I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way, we adopted the idea that we could and should do it all. We took all the best parts of all our favorite people and created a composite person that serves as our prototype. Then we started frantically working to become this person that (A) we created in our mind and (B) is a composite of ideas, so by default this person doesn’t actually exist. To become this imaginary person, we read books, take classes, source Pinterest for organizational ideas, write lists on stickies, notebooks, and in our phone. We set alarms for sleeping, waking, eating, and other activities that our body should naturally alert us to perform and all of this is an effort to manage it all... To be outstanding, exceptional, and to feel like we are properly “adulting.”
Wanting to manage it all isn’t the problem. The expectation of immediate consistency and immediate life changing results, is.
This is not a call to action for anarchy or disregard for structure. This is me inviting you to sit down and really think this through. How much of this imaginary composite should we pursue? How much should we accept that our world will still be a wonderful place if we don’t complete every task? The composite is a great place to start. In order to take any action in any direction, we must start with an idea. It will float through our subconscious until it becomes a thought and materializes through both verbal and physical action. Decide what you want to see differently and create a plan.
Create A Plan
1. Create A Plan: When creating a new routine, it is best to make a large list of everything that you need to do. For example, you need to write out every on-going activity you have in any given week. When you create your weekly calendar, you add those in first. Next you consider the lifestyle changes you want to employ and you add them in. This could be meal planning, budgeting, or even better structuring your time. Be realistic: if you haven’t been to the gym in months, don’t play yourself and think you’ll be at the gym at 5am, five days a week. Start small and work your way up. Be realistic about the amount of time things take. For example, a morning bible study may take more than 10 minutes, depending on what you’re reading or what your supplemental bible study activity is. Account for any set up and clean up time related to the process.
One of the best starting points for feeling more grounded and in control is to create a morning and night routine. Start your morning with prayer and meditation. Prayer is talking to God so use this time to express gratitude and to make your requests. State your affirmations and intentions for the day. Meditation is being quiet long enough to listen to Him. Learn to sit in silence and quiet your thoughts. This short moment of peaceful solitude can set the tone for your entire day. Make sure your morning always includes breakfast of some sort. Fueling your body properly is absolutely necessary, both spiritually and physically. And small things like stretching before bed can vastly improve the quality of your sleep.
Employ things that reinforce the change
2. Employ things that reinforce the change. Use tools such as The Little Black Book: Dr. Glenna’s Secret to Starting and Finishing to help you map out and track the progress of your goals. Try apps such as Mint: Personal Finance to track your spending and account activity. Find the friend who is invested in your journey that will help to keep you accountable. Sharing your goals out loud with a friend that wants to see you succeed can make a huge difference in your progress. Reminders in your phone, notes on your mirror, and mantras can also serve as frequent reminders that you are serious about changing your patterns to feel more organized and productive. The goal is to put things in place that will keep you on track when your will power begins to wane.
3. Accept failure. Relapse is a part of recovery. You will blow your budget. You will overeat beyond your cheat day. You will call your ex. Your house will look like you got robbed. Accept that you will not consistently meet the mark. Find the lessons in your shortcomings and know that you are still worthy.
There will be days where hurt from your past will surface and slow you down. Anticipatory anxiety will make it hard to take steps forward. Even fear of the unknown can prevent you from being productive. Just remember, you are not alone in these circumstances. This is something we all go through from time to time. The key is to acknowledge the moment and figure out what you need to do to get yourself back on track.
We all want to feel grounded and balanced. Only a select few intentionally seek out chaos, while the rest of us are looking for ways to reach nirvana. The combination of creating a plan and being kind to yourself when it doesn't play our perfectly will provide a solid blueprint for your journey.