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Baby Steps Lane

Monday, August 20, 2012

On my journey to the Continent of Contentment, I have currently just left Procrasti-Nation and am setting out on Baby Steps Lane.

At this point in my journey I need to take stock of what I'm taking with me and what "baggage" I am leaving behind. I also need to check on what roadblocks I will find on my way to my new home and how to deal with them.

Packing List:

1. Enthusiasm - to keep me going
2. Optimism - to keep my spirits up
3. Routines - to help me FLY (remember, routines do not confine you, they FREE you!)
4. Courage - to face the tough times and the roadblocks
5. Love - for myself and others
6. Forgiveness - for the past
7. Hope - for the future
8. Can-do attitude - to get me started
9. Just do it motto - to not put things off
10. "Get'er done THEN have some fun" mantra
11. Patience - to pace myself and not stress over not doing "enough"
12. Acceptance - to know when to stop and when it is "good enough"
13. Trust - in my own abilities
14. A timer - a tool for using baby steps
15. Running shoes and my gym bag - to help me keep stress at bay
16. Self-confidence

Toss-it List:

1. Fear
2. Anxiety
3. Guilt
4. Excuses
5. Blame
6. Ostrich-like Behavior
7. Laziness
8. Self-hate
9. Punishment
10. Self-induced isolation
11. "I'll do it/start tomorrow"
12. Perfectionism
13. Worry
14. Justifying myself to myself
15. Pity parties
16. Drama
17. Self-destructive behaviors
18. Whining
19. Distractions
20. Television remote
21. Apocalyptic thinking
22. Putting myself down
23. Stress
24. Anger
25. Frustration
26. Suspicion
27. Self-doubt

Now that I have decided what tools I need on this journey, and I have done a 27-Fling Boogie (thanks FlyLady) of all of the STUFF that I don't need, I am ready to tackle the first leg of my journey using baby steps, just like I am using baby steps on my home to rid it of clutter and my body as well.

What is this mental clutter, these roadblocks that I keep stumbling upon? How do they impede me from progressing and discovering who I am? They are the unfinished projects, unkept promises and overdue tasks that haunt me day and night. Because of my guilt, fear and worry about them, I don't feel like I "deserve" to see friends, or go out with DH or even leave my house. I am tired of being trapped by my own emotions!!! I am done, finished, finito, over it!

My mental clutter list, AKA what is keeping me tied down in Procrasti-Nation

1. Back taxes from US (I have to file but not pay)
2. Finding out about applying for dual citizenship
3. Finishing the mid-term report for the foundation sponsoring my research
4. Completing the Bilingual Program project document for my old school
5. Preparing curriculum for my new school.
6. Important house decisions (stairs, bathroom tile, garage door . . .)
7. Finishing my PhD thesis.
8. Applying for a part-time position as an adjunct professor at UNICAN

Now, as I write this, I am keeping in mind that these roadblocks are a part of life, and I will have to deal with these situations for the rest of my life. Daily, weekly, or monthly, these issues will come up, which means that they in themselves are not the mental clutter. The mental clutter is REALLY more about my emotions and how I deal with these situations. The mental clutter is that long list of things I'm flinging - feelings, habits and attitudes that I am working to eliminate from my mind and life.

In order to progress I know that I need to take a turn at Do-It-Now Street. If I want to get to the Get'er Done Highway, and head toward the Continent of Contentment I must change my attitudes and my approach to dealing with the obstacles. I have to create a plan. An Action Plan. A plan that will serve as my routine way of dealing with tasks that currently freak me out and make me run around in circles like a headless chicken screaming (the decapitated head over there on the floor) "I can't do it! Poor Me! It's not my fault!! It won't be Perrrrrfeccccttttt!!!!"

Baby steps. Take a deep breath and baby steps. Just like decluttering a house and losing weight, most of these tasks cannot be accomplished in a day or a week.

Road-block mental blessing strategy:

1. Size up the situation (Acceptance, Courage)
Realistically evaluate the road-block. Address why it is freaking you out and acknowledge those feelings without letting them take over.
2. Visualize the outcome (Enthusiasm, Optimism, Courage, Hope)
Imagine how you will feel when you overcome this challenge. Write down the positive consequences it will have. DO NOT DWELL ON WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DON'T DO IT/DO IT IMPERFECTLY/FAIL. Just focus on the positive - the results of having it done.
3. Break the task down (Patience, Trust, Optimism)
Create smaller steps. Chop tasks into 15-30 minute segments. Create a reward system. 30 minutes of a roadblock = 10 minutes online.
4. Create routines (Patience, Routines)
Routines free us from worry. Make it EASY to face your roadblocks by preparing for them in advance. Add the babysteps into the routine and stick to it!
5. Record your progress (Love, Forgiveness, Confidence)
Hang up an Anti-Procrastination Calendar and record progress, no matter how small (even 15 minutes!!!) on the calendar.
6. Remind yourself of your goal (enthusiasm, optimism)
Remember to visualize the desired outcome and think frequently about how you will feel when you finish the task. Focus on that rather than any negative thoughts stemming from the issue. Neutralize the guilt with optimism, hope and enthusiasm. Remember how proud you are going to be when you knock that thing off your list.
7. Pick up where you left off (Forgiveness)
Don't try and catch up. If you get off track, jump in where you are and use the babysteps. Forgive yourself.
8. Savor victories (Love, Get'er done THEN have some fun)
Take the time to feel proud and accomplished when you complete a task that was difficult and you perceived as a roadblock. Store up the positive energy and feelings to help you attack the next potential procrastination problem (PPP) and nip it in the bud!!

I think I see the sign-post for Do-It-Now Street up ahead. Time to take some more babysteps toward those roadblocks and building my plan for how to overcome them.
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