Tag Archives: NaBloPoMo

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 🙂



I ‘ve got plans, plans to remember

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

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.

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:


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

Slaying Dragons and Painting Dreams

“Thanks to Thanksgiving Break, I’ve had a moment or two of clarity and I’ve concluded that “goal slay” is as much about slaying the dragons that stand in our way as it is about actually achieving our goals: Dragons of time. Dragons of demands. Dragons of habit. Dragons of neglect. Dragons of doubt and fear.”

via Slaying Dragons and Painting Dreams

I hope you’ll click on the link to read the rest of Chandra Lynn’s words. I love that she talks about how new goals need room and challenge set ways, even good habits. Her post made so much sense to me that I asked if I could reblog it. This is just a snippet.

Chandra’s post made me think of my favourite book when I was a child: Michael Ende’s Momo. The original title in German means Momo, or the strange story of the time-thieves and the child who brought the stolen time back to the people. The idea of time as something that can(‘t) be stolen and brought back just blew my young mind.

I’m grown up now, and I may have turned into one of the adults the book describes. I’m not sure, I haven’t read the book in ages. I’m thinking about reading it again. Not in the Dutch translation I read as a child, but maybe in German, or even in English. To read it with a fresh eye, not just as a plain old boring adult.

I knowI must be thieving my own time sometimes. Do I do what I really want to? Do I invest in the people and things that matter most to me? Can I give time I stole from myself, back to myself? What could that look like?

I know I’m doing my best at a lot of things. Maybe I should do my best less. As Chandra Lynn writes: “Even our perceived good habits have to change if we are to accomplish our goals.” I’ve always been better at cramming new goals into the existing space, then in making room for them.

In 2016 I wrote about conflicting goals: “Too often we promise ourselves things that conflict, without noticing it. A goal needs space. Brain space, time space, dragon slaying space, recovery space… If it doesn’t need any of those, I bet it’s not a goal.

Looking back, I don’t think I really took all those different spaces into account when I started my November project. That’s probably why the first week was too much for me, and why I did better in the second week (I learned from week 1).

I’m in the third week now, and I’ve hit a speed bump: fever asks me to slow down, and that’s what I’m doing. Not sure if it’s a bad cold or a light flu, but either way, I’m creating space for recovery.

I am slowly running out of episodes of The Soprano’s, so I hope I get well soon 😉

#NaBloPoMo day 23


Today’s situation

* Health: throat aches, bad cough, slight fever, croaking voice
* Relationship: it’s our 15th anniversary today
* To do’s: more than I have energy for
* Blog: feel like I should share some wisdom because I think that’s why people read my posts.
* Inner critic: grumpy that it can’t criticise me for not taking good care of myself yesterday and blame the fact that I feel worse today on me. It feels cheated.
* Inner adult: plans a lot of rest between the two appointments I have today that I can’t cancel
* Inner child: wants to watch tv
* Wisdom: not today
* Enthusiasm: for other people’s blogs, for example:

A woman who combines decluttering wisdom with ethics.
The most generous writer I know, always spreading the word about people’s work.
The most surprising story I’ve read today.
The most playful man with words I know.

There are more blogs I love and enjoy, but my headache is growing and I think my inner child is right: time for tv!

Obviously, I won’t work on my project today. But #NaBloPoMo day 22 is done.

An inner critic might never be satisfied

It looks like yesterday’s ‘meh’ was a sign of me getting ill. I have a sore throat, a head ache, a cold sweat when I move, annoying things like that. Yet, I worked for an hour on my project, even though I’d given myself sick leave. You’d think that made my inner critic cheer and clap and admire me determination. Not at all.

Somewhere in me it’s grumpin’, complaining how that chore I started isn’t fully under control yet. Moaning that I worked too hard and didn’t stick to my planned time box or boundaries.

I’ve written a post called done is more fun than perfect. My inner critic doesn’t agree. It just always finds fault with me, no matter what I do…

Actually, that’s not entirely true. If I had read my own post before I started working on my project, I probably would have stopped sooner. Not when EVERYTHING is done (my usual, unspoken goal), but when I noticed it was draggin’ me down.

If I had stopped in time, I would be proud now about what I got done. I would be giving myself credit for working when I’m not feeling well. And applauding myself for stopping in time.

Instead, there’s moaning and complaining and telling me off going on. My inner critic always knows how to find me when I’m off balance… and is not likely to retreat voluntarily.

In a minute I will run a hot bath. I’ll take my cold, my headache, my inner critic and a good book with me. I’ll soak (everything except for the book), and float in warm comfort for as long as I feel like it.

Obviously, my inner critic doesn’t think I deserve a bath. Truth be told, I don’t think my inner critic deserves a bath. Yet I’ll take it with me, and it can see where it goes from there. I’m just not going to fight. It can leave whenever it wants to.

And I’ll not wait for it to compliment me that I got #NaBloPoMo day 21 done 😉

Commitment and accountability

One of the good things about National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) is that your commitment to a post a day invites you to write every day, even when you don’t feel like it. One of the bad things about NaBloPoMo is that you ‘have to’ write every day. And my inner child yells “I don”t want to!!!”. All perfectly according to that darn horse shoe I’ve drawn.

One of the reasons to write this month, was accountability for working on my November project. Well, today is the day I dreaded: I haven’t worked on my project, and I’m not sure I have a valid excuse. I could try to make one and see if you think it’s valid, but who would I be fooling?

I’m too tired at the end of this day, even without working on my project. I’m stressed about it, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it in time. Wednesday will be a very busy day, and I expect to have no time for it then.  I expect to not have the energy to compensate for that on another day.

What will happen if I don’t make my deadline? Nothing. We might even still be able to do our taxes in the month of December, which is what I was aiming for. So I might be able to reach my goal, even when I don’t deliver my planned result on time. So why worry?

I’m too tired at the end of this day, even without working on my project. I’m stressed about it, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to finish it in time. Wednesday will be a very busy day, and I expect to have no time for it then.  I expect to not have the energy to compensate for that on another day.
What will happen if I don’t make my deadline? Nothing. We might even still be able to do our taxes in the month of December, which is what I was aiming for. So I might be able to reach my goal, even when I don’t deliver my planned result on time. So why worry?

I think I have a thing about being committed to commitment. When I have a plan, I feel I should stick to it. When I set a goal, I feel I should reach it. When I tell all of you about what I’m doing, I feel I should at least be doing it!
Today is not the day. My inner critic is ready to throw rotten tomatoes at me and tell me what he thinks of me. I’n not sure I’m willing to listen. My throat aches, I’m tired and I wonder if I’m coming down with the flu. Why make things worse by listening to a bully?

I’m tagging my post now and wonder if I should add ‘procrastination’ as a tag. Which would feel like I declare myself a procrastinator today. I’m too tired to care if my choices today were procrastination or sensible. Or maybe both, why not? So, I’ll add ‘meh’ as a tag. That’s the part about today that feels relevant now.

If you want to read something sensible, I have a post about accountability. A good one, with useful comments.

The fact that I post even when ‘meh’, counts as commitment. #NaBloPoMo day 20 done. Tomorrow is a new day.