compass Writer’s Workshop ([...]) during her public reading. I had not yet read Bar’s book, but the moment I heard her reading excerpts of this powerful memoir, I knew I HAD to read it. Just one chapter had me overwhelmed with love for her son, Forrest, and absolute appreciation for the love she has for him. Once I started reading, I realized what a beautiful gift she (and Forrest) had given me in her words by telling their story. This book’s title is aptly named. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Bar is an articulate, descriptive, and talented writer who embodies motherhood with her tenderness and “in the moment” appreciation for everything life has to offer…even if life offers a bad hand of cards. Her genuine and inspiring way of finding the blessings that came on the heels of such tragedy is not often found in everyday life. She has captured the essence of the human spirit and given her readers renewed strength by reading this book.

This book is truly the best love story I’ve ever read, felt, or connected with. Forrest is a beautiful child, inside and out, on Earth and in Heaven. I was touched in profound ways and recommend this book to everyone, regardless of their preferred genre. While you know up front that the central character, Forrest, will not survive, it’s not a depressing book. Emotional, yes, but not depressing. It’s a perfect balance of humor, love, inspiration and appreciation for any reader!

Since then, I have read many more books. About one per week, in fact. I found my passion for reading again, this time feeding it fully.

Spring 2012

I had signed up for updates on the next workshop. The email announcing the dates excited me, but nothing excited me more than the fact that this year they would be offering two scholarships to the workshop. Knowing I still could not afford such a luxury, I had hope that I might be able to attend.

I procrastinated. I doubted myself. I waited until the last possible day to submit my scholarship entry. I had to submit a writing sample. I was paralyzed with fear. I finally wrote up three pages and submitted it close to midnight, the deadline. I instantly regretted hitting ‘send’, fully believing I had just made a total fool of myself. I held my breath until the winners would be announced.

Two weeks later I learned I won one of the scholarships. I couldn’t believe it. I truly could not believe it. Competition was tough, but somehow I made it through.

Summer 2012

I submitted the draft of the first chapter of my book, still thinking my writing was substandard at best. It was being reviewed by my mentor, Bar Scott, along with other students in her class. I had signed up for Bar’s class because hers was for beginners.

When I got copies of the other student’s writing pieces, I realized I was not among beginners. The writers I would be working with were good. Exceptionally good. I got nervous again, feeling like I was completely out of my league.

The first day of the workshop was surreal. I learned so much in just one day. Not just about writing, but about myself.

Bar had a sense of peace about her. Her gentle nudges to make me think, feel, and write with emotion were foreign to me. She taught me to do something I had never thought to do before: Find my truth.

We talked about letting go of our egos, citing Stephen King’s chapter in his memoir “On Writing” where he dreamed of having a massive desk in the center of his writing space, only to ditch it and write in the comfort of the corner, back to his original roots. We talked in depth about our ‘addiction’, the crack that keeps us from getting to the real work of writing. Mine was helping people, which has led to an avoidance of helping ourselves first. We talked about not defining ourselves by our mission; mine being massive take-ons of higher entities, that I was much simpler than the cause. I learned that suffering silently does not help others.

I talked about the obstacles I was facing in writing this book. For one, it’s a memoir, and by all accounts relies on memory. Our story is about the loss of memory, which has further faded over time. I am very protective of my husband and could not bear making him relive many of the events in this book, forcing him to conjure details he may not remember, or may not wish to remember.

Everyone said I should write it from my perspective only.

I hadn’t thought to do that, to be honest. This isn’t my book. It’s our book. Our story. Without his side of the story, his sacrifices, his battles, there would be no story.

I went back into my ‘analysis paralysis’ mode again, over thinking the process. I started questioning my abilities to write, and to write well. Bar, whose voice in and of itself was that of comfort and gentleness, said “Who cares if it is written well?”

Man, she’s good. It’s not about the final product. It’s about telling our story and finding our truth in the process.

By day 3, I was reading this piece to the group, a homework assignment that originated from Bar’s prompt to write about “Remnants left behind”. All I could think of was the life I had lived in dealing with my husband’s Post Traumatic Stress. It’s all I knew. It’s all I could write about. I spoke from a distance through my writing.

As I finished reading the piece out loud, I looked up to the group and felt the words come out of my mouth before I could filter them. I said, “I am so tired of writing about these things. I wish I could write about bunnies, or something that makes me feel good.”

