Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Stop List
Okay, I'll admit it's been said that I kinda like being different. Swimming upstream, against the current, going against the flow. What can I say? Sometimes the view is much, much better from upstream.
Going against the flow is a good way to get a fresh perspective. Take the famous and much talked about T0-Do list. I love my to-do lists. I love crossing things off and building energy through the day. But there are times when a to-do list makes you crazy. Am I right?
On those days, I like to make a 'don't do' list. Instead of all the things I want to do, I list all the things I can quit doing without pain. Instead of write novel like my to-do list says, the quit list says stop watching TV at night. (What am I going to do with that time, I wonder?) Instead of clean house, the stop list says ignore the laundry today which often means I will get to my sewing machine or out into the garden. Not a hard choice at all.
After a day or two of stop action, my brain is ready to tackle something more interesting, so we pick up the to-do list and try again.
Or you can do an 'add-on' list. Go about your regular business, but add a couple of things to your life.
For example, starting a body edit? (Ever noticed that edit and diet have the same letters? I prefer to edit rather than diet. It sounds more precise and controllable. Editing to my writer's mind is still a creative process.) A friend of mine said she wanted to lose weight, but didn't feel she could cut out sweets cold turkey. I suggested the 'add-on' list. Instead of cutting out anything from her regular eating, she could add eight glasses of water a day. Then in a week, she could add six or eight servings of fruit and veggies to her days. Eventually, she will be so full of good, healthy food that she can't eat those sticky desserts or trashy snacks. She will have filled her eating with healthier choices. Leaving the unhealthy choices behind is easier at that point.
Middle January is when real life settles hard on your goals list. If you dream of accomplishing something significant, don't let the ides of January squish that dream. Keep looking for ways to rearrange or move around your schedule to fit the necessary time into your life. Look at your schedule from upside down, sideways, and backwards.
Keep pushing forward through the crowd going the other way. It is worth the effort.