The Time Off To-Do List
How many of you have that list of things you have always wanted (or needed) to do, but for some reason you never seem to get to it? If only I had time. I would read books. Finally take a yoga class. Meditate. Spend more time with my family. Lose weight, oh yeah, that has been on the list for a long time. When I left my job I thought, well, this is going to be easy now, I have the time. I wrote out a to-do list for my time off. I went so far as writing everything down. 1 – babysit our new nephew, 2 – lunch at my friend’s burger joint, Joy Burger, 3 – put together the Italy photobook, 4 – redo my resume, 5 – yoga, 6 – mediate, 7 – read a book, and the list went on. 112 items to be exact.
Some items were easy, practical and with a little effort they were checked off the list. I successfully cut our cable bill in half, I sorted out all the medical EOBs (bonus, refund secured). Casino with parents; check, check. I was getting things done!
I was excelling on #7 – read a book. I got engrossed in reading, listening to podcasts and my first audible book. Since I knew I was on a journey to discover and define myself, it is not a coincidence that most of my reading/listening has been either self-help or business related. I became a junky, listening to podcasts while walking to an appointment, stealing 30 minutes at lunch to read or doing sit-ups while listening to a book. I’ll be honest, these books were motivating for me. Each one with a different impact on my life. (cue the series of blogs to come).
In nearly every inspirational book, entrepreneurial success story, leadership podcast, there are always 2 underlying themes. First, it’s important to understand what makes you happy, what drives you and ultimately where you want to go. Visualize the end goal. Second, it doesn’t happen by itself. You must take care of yourself; invest in your future to ensure it happens.
Motivated but still not ticking items off the list
So, I was motivated, but why was I still not eating right? The hairy, emotional, complicated items were still sitting out there. Despite all this freedom, why could I not find the time to learn some yoga moves? Why wasn’t my resume perfected? It finally dawned on me that my belief system was a bit out of whack. There was some sort of fear or negative self-talk that was sitting out there, sabotaging me. I had to change my talk track, I had to reprogram my thinking.
Typically, a good song would become my mantra to drive me into action like, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
Did you think I’d crumble?
Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh, no, not I!
I will survive.
Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive.
I’ve got all my life to live.
I’ve got all my love to give.
And I’ll survive,
I will survive.
However, this helped when I had suffered a setback. I was in a good place right now. I didn’t need to pull up my bootstraps. I just had to go from good to great. What was holding me back from being a better person? The items sitting out there on the to-do list – meditation, yoga, etc. were things that would make me feel healthier, relax, find peace and take time to dream. So, what was I afraid of? I may not have figured it all out, but I believe the crux goes back to the selfish question (See Is it OK to be Selfish blog). I was wired to get things done. Go.go.go. Dreaming didn’t pay the bills. I was afraid of what I would hear when I slowed down and focused inwardly. It was time to be selfish.
Changing my talk track
I had to change my talk track. It is ok to slow down. It is ok to take care of yourself. It is ok to be successful. There was a quote that Jodi Flynn would add at the end of each of her podcasts, Woman Taking the Lead, that I was religiously listening to:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (Marianne Williamson)
I had also read the book by Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning. His 30-day Challenge provided me the kick start I needed. I committed to waking every morning and going through a routine called the Life SAVERS – Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing. Huh, amazing, these were all the things hanging out there on my to-do list. I had to reprogram my brain. So, I began by stating 2 paragraphs every morning (Marianne Williamson’s quote) and the following statement.
I am 100% committed to becoming the person I need to be—through daily personal development and living with daily discipline—to easily attract, create and sustain the levels of success that I truly want—and deserve—in my life.
Seven weeks later I am still practicing the SAVERS everyday. I can feel the difference. They are now a habit that I cannot live without in my life. Slowly I have come to believe these statements and use them to motivate me. I don’t HAVE to exercise. I WANT to exercise. This is my gift to me.
I don’t believe in preaching that you HAVE to do this to see success. Everyone needs to figure out what kick starts them. What I do strongly believe is that positive self-talk helps propel you forward. Negative self-talk seems to only attract that which you are putting out into the universe.
Give it a try
For a giggle, pick something you have consistently beat yourself up about and spend some time asking yourself what you are afraid of? Why do you think you really cannot accomplish it? (Reread Fear vs Freedom) Next, create a very positive statement of the opposite. Repeat that positive statement every morning, out loud for a month. See how that changes things.
I have witnessed many success stories of people that changed their talk track from negative to positive and achieved amazing things. I am most proud of my sister, Karen who 3 years ago was hoping to simply lose a few pounds for my wedding but changed her focus and talk track – that she should/could successfully complete a Spartan Race – a mentally and physically grueling challenge. Not only did my sister complete 1 race, but 4 spartan races. That is guts, determination and a ton of hard work. AROO! (Listen to her positive talk track here)
Reprogramming your fears
I will leave you with this song that is my new anthem that gets me up and going. May you be inspired to reprogram your fears, one wire at a time.
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me