Bar asked, “Why don’t you? Find your truth, Torrey. We want to know how you feel. What are you feeling? What are your emotions? Write about that.”

As if the invisible barrier I held onto no longer had the power to hold me back or keep me safe, I responded with “It’s all I know. It’s all anyone expects me to write about. I give a voice to those who can’t speak. I am expected to write these things.”

I sat silent for a few moments and thought hard. The walls were coming down. The students I admired so much sat quietly as I had my breakthrough moment.

I finally confessed, “It’s safer for me to write at arm’s length. I don’t know how to write about how I feel, but I know I need to.” I sighed and felt like my body could no longer hold my spine. I confessed, “This book will never happen until I learn how to do it.”

I wiped my tears, something I don’t show to anyone, and said, “Thank  you. I think I am finding my truth.”

As if by cue, my spine straightened up again.

My one-on-one with Bar

After my class critiqued my first chapter, I realized I really was on the right track with my writing. Yes, I have a lot to learn. Yes, I have learned a lot, but I am closer to my goal than I thought.

One student wrote on page 17, the last page of my first chapter: “There better be a page 18!”

Bar and I sat down together to discuss my writing in private.

She opened our session by saying, “I feel like you’ve been given so much clarity in the last couple of days, and you’ve received it.”

“Yes, my week has been filled with many ‘ah-hah!’ moments.”

“You have a good story and I don’t want to trespass too far in the critique of your writing. I don’t want to influence what you write because you write very well. If anything, a good editor can polish your work and still keep your writing intact. Don’t go back and fix anything. Keep the entire book in first draft.”

We talked quite a bit about the dynamics of the book, the publishing (and editing) process, and what pitfalls I need to look for in my approach to this book.

“I think you need to think about what you want from the book. You don’t have the energy to be fried out. My book took four years to write. I can’t imagine that you would have enough time in any given day, or in any given week, to get this done if you are only starting it the summer of 2012. You’ve been thinking about it forever.”

“That’s a frustration for me. There’s not a concentrated effort despite my desire to write it. I have to learn to pick my battles, delegate things. I have to address the critical parts, and need to learn to tell people ‘I don’t care what is important to you right now…this is important to me.’”

“You need to ask for it.”

My final takeaway: If I don’t make this book a matter of life or death, it won’t get written.

Abby

Although I was not in Abby’s class, I was thrilled to spend one-on-one time with her. She remembered me and was genuinely glad to see me at the workshop. She and I were the naughty ones in the group, sneaking off during break to smoke together. She had not yet ventured out to buy her own pack. She ‘borrowed’ mine and shared our time among a veil of smoke rising up to the blue skies.

“Torrey, I admire you so much. Girl, you knock my socks off. Hell, you knock my feet off!”

“Abby, it’s you that should be admired. I am so honored to be here.”

(We both take in a long puff off our cigarettes)

“Abby, I read that you take up smoking, then quit cold turkey. How do you do that?”

“It’s an addiction. I replace it with something else, that’s all. I paint. I write. I knit. I just replace smoking with something else. Then when I get the urge again because something is missing, I go back to it.”

(We both take another long puff off our cigarettes. I note she is putting the lighter I offered into her purse)

“Oh, man. You just stole Dan’s lighter. You better not get caught stealing it or he’ll have your hide.” I lean in and whisper as if sharing a secret. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell him. Just know that any black lighter is considered HIS lighter. Trust me, he catches me with his lighters all the time.”

I told her the story behind Dan’s black lighters. She gets it. She knows why he needs predictability in his life. We compare notes about living life with someone who has a brain injury. We connect beyond that of my pack of Marlboro cigarettes.

The necklace didn’t stand a chance of staying on display

Later that week she and I took a trip to Main Street and I gave her a tour. We sat on the Amish furniture outside Enos Yoder’s shop. We talked about life, about writing, about being mothers. She bought red earrings from a shop that makes handmade jewelry, noting there was a “Made in the Philippines” tag on it. She bought me a beautiful turquoise beaded bracelet to thank me for letting her “borrow” so many cigarettes all week. She bought a one-of-a-kind necklace from another shop for her daughter, noting that her daughter may have to borrow it after she gets home. She loved the jewelry and loved the quaint-ness of our little turn-of-the-century mining town.

