I worked on it and I didn’t drown

When I started my November project, I had one goal that was more important than getting it done: showing myself that my fear of drowning in this chore was nothing more than a fear, and that I am actually able to work on it and not drown. Safe to say: I did it!

I worked on it and didn’t drown.

That deserves some white space. And some bunting.

Yesterday I was a bit bummed that I didn’t reach my result: I still have not gathered everything I need to do our taxes. But… in projects, the results is only a means to an end. My end was going to be doing those taxes in December, and that’s still possible (if that pesky flu is willing to subside). And I have totally reached my other goal:

I worked on it and I didn’t drown.

I think there are more blessings to count, insights to gather, conclusions to come to. But it’s almost bed time for me. And I don’t want to count my blessings, just celebrate this one:

I worked on it and I didn’t drown.

Thanks for sharing this journey with me! My first National Blog Posting Month has been a joy. A struggle, and a joy. A worthwhile struggle, and a joy.

I’ll probably keep writing about this project until it’s done. Not every day, just when I have something to share. As a form of accountability. And because I’m rarely a fan of stories with an open ending 🙂

 

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I ‘ve got plans, plans to remember

How I looked for ward to ending this series of blog posts with this image:
mortar_board_trans_800

I’m afraid I’m stuck here instead:
Paper pile monster

I have been working on my November project, and have dared to enter a number of my Mount Dooms. I’ve made relevant progress, both in finding the papers I need and in organising them. I also managed to practice self restraint and not bury myself in trying to do everything at the same time.

There are more successes: I gained insight in the workings of my inner critic, managed to look after my inner child, made decisions based upon my values,, and there’s even more I could compliment myself for, like writing a daily blog post even when I was ill.

Still, I feel sad. I had hoped to finish my project tomorrow, and end with a victory: getting my project done, and looking back on succesfully applying what I’ve learned about dealing with myself. I can check off that last one, but the first one won’t happen.

I do have one important victory today: I made a doctor’s appointment. My temperature is rising again, after I felt better yesterday. And I don’t seem to get enough breath, even with clear sinuses. Normally I would have thought this could be a reason to go to the doctor next week. In our house, we tend to call the doctor by the time all other options (patentiently waiting, self medicating, denial) have failed.

Today, my inner adult took care of my thinking:

  • How will if I feel if I go and they say I have nothing to worry about? Relieved.
  • How will I feel if I go next week and turn out to need antibiotics? Stupid.

There’s nothing to gain by waiting.

I like this inner adult of mine 🙂

NaBloPoMo day 29. I would have loved to share things with you that are more directly related to my project, or to procrastination. But this is what I have to offer today, sat in bed with my laptop on my lap (no worries, on top of a book, it’s safe!).

The title of my post was inspired by this great song:

Permission granted

IMG_20160105_211231.jpgTo not blog today.

To prefer self care over commitment.

To write a silly post.

To not care about lay-out.

To present un unrelated picture, or none at all.

To write a blog post on your phone even when you’re afraid the result will be sub par.

To use words you’re not sure are right.

To not check your spelling.

To make any adjustment needed for a NaBloPoMo day* without stress.

* This also applies to anything else you want to get done today. Just do it your way.

For those who wonder about the left bottom part of the picture, that’s an art work by Gustave Courbet. I admire it for being incredibly bold.

How to motivate yourself when you don’t feel motivated at all?

I’m tempted to go through my old blog posts to see if I’ve already written about this, but I dislike searching (you could say I’m not motivated to search…). I’ll do a little thinking instead. At least I know why I feel unmotivated: I like results, and I feel I’ve had no result for ages.

  • The flu is not over yet (though, admittedly, I’m better than yesterday, why does my inner critic refuse to count that as a result?)
  • I haven’t worked on my project for a week (well, that’s what it feels like, it might be shorter or longer).
  • My blog hasn’t saved the world yet (okay, that wasn’t my ambition, but still, my inner critic asks me: what’s the use of writing on days when you only have private stuff to share?)

So if there are no results to talk about, or I’m not saving the world, why write? What’s the use of commitment when it leads nowhere? Writing this down, makes me realise it’s the inner critic who’s being discouraging.

Other inner parts to the rescue

I’ll ask other parts of me ‘why write’ and see if they have to add something. And yes, they do. Here’s what they have to say. Write because:

– writing is fun (hello inner child!)
– I enjoy the connections it brings
– it’s useful for me to type out the inner voices (hello inner adult)
– I’ll feel better when I stick to my commitment than if I don’t: I’ll be proud that I made it, and found a way to do it even when it was a struggle

The last sentence is important: it leads to the difference between norms and values. AKA carrots and sticks.

Value and norms

A norm tells you what you have to do, and that you’re bad if you don’t do it: it’s motivation by stick. The inner critic likes to use that stick to beat you into obedience. It fears there’s danger it not obeying the norms, so it tries to help you by criticising you. (Does that make sense?)

A value on the other hand is more like a carrot: a positive force that drives you to act. You do it because you WANT to, because you BELIEVE it’s the right thing. You feel happier when your values are in place, and feel bad when someone treads on them.

