Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Really Long Post About Change

Since I've been working so hard on my one little word for the year, I thought I would share some insight into some of the things I'm working on and how I'm finding success in accomplishing it.  Before 2012 ever started I knew what I wanted my one little word to be for the year.  I knew I wanted to make some big changes, and I knew I really wanted to focus on ways to make them happen, and so when 2012 arrived I heard the starting gun sound and I began embracing change.  This alone was a big change for me.  I haven't always been a fan in the past and learning to love change has and still is taking some time.  I am well on my way however, to making the changes I have been after.  So what are the changes I am focusing on?  Well, there are actually several, but I'll just share with you a few.  Here is a short list:
  • Obtaining and nourishing a healthier spirit
  • Budgeting better my personal time and our money
  • Enjoying a healthier lifestyle and the benefits that come with it
  • Spending my time on things that matter most
  • Living with no regrets
The list goes on, but you get the gist.  When I decided to take this word on for the year, and really step outside of my comfort zone to make the changes I truly want happen, I had to decide on an approach that would work best for me.  This is still a work in progress, but I have found a few things that work well for who I am, and because a few of you asked I am going out on a limb to share.  Keep in mind that these are things that work well for me.  I realize that we are all different and therefore different approaches may work better for you, but it has taken many years to not only develop my own personal strengths, it has also taken many years to recognize them as well as my weaknesses.  So here are my thoughts on change.  This is my personal 5 step program.  

  1. Planning.  In order for me to accomplish change of any sort (especially the specific items I listed above), I need to begin with a plan.  This is the part where I stand up to the mic and say, "Hello my name is Marvett, and I am a planner."  It's true.  It's who I am.  Right down to the core I'm a planner.  Always have been, always will be, so why fight it?  For me, choosing to approach change is a big deal so why not put one of my strengths into action and make a plan.  For me, planning provides peace.  It allows me to map out my time and maximize it so that I can accomplish the things I want to.  (It also helps me to be efficient.  (This is the part where JM is laughing to himself.  Yes.  I need therapy for my addiction to being efficient!)  If I relate planning to the important changes I want to make in my life, it means that I will actually plan time into my day to work on them.  It means I will plan time for nourishing my spirit.  It means I will allow time to work on lifestyle changes including plans for healthier meals, and time to exercise.  It also means that if I want to spend more time on the things that matter most then I will avoid planning anything during the few hours in the week when our whole little family is all at home at the same time.  Those hours are few and far between and they should be saved for memory making.  I realize that there will be times when this won't be possible, but I have to tell you that over the last year and a half I have learned a ton about how quickly time can pass by, and how quickly a year can be gone and once it's gone it's gone.  I have learned that time is not only valuable but precious, and for me I want to spend it making memories with my family whenever possible.

  2. Lists.  I know, I know, this goes right along with the world of planning, but again lists help me to be successful.  I like to think of lists as another tool in my box to help me savor peace and make sure that everything gets done.  Besides that, I'm one of those people who finds great satisfaction and accomplishment in crossing things off the list.  I've done the background work and decided on the things that I really want to work on changing in my life, so making lists of things I need to do to accomplish them is just another part of the arsenal to attack the work in doing them.  For example, I have a very specific list of things I want to do to nourish my spirit.  I have another list of things I want to research more and learn about to have a healthier lifestyle.  I also have a list of things I'm working on to help with budgeting our money, and I have a very long list of things I would like to check off to assist in using my time wisely.  This may seem overwhelming to many people, but it works for me.  Lists help me get my thoughts out on paper.  They help me to organize the things I'm thinking about.  Once those things are on the list then I can decide if it's something worth keeping there, or if it needs to be tossed.  Once the list is final I can then insert items on a weekly basis into the planning stage.  I can choose which things are most important for me to accomplish during that week, and then plan time to do it.  Again, it may seem overwhelming, but in reality it's not.  I have a whole year to work on making these changes, and once I really get into this I have a feeling that this will become a new lifestyle for me.  I have a feeling that change will be something I crave and look forward to instead of fearing and dreading.  Ticking one thing off the the list per week is rewarding for me, and I'm finding that when the list gets shorter my mind thinks of another thing that can be added to the list.

