Change in Mindset, Time for a Reset

Friday, April 29, 2011

As I've posted earlier, April has been a SUCKY month. Illnesses, things going wrong, life beating me down... I'm tired of it. So, I'm trying to go into May with a positive outlook and a new plan for things. It helps that it's a beautiful day here in Nashville and the sun always helps make things a bit better.

I'm a firm believer that you're more likely to do something if you have it written down than if you just have it in the back of your mind. I've gone on hiatus on my blog, as well as on Swap-Bot, with the hopes that if I take those two things off the table as requirements, I'll be able to focus the month on some of my other goals. Right now, I have several swaps that need to be finished up and go out, but I'm not joining any more for awhile until they are finished. And my blog... I was trying so hard to post things daily, keep up with various memes and the like that it started being a chore and stopped being fun. So it goes to the back burner.

I'd considered going on hiatus from here, but I think that SP is a place that I need to be. I'm the type of person who does better with support from a community, and I've got a few teams that I'm semi-active on. I'm hoping that it will help spur me toward the things that I need to do to make myself healthier and happier. (The fact that SP has all the tools that I need to work toward that goal is a given.)

But one of the things that I am going to do is cut down on the number of teams that I'm on. I look at my Other Goals page and it's overwhelming, because I join every goal on every team. And while there are several that overlap, there's still enough that it makes me shudder at the thought of trying to do it all. So I need to take a look at the teams I'm on, seriously consider if it's a team that I can see myself interacting with and make my decisions from there. And just because I drop from a team doesn't mean that I can't still incorporate some of the goals that strike me as something I want to strive for into my personal goals. Any Team Leaders reading this, please understand that it's not that I don't like your team or don't think it's a great one. I'm just trying to even things out for myself a bit.

One of our big problems, as a family, is eating out. I hate cooking, my husband has been working more, and we all enjoy good food prepared by someone else. So it's easier to hop in the car and head to Shoneys (where, if I can brag for a moment, I've been ignoring the buffet in favor of the shrimp stir fry with the salad bar). It's cutting into both our money AND our health. So I've declared that the month of May will be Eat at Home month. If we know we have a busy day planned where we're not going to be able to get home for a meal (and that happens often on the weekends), we're going to pack a picnic lunch. Even if it's an ugly day, there are places we can bring out lunches into to eat rather than grabbing food out. It's going to be tough, quitting cold turkey like that. But my hope is it will become habit to eat at home or plan our meals better by the end of the month, so it won't be our first thought after that.

We're also trying to work a bit on our finances. Eating out has, as I said above, contributed to a lot of our outgoing cash flow. I'm hoping to cut that out. But I'm also hoping to cut out a lot of the frivolous buying that I have a tendency to do. I choose Wal-Mart to shop at instead of Kroger because I want to look for other things that I may need. So my plan is to buy Kroger gift cards for grocery shopping. This will give us a set limit to spend for food within the month and make it much easier to pay attention to what is being put in our grocery cart. Knowing that you only have X amount of dollars for the month helps with the impulse buys.

My home is still a disaster when it comes to cleanliness and organization. It's some of what pushes me toward my negative mood. I don't even want to open the blinds because I'm afraid of neighbors seeing the mess. To help myself emotionally, I need to work on keeping the house in better shape, and find an organizing system that I can have work for me. The organizing system make take a bit longer to figure out, adapt and adjust, but keeping the house neater... that should be a lot easier. I'm making a chore list for all 4 of us in the house - even 2 year old Pete. And we all need to be responsible and take care of those chores on a daily basis. Because I'm getting resentful when I have to pick up the slack of because the rest of my family doesn't see the need. I'm thinking that a dry erase board with the daily chores, hung somewhere we all can see it, will help with that. I've already told Rich and Teddy about it and they've agreed to try to help.

