Archive for August 2010
In my last entry (which was approximately forever and seven days ago) I mentioned that I was working on creating new habits. The difficult thing about trying to create new habits is that you often have to get rid of the old habits, which can be easier said than done. That being said, I feel like I have made quite a bit of progress in adding the habit of saying thank you for the little things that happen in my life. I’m still working on turning the negative things around and remembering to find things to be grateful for within life’s more challenging moments, but overall I have been making a concerted effort to stop, take a quick breath and reframe things, but I’m definitely not perfect. Which (not coincidentally) leads me into my thought for the evening. Perfectionism is probably my single largest stumbling block to getting anything done. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started to do something and found myself so caught up in minute details that I’ve been completely unable to finish whatever project I started simply because I couldn’t do it “right.”
It’s this all or nothing attitude that has kept me from things like working on Elijah’s scrapbook, or for that matter the scrapbook I started years ago with all of our family pictures. I have at least eight unfinished drafts of books stored on various disks that I probably couldn’t even find if I wanted to. I come up with and discard ideas for businesses the way most people think of things to cook for dinner. And it’s not just the big things in life that perfectionism gets in the way of. Little things like exercise and cleaning get shoved to the wayside because I don’t have enough time or enough energy or enough cleaning supplies or enough equipment or enough whatever to accomplish the task. Well I’ve recently decided that I’ve had enough of not having enough. The only reason I’ve felt like I don’t have enough is because I look at how all the smaller details add up to create a whole picture and get so bogged down with those details that I am completely overwhelmed. Sure perhaps I don’t have enough time to clean my entire house from top to bottom in one day. But I do have enough time to clear off my coffee table. And even if that’s the only thing I accomplish for the day, it’s still an accomplishment and I have been trying to learn to let that be enough.
There is a website (www.flylady.net) which I have had bookmarked for at least five years. I would occasionally look at the website and think “what a smart idea, I should try this” but of course I would put it off to another day and then forget about it. One of my friends on facebook posted something about it a few months ago and that made me go look it up again and this time, for whatever reason, I actually read the website. It was like everything on there was written specifically for me. As if someone looked into my mind and then created a website that said exactly what I needed to hear. Flylady instructs you to let go of your perfectionism, to take things in small increments and build on those baby steps.
I cannot recommend this website highly enough. Truly, it’s a phenomenal program. My house has never looked better. Honestly every time I look around it feels a bit like I have a maid who sneaks in and cleans when I’m not looking. I know that I’m the one doing it, but everything is broken up into such small portions that I don’t really notice that I’m cleaning as I go through the day. The creation of routines and little habits makes me feel in control and creates a rhythm and stability to my day that just makes my little control freak soul sing. 🙂 I’m still not following everything 100%. Some of the routines have been significantly harder for me to adopt than others. In particular the habit of immediately getting completely dressed first thing in the morning is something I’ve been very slow to adopt. On the days I actually do it I always feel like I have more energy and like I accomplish a lot more, but frankly I happen to love my pj’s and it’s difficult to convince myself to take the time to switch out of them on days when I don’t have a reason to. But that’s the beauty of the whole system. You do not have to be perfect. Even if you aren’t doing everything perfectly, you’re still doing something. So overall I guess you could say that my life is a work in progress. It’s not perfect, and for once I’m okay with that.