(Here’s a puzzle for you: is there a value that makes people want to obey rules? Then obediency might be a carrot for them, not a stick).

Commitment from the place of “I have to” sets the horse shoe in motion that I talked about. It brings out my inner toddler. Or it does now. I have a long history of being very obedient to my “I have to-’s”.

Commitment from the place of a value brings me to what I want. I want to show myself that I can stick to something for 30 days, even when it comes with ups and downs.

Full circle?

When I started my project, one of my goals was to show myself that I could do it: work on something that’s very challenging for me, and not drown. Because I was ill, I had no energy to work on my project. But I can work on my blog from that same goal: get something done (I know how to do that), and make the adjustments I need to get it done in a way that’s good for ME (that’s what I’m learning: boundaries, flexibility, and probably a bunch of other important things that I don’t realise at this moment).

So, in the end, I WAS motivated to write this post. I had to search for it. If I had found none, I truly believe that the healthy option would have been to not blog today. And from there, decided again tomorrow: to continue or to quit? For now, I’ve made it to #NaBloPoMo day 27.

If you would have told me on day 1 of my project that I’d be LONGING to work on it later this month, I wouldn’t have believed you. I do now.

Senseless projects

I’m getting the strangest form of exercise today, and it’s linked to some ongoing senseless projects in our house. They involve a cat and chicken bones.

The cat is the family’s project. All of us keep an eye out, to teach her what she’s allowed to do and what’s forbidden (yes, you can laugh). We can tell she’s getting the hang of it. We can also tell that she doesn’t care what’s allowed or not. She pretends sometimes, but that’s as far as she’ll go.

The other senseless project is chicken bones. My son had dinner at a friends house. He asked if he could takes the chicken bones home, to keep. He could and he did. It’s 5 days later now, and we haven’t had the time to clean the bones yet. Since we can’t wait forever, I’ve just put the bones in a pan of water to boil the flesh off.

Now the cat keeps jumping the kitchen counter. She knows she smells something, but doesn’t understand where it’s coming from. I get up from my laptop, take her off the kitchen counter, and some minutes later she’s up there again.

She now lies in wait to see when I get less alert.

Feel free to invent a link between my story and procrastination. It’s Sunday so I’m keeping my mind off work. No matter how much I like my work 🙂

I hope to be free from fever tomorrow and get back to my project – the reason I joined #NaBloPoMo.

There’s always a way to show up

… if you want to. I’m also in favour of boundaries and breaks. Sometimes not showing up is the answer.

What did I need from myself to show up here today?

  • commitment – check
  • something to say – no, fever and tired

So adjustments were needed. Here’s version two:

  • commitment – check
  • an excuse to keep it simple or nonsensical – yes, fever and tired
  • permission to share something simple or nonsensical – only when I pair it with an old blog post, for those who hoped to read something useful, so I don’t waste their time (hello inner critic!)

So you get a cat picture, since other people’s #caturday has made me smile. I chose one with a crochet project next to it, for all #NaBloPoMo crochet lovers.

I can’t believe it took me half an hour to get this post done… By day 25, back to the last Soprano DVD episode I can find, and then to bed. Oh, and here’s that old (very useful!) blog post: http://www.procrastinationcoach.net/discover-when-you-procrastinate-and-why/

A playgroud for my inner child

Still meh. Still fever. Bored with myself. I’ve been writing about my inner voices a lot, so today’ll I present you the playground for my inner child:

https://unassortedstories.wordpress.com/

I started writing short stories and poems around 2013, just for the fun of it. Little did I know about how much jox, relaxation, and wonderful online connections (Yes, that’s you David Ellis, amongst others)it would bring me.

Two years later I added paiting classes to my playground. To play, not to become a great painter. So I chose classes that helped me play (and get better at the same time): Lifebook in 2015 and 2016. Let’s Face it in 2017 and 2018. (These classes offer so much value that people rave about them out of gratefulness, not because of affiliation things.)

This year I’ve started to add my own paintings and drawings to my poems, something my inner critic wouldn’t let me do for a long time. Not good enough…

I don’t know how I got the courage to share my poems. In the beginning I was shy about sharing them, fearing criticism or scaring potential customers away or whatever my brain would come up with. But when I shared, it brought responses and interaction, which increased the fun of having written them. So I got used to sharing them.

Same goes for the paintings and drawings. I didn’t think much of them, and when I got a bit better there were more than enough flaws still. These days, I even share things I’ve made that I deem ugly.

I love great art, great poetry, great stories. But I don’t have to create those. I’m happy to be an amateur. I need a playground more than I need to be great. Seriously, it’s wonderful to be an amateur. Being an amateur is underrated.

When it comes to being successful, I care about my paid work. I want my coachings to be as good as they can be. To help people move forward. To change their lives. To increase their happiness. Big words, I know. It’s probably the only place in my life where I dream big. Because I know it’s possible.

I thought I was too ill to write today. No wisdom available, not willing to moan. I surprised myself with this number of words 🙂 It made a nice change from watching television.

I wanted to add a painting of mine I’m proud of. Then I thought it would be suitable to share an ugly one. I ended up choosing one that makes me smile.

#NaBloPoMo day 24