August was a chaotic month and I decided not to do a goals list because I thought it might be too stressful. Looking back now with my post-August wisdom and experience, I believe it might have helped me to maintain some consistency if I had been using my sticker-based reward system to keep me accountable.
Oh well! The very best thing about being alive is that every moment is a fresh start.
September, She’s Fresh! Exciting! So Inviting To Me
My September goals are entirely intended to help me create structure in my life that supports work-life balance, hah hah what is work-life-balance, can someone make me a spreadsheet? With a supporting powerpoint deck? And I need a logo. And a marketing plan. Oh fine I’ll just do it. I WILL DO IT ALL MYSELF.
You can see maybe how I have gone off track a bit.
Last night I couldn’t sleep, so I started flipping through the TV channels and finally decided to dig into old stuff on my Tivo. I watched an episode of MTV’s True Life that I’ve had stored for months — there’s no reason at all why I chose that show — and I was only sort of half-watching it while I flipped through Instagram when the universe delivered me some wisdom straight out of the TV screen.
The Wise Older Adult character was advising the Young-But-Fabulous Activist character and he said something that felt directed exactly at me:
“The reality is that it’s never about how strong I am but understanding my own weaknesses and protecting myself from them.”
I rely heavily on my own willpower to carry me through every circumstance and that is exhausting. In that moment I recognized that relying solely on my strength or ability to power through is setting myself up for struggle and failure. Wouldn’t it be easier to create an environment that’s supportive? What if I relied more on planning, prioritizing, and accountability and relied less on sheer willpower?
My challenge right now is balance between my all-consuming job and my desire to have a life outside of that job. But I do not set myself and my environment up to support balance. For example, I take on too much when I should delegate (or heaven forbid, say “no” to someone!) I agree to ridiculous timelines when I should push back. And — most importantly — I don’t prioritize my personal life over work life. I skip morning walks because I could get in a few extra hours of work before the day gets crazy. This one is an absurd choice because I know that daily morning walks keep me sane and happy. Yet I have prioritized meetings and now wonder why I’m frazzled and irritated.
There are other examples: I don’t take the time to pack lunch because I am late for a meeting… I skip breakfast because I’m late for a meeting, I work late because I want to get through these last emails but then I’m too tired tomorrow to get up early and exercise and oh wait, I have a meeting! The outcome of all this is that I’m tired and grumpy and living on sugar and weird stuff from the break room. I do not function well on sugar and lack of planning.
Back To Basics
September is an experiment in setting myself up to succeed by focusing on the basics: sleep, daily walks, packing my lunch, eating a nutritious breakfast, making time to write, and keeping up daily maintenance of my house. Work is going to continue to cannibalize my life and if I keep expecting myself to power through eventually I’m going to lose power altogether and burn out majestically.
So yay, September, a month for getting back to basics! Thanks to wisdom I got from MTV.
By the way, that episode looks available online if you want to watch (Season 22, Episode 37, “I’m Saving My Hood”). And if anyone ever tells you that you can’t learn anything from TV, tell them about your friend Laurie Perry who got woke in time for September, 2017 thanks to the magic of television.
You, too, can reward yourself with stickers
This month I’m using the 11×17 (tabloid) size paper. You can download it here: Tabloid paper (11 x 17)
Feel free to download my printable 31-day-goal list in the other sizes, too, all in PDF format:
Tabloid paper – 2 pages (11 x 17) — This prints up the month but it’s spread over two large tabloid size pages. If you have gigantic stickers you may want to use this one.
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Today: Was planning to work from home but ended up with two morning meetings (!!!) and since it’s another 108-degree day I went to the office and enjoyed the arctic air conditioning. But I took a walk first! I already got a sticker! Here in the U.S. we have a long weekend for the Labor Day holiday and I’m looking forward to doing a whole lot of nothing.