When it comes to conquering the clutter and mess right now, I'm trying for baby steps. I'm going to put one chore on my To Do list daily - just one. Because I know that when I put more than that on my list, I get overwhelmed and feel like I'm a failure for not getting it all done. Right now, I'm looking at my apartment and seeing a backload of laundry that needs to be washed and folded. I'm seeing bits of Easter Grass scattered over the floor. I'm seeing toys overflowing bins. And taken as a whole, it's too much. Too much clutter, too much mess, too much to do and too little time to do it. But if, for example, I have laundry folding scheduled for today and cleaning the bits and bobs from the floor scheduled for tomorrow, I can look at the things on the floor that are bothering me and say, "I don't have to touch you today. You're scheduled for tomorrow." I'm hoping it will ease some of the anxiety.

Most importantly, I'm going to sit down every Saturday night (and with Sunday being the first of May, this coincides nicely) and write out my schedule for the week. And I'm going to schedule everything - the time I'm going to do the cleaning, the time I'm going to be online, the time I'm going to finish up crafts, the time I'm taking for exercise, the time I'm taking for "me" time. Because if I don't schedule it, it makes it so much easier to push it off until later. "Well, I said I'd fold laundry some time today, but let me check my e-mail first. Damn, where did the last six hours go? Time to put the boys to bed." As much as I enjoy being online, it's becoming a detriment to my self-esteem, because it's keeping me from doing other things that I need to do, which makes me feel like a failure.

The last thing that I'm going to do is start a paper journal. Every night before I go to bed, I'm going to write in it. And I'm going to try to go into it with the mindset that it doesn't need to be a "this was my day" journal. It's going to be for whatever's on my mind - introspection about how my goals are going, thoughts about the kids, poetry or story ideas. When I tell myself I need to write X,Y and Z, it makes it so much more difficult when I don't feel like writing about X, Y and Z. So, I'm trying to give myself freedom within specific parameters. I'm hoping that it will work.

Later today, I'm going to sit down and write up a rough draft of our chore list. I'm going to buy a dry erase board that can be turned into a board for weekly chores. I'm going to sit down with Rich, Teddy and Pete after we get home from dropping my Dad's car back at his place and go over the chore list with them, making any additions and subtractions that we might need to make so everyone has a say in what needs to be done, when and by whom.

I know that there's going to be some whining in the beginning - mostly by the boys, but I'm sure some by Rich and I as well. This is a huge change that we all need to make in our daily lives. But it's important and I think it will make all of us happier in the long run. Because I'm tired of the yelling and screaming, the feelings of failure, the need for so much "comfort" food that doesn't give me any comfort when I'm on the scales. I know that every day isn't going to be perfect - I've been living with depression for too long to delude myself that way. But I know that I'll never get where I want to be, and where I want to be is started on the path. And for all that baby steps are well and good, sometimes you have to jump in with both feet, and, if you fall, remind yourself that it's not a failure. It's just a bump in the road.

I know that I'm going to get support here. Not only from the friends that I've made, but from those I haven't met yet. We Sparkers all have one thing in common - we all want to live a healthier lifestyle. And I haven't met anyone who hasn't been supportive yet. It's one of the reasons why I'm hoping to continue talking about this overall change journey here. Not only will my dry erase board be my accountability, but knowing that there are people supporting me, wanting to hear how I'm doing on this journey, makes it a lot easier to keep it in mind. Thank you, all of your, for just being here and listenin.... well, not really listening, I guess. More like reading and giving me the boosts I need when I need it. I'm very glad to have found SP.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You can do this! I found that a schedule helps a ton! Try a weekly menu for breakfast lunch and dinner for your family, buy everything to make what you have on the menu, and then relax until the next week. Have your kids come up with some of the menu choices (less for mom to do!)
    I love my chore chart because if I don't have a chore scheduled for the day, I don't have to do it! I find that very freeing! I work really hard on the chores I do have for the day and then it is clean until the next week.

    Be nice to yourself! You are worth it!

    2882 days ago
    Wow, your blog has just completely replicated my feelings and what seems to be going on in my life. I read some where to take 15 minutes and attack an area of your home that is bothering you. When that 15 minutes is up then walk away and do something else. That is what I am trying to do. Good luck with your family helping out. I am going to try something similar with my family again. Hope it works
    2882 days ago
    emoticon Best wishes! A friend of mine loves this online community dealing with when housework and life get overwhelming:
    2882 days ago
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