Today it has become aware to me that I am moving in fast forward. I am so eager to finish, to make progress, to get things done that I am not listening to my inner voice and to what would bring me joy. To do this requires only some small simple steps. But I am chasing that external satisfaction that comes from a task completed, scratching an item off of my “to do,” list.
I am also procrastinating the simple tasks that do not bring me as much joy or satisfaction. I am delaying the simple choices that would bring me the most peace. I am putting off RSVP’ing to events and clicking send on a grocery order. I am creating an environment that produces more stress in my own life and i don’t want to do that anymore. Not that I will never do this again, but I can make it better today, for now. Here’s what that looks like for me:
- Take a deep breath. This sounds simple but so often I rush through the day and forget to take a moment to breathe. I get distracted and caught up in my phone, emails, or tasks and instead of following one task to completion I find myself doing a little bit of a lot of things and not finishing any of them. Therefore, my first move is not to complete any of these things but to breathe deep and still myself so that I can decide what to do first.
- Find the low hanging fruit. What items on my list are easiest to accomplish? What is there that I can complete right now. Some items are as simple as moving a pile of documents from where they are sitting – on my dresser, to where they belong, stowed with the sentimental memory boxes I have across the room waiting to be organized. It’s a lot easier to organize when everything is in one place. These are small victories but they set the right tone and get my momentum moving in the right direction. It’s easier to snowball one victory into another when I’m not overwhelmed by too many major tasks and can just resolve one quick thing at a time.
- Let go of perfectionism. There’s going to be things I miss or foods I intended to purchase that just get skipped on the grocery list. These things happen, even when I meal plan and that’s ok. Right now I’m transforming our family diet and routines. We’re coming up on a new school year and I want to make more balanced and healthful choices for our family. This includes shifting the way we eat and the foods we consume. This is not easy as it involves tracking down new recipes and trying new cooking methods. It’s tricky, but it’s not impossible. And my first step needs to be to let go of my expectations of being a professional vegan chef on my first try, and instead remember that incremental change is still change and shifting our family in the right direction.
- Celebrate what you have already accomplished. This final one often gets steamrolled by the urgency to do more or the feeling that I didn’t accomplish enough today. That feeling of too little time, too much to do, pushes the goal post further back the moment I reach it. Doing this only leads to feeling more depleted and drained. Taking a moment, an evening, a week – whatever it is that you need to feel celebrated and proud of yourself for how far you have come is a worthy investment.
Letting go of scoring ourselves or rating our performance by the imaginary yard stick of perfectionism or worse yet, imagined competitions between ourselves and what someone else posts online, is not only unreasonable but it is also hurtful. We’re hurting our selves. Celebrate what you did today – you showed up, you did your best, and that is enough. That is exactly all anyone can expect of you! Look around at all you have and at all you’ve done already – isn’t that a reason to celebrate?
I like to think back on the me of a year ago, or read a journal entry from this time last year and see what my priorities were at that time. How far we’ve come in a single year! How magnificent all that we have done in a single day! That is cause for celebration!