Westcliffe felt alive to me. The streets opened up to take her in as the gift that she was.

I felt like the heavens granted me the greatest gifts of all: Abby, Bar, an awakening of my soul and a new lease on my outlook in life.

Later that night we had the public reading, just like the year before, except this time I was in the company of Dan. I proudly brought him over to Abby to introduce  her to him. She reached into her purse and waved his black lighter in front of him and said, “I’ve got your lighter, and I am keeping it!” The twinkle in her eye and the laughter that we shared was priceless.

Abby’s words

Abby sat next to me that night under the stars. She told me once again how impressed she was of me and told me to write the story.

“Abby, I’ve put off the story for so long out of fear. I was afraid to open wounds that my husband had worked so hard to keep inside. I was afraid to open wounds that are still left inside of me.”

She told me that the trick to her writing was using the ‘side door’. Her dogs. That was the only way she could talk about the painful parts. She told me about the hardest part of her book, the chapter titled Guilt.

Her final words to me were these: “Write the book as though Dan will never read it. Then make sure to write a chapter on guilt.”

She knew. She absolutely knew. Even if I didn’t want to admit it.

Guilt was holding me back, and I was too afraid to let others see it.

She hugged me, then disappeared quietly into the darkness of the night.

 

 

_______________(to be continued)______________________


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Fixing my problems with a big dose of humility

“The best time to kill a monster is while it is still little.”

 

I’ve created a monster. This monster is an insidious little bastard. I was feeding it and didn’t even realize it was there in the first place.

Something has to change.

I catch myself screwing things up way too often. The main ‘thing’ I screw up is me. It’s time I take a good, long, hard look at myself and get it corrected.

The honest truth is, I’ve been trying to fix it for about a year. This level of self evaluation isn’t new.

Unfortunately, my attempts were reactive, not proactive. Therein lies the difference.

I’ve always been the kind of person who tries to improve on a consistent basis, but this past year has been a dedicated and focused effort because it ended up being one of the hardest years of my life. There is a huge teetering stack of self-improvement books on my nightstand and a big puddle of me still dripping with tears – and determination – on the hardwood floor.

The good news is: I think I’ve come to a place where I can say I’ve started figuring it out and can actually DO something about it.

The only way I could fix the problem of “me” was to insert a big-ass dose of humility in my life. That’s where you, all you wonderful readers, come in. You get to hear my confessions, one by one, as I go through each of them in the upcoming weeks on this blog. I am about to prostrate myself in front of thousands of you at a time.

That’s a terrifying concept, but necessary.

What got me to this point?

I lost my identity in very big ways. I succumbed to my upbringing where I keep things hidden, never revealing what is really festering underneath. I lost my congruency. I became disillusioned and jaded about people in my life, allowing the toxicity to come in and take over too easily. I had conversations with myself that started with “If I could only…” and ended with “…but (X, Y, Z) prevents me from making that happen.”

I let urgent things get in the way of important things. I didn’t give myself the same kind of faith that I put in others. I settled for ‘good enough’ instead of aiming for better. I let other people’s agendas dictate the quality and quantity of my day. I got complacent.

I gave up on my own dreams, desires, wishes and needs. I didn’t nurture my own well being because I was busy taking care of everyone else.

I was slowly withering away as a person: wife, mother, friend, woman….all the roles I played in my life were suffering greatly.

I was scattered, spent, chewed up and spit out.

It boiled down to one overarching theme: The strongest force of personality I own is the drive to preserve the integrity of my own identity.

As a result of Dan’s injuries and the chaos of the life that followed, I lost sight of who I am, what I stand for and where I want to be.

I didn’t lose it completely, mind you. I just woke up one day and said to myself, “What the hell happened to me? Where did ‘me’ go?”

Does that sound familiar?

Over the next few days, and continuing on as we go, I am going to discuss the self realizations I’ve made about where I am in my life, what happened that woke me up to the reality, and what I did about it to get it fixed. Here’s the caveat: I am still working on each of these things, and that’s where you can see the process play out in real time. Join me if you can. I am guessing that each of us has room for improvement.

Change requires more than just establishing the knowledge that you should change. It’s knowing at the deepest emotional and most basic sensory level that you must change.

That little monster doesn’t stand a chance.

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