  3. Organizing.  Ok stay with me here.  If you've made it through the list section than organizing should be a breeze!  For me, organization comes next.  When my home is out of control, my life is out of control.  When my life is out of control, my thoughts are out of control, and I just can't focus.  Let me relate it to the changes I want to make in my life.  If I want to spend more time on the things that matter most, nourish my spirit, and change my lifestyle, I can do that easier in a life that is organized.  Once again having a place for everything and having everything in it's place makes me more efficient (ugh, there's that word again!).  For example, if the pantry and fridge are organized it means I can save money buying the things I know we need and not extra of stuff we already have.  It also means I have more time to focus my energy and thoughts on the changes I want to make.  If things are organized, it also brings me more peace.  It means not worrying about the little things.  You know the ones I'm talking about.  Like if the homework we have worked so hard on all week has made it into the hooligans backpacks, or if the meat is thawed out for the dinner I want to make,  or if the softball uniform is washed and ready for the next game.  It's all of the little things that I don't want to keep me up worrying.  If I have a process in place to ensure that these things are taken care of (including making lists, organizing, and planning) then I can fully enjoy the time I need and want to spend on making change.

  4. Focus.  For me change means focusing.  It means deciding on the things I want to work on, and then doing whatever it takes to make them happen.  I'm a competitive person, and I am determined.  Usually when I make my mind up about something I will see it through.  It's who I am.  I have found however, that the older I have become the longer it takes to accomplish things.  I have many responsibilities now that I didn't have once in life, and those things take up time.  It doesn't mean I will give up though.  I'm learning that it's important to just keep going.  Take baby steps if necessary, but keep moving forward down the road.  Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP!  Making change is hard, and change takes time so be patient with yourself.  I'm learning to do the same.  It's probably one of the things I will benefit from most in this process.

  5. Attitude.  Last but not least (at least for now), is attitude.  My daughter plays softball.  She is a pitcher, and learning the mechanics of pitching has been extremely difficult.  There are so many things to think about all at the same time, and that can be a big task to ask of our brains.  I have echoed my collegiate volleyball coach time and time again when I have told her to check her attitude.  Our coach used to tell us that he only required us to bring two things to practice on a daily basis and those things were attitude and effort.  A good attitude and your best effort are something you are in control of, and they make a vast difference in your success.  Like I said earlier, change is hard, but when I find myself getting frustrated or down I remind myself to check my attitude and effort.  I remind myself that I am choosing these changes, and I remind myself of how badly I want and need to make them happen.  Just starting on the path is a huge success for me, but sometimes I forget to cut myself some slack and give myself credit.  I have put a lot of thought into this whole change thing, and it's something I really want in many areas of my life so I will not allow negative thoughts to set me back.  I know where I want to go, and I am slowly but surely finding ways to get there.  It may take the whole year, and it may take longer, but forward movement is forward movement, so as long as my attitude and effort are on the right end of the spectrum I should have no problem getting where I want to go.
I realize that this is a lot of information and really a bit out of the ordinary for my little blog, but you asked me to share so I am putting myself out there and doing exactly what you asked.  These things may not work for you.  You might be hyperventilating at the thought of lists and organization, but these are my strengths.  These are the familiar tools that I am choosing to use to step outside of the box and make some big changes in my life.  I encourage you to do the same.  Put your strengths to work and use them to help you be successful in whatever endeavor you are tackling.  If you don't think you have strengths, think again.  I promise you have at least one, and I'm certain that you have several.  If you're not sure what they are then ask those around you.  They will be completely honest, and eventually you will learn to be kind enough to yourself to not only realize what they are, but to embrace them and be proud of them too.  

And just for the record, a post is not a post without a picture.  On this blog anyway!  I'm slowly learning to incorporate my camera back into this different life, so I will have more pictures in the future.  For me life is much better when I use my camera.  It inspires me to see and feel things that I don't any other way, so I'll leave you with this image of a slice of my mom's front yard.  Happy Spring!

5 comments:

Life with Kaishon said...[Reply to comment]

It sounds like you have a lot of really big and GREAT things going on at your house. I am impressed!

Kim Stevens said...[Reply to comment]

Fabulous post and thoughts Marvette! And yes, when I'm organized by brain doesn't feel so jumbled...it's just staying organized that is the tricky part for me! And that image of your moms front yard is just delicious!!

Jessica said...[Reply to comment]

Can't wait to hear more about how those changes are going for you as you progress.

lesa said...[Reply to comment]

I enjoyed reading your thoughts, thanks for sharing.

Imene Said-Kouidri said...[Reply to comment]

I loved your post and it really resonates with me. Every time I feel i' loosing control I like going through similar steps and i add one which is declutter. decluttering my home, my brain does wonders.
Thank you for the inspiration!

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