[Written a couple of days ago]
I make a schedule or a list of things to do. Depending on the unpredictability of my day and my mental or physical energy level, I have varying degrees of success completing activities I had every intention of doing.
This morning, I listened to my “First Things First” CD for the fourth time. This is what I heard, “What are the three or four things that are most important to you?” I stopped to actually think about the question this time. I surprised myself when I couldn’t answer the question easily. After several minutes of contemplation I came up with five things that are very important to me, including my health. Then, I paraphrase, “Are you spending the time needed to achieve the desired results for each item of importance?” Why, no, I’m not. And I always seem overly busy, too. Also, I feel like I constantly have to do some things I’d rather not and find that I face a lot of internal resistance, like I’m forcing myself to take some nasty medicine for my own good. How fun is that?
I hear, “You lead people; you manage things. How are you leading your life?” I’m not, really. I guess I’ve always tried to manage my life, but managing the tasks doesn’t seem to get me to where I’d like to go, perhaps partly or wholly because I don’t know where I’m going. Next (paraphrased), “The four human needs are to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy. To live is to eat, sleep, have food on the table and clothes in the closet. This is basically the necessities of life. To love is relationships, including family and friends [and I’m going to include pets]. To learn is to improve skills, increase knowledge, think creatively, come up with solutions to problems, plan for the future, etc. To leave a legacy is to have meaning or purpose in life and includes the spiritual aspects of life.”
I think I’m starting to get this. If I focus on what is important, then plan each day to regularly make progress in or spend time with each thing of importance, then I will be filling my days with means to an end, and not just an endless list of tasks to be accomplished. If I focus on why I am doing each task, then I will likely want to do it, because it helps me to do what I need to do to achieve the desired results for each item of importance.
Then, specifically, there is my health and fitness…when I walk to work, I’m not just getting to work; I’m exercising my muscles and my cardiovascular system, which is a way for me to show myself that I respect and care about myself. It is self-love. So is getting to bed at a reasonable hour so that I can feel rested when I wake up each morning. So is planning for physical activities and healthful meals. So is being mentally gentle to myself by not being overly critical or negative (i.e., you shouldn’t have done that, you can’t do that, you didn’t do that very well).
Through December (starting after Thanksgiving really) I started falling back into my old, bad habits. But it's a new year now. This week I am doing a lot of thinking and life re-evaluation. I have started to fill my schedule with tasks and goals that support my desired outcomes in relation to my things of importance. For example:
(1) go to bed at a reasonable hour each night (10:30pm is my goal),
(2) get up earlier (and well-rested, see above) to have time to exercise before work,
(3) brush my cats' coats more often,
(4) reduce "treats" with my afternoon coffee and reduce sugar intake in general (this is extremely hard to do, but I know that I feel much better when I don't OD on sugar), and
(5) get evening grazing back under control by drinking more decaf tea and keeping my hands busy crocheting.
There's so much more that I want to do, especially feeling the renewed enthusiams, but I know I don't want to overdo it and become discouraged. Also, what I'm focusing on are challenging (if they weren't I'd already bo doing them!), so I want to focus my energy and those that are most important right now. So my plan is that once I've gotten to the habit stage, I'll add others. I know this is not going to be easy, but it is important to me. This may be a life-long journey, but I'm worth it.