Whew! Change is hard. When trying to make changes in life, it seems that we take one step forward, only to take two steps back.
Have you read “20 Things the Rich Do Every Day yet? We have, several times. The McKeen family lands right in the middle, already having about 50% of the habits on the wealthy side. Unfortunately, this means that we have about 10 habits to change.
Have you ever tried to change a HABIT? That baby has a life of its own! Every time I try to change one, it goes from lazy-dog-dozing-on-the-back-porch status, to drooling-rabid-dog-that-won’t-take-no-for-an-answer.
For example, I’m a list maker by nature. I love to write lists. Every Friday night I write up a menu and create a grocery list from it for the upcoming week. Then, I grocery shop early on Saturday mornings. Without fail, I begin the process each Friday night by creating the upcoming week’s menu. After 49 interruptions and finally convincing the kids to STAY in bed, the menu is completed. At this point, I usually decide that I’m tired and would rather get up a little earlier the following morning to finish my task and write the actual grocery list. Then I hop on Facebook for a few minutes before heading to bed. An hour flies by before I know it! As I yawn more frequently, I remember that today was payday and it will just a take a minute to pay a few online bills. More yawns, bills paid, and I head for bed.
By the time I get up in the morning and come to my desk to write the grocery list, the menu plans can’t be found. Most likely they are somewhere in the huge stack of miscellaneous papers that permanently resides on my desk. I flip through the stack looking for my printed menu, inevitably giving up and scribbling a quick list on the back of a used envelope (I’m being responsible, saving a tree, right?). By now the baby is fussing for her breakfast and I’m off to my next task. I get to the grocery store an hour later than I wanted to, realizing as I walk in the door that I’ve forgotten the list. Thank goodness I have a photographic memory! (Well, sort of.)
Can you see where all this is going? I’ve been completely content with this tired, old routine for years! And, the more I try to change it, the more distractions show up. Facebook, email, texts, THE BABY (just teasing about this one) etc., all fight for my time. I obediently sit down to make the lists, but am easily distracted before I actually finish the project. I’m not even going to mention the fact that my desk faces towards the windows looking out into my backyard. I had no idea how often I daydreamed until I tried to stay focused on what I was working on at my desk!
So, where do we go from here? First, I have to acknowledge where I am. I am great at making lists. I am not so great at organizing them, finding them, or even using them. Human nature usually steps in right here and I try to defend myself and blame everything else for my scatterbrained habits. “When the kids grow up, I’ll be better able to keep track of things.” “If David and the kids were more helpful around the house, I wouldn’t have to do so much.” “If I didn’t have so many interruptions, I wouldn’t be so scatterbrained.” And my favorite “If everyone would quit putting so much stuff on my desk, it wouldn’t be a mess.”
Nope. I have to acknowledge where I am. I have trouble focusing. I can’t think of one thing in my life that I approach consistently, purposefully. I have a lot of great intentions, but I rarely manage to follow through. I love to serve others, but it’s usually a huge drama to get there. Generally speaking, for every committment that I make, I usually WANT to back out of it at least once (more often than not, mulitiple times) before I complete it. If I’m really honest, my desk is the perfect picture of me: it’s cluttered and stacked high with good intentions and half-finished projects.
So, where am I trying to go? After reading through 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day again, I recognize that my frenetic brain activity is what is causing me problems with, well, all of the items on the list. Where do I start this process of change? I acknowledge where I am, then I take a step forward. Not a tentative step. A solid, set-in-stone step. I must choose to do something that redefines the direction my life has been heading. For my first step, I have defined a single goal to pursue and written this goal down (The Delta Project).
So, where are we in relation to this first official week of 2014?
I accomplished the first item on my To Do List: getting all the meals and snacks planned for the next month, creating a shopping list, made it to the store with the list, and (three stores later) I’m home with all the groceries put away.
The kids are all well into reading their first assigned non-fiction books.
These steps are small, but they point toward our single, well-defined goal: The Delta Project.