Remembering to Pace Myself: A Pep Talk

As the end of August approaches and my Facebook News Feed fills with pictures of smiling children in new clothes and status updates about the first day of school, my thoughts have begun to race ahead to all of the other resolutions I have planned for my Happiness Project. I find myself considering rearranging my schedule or reorganizing the project entirely. There appear to be many very good reasons for putting the things I’m excited to do first (and all in the same month) and putting the things I’m anxious about a little later in the year (or maybe just dropping them off the schedule entirely).

But when I pause and breathe, I remember that rushing through this project isn’t going to yield the kind of results I want (and that Personal Commandment #4 is Don’t Jump to Solutions). I remember that I wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about tackling Mindfulness first, even though it made a great deal of sense to do so, because it didn’t seem like I would be doing anything. One of the lessons I’ve learned (or relearned) this month is that when I’m doing the work and practicing every day and feeling almost bored with the whole process, the most profound changes just kind of sneak up on me.

I’ve tried FlyLady Marla Cilley’s Baby Steps and Karen Kingston’s Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui and Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and any number of other programs designed to improve me and change my life. They’ve all had great ideas behind them, and I’ve found elements of each very useful, but with each, I’ve jumped in full force and then petered out when the everyday practice became tedious. The difference with this Happiness Project is that I’ve designed it for myself. I know what challenges I have, what tasks I postpone indefinitely, and what thought patterns I’d like to change. I’m hopeful that having a self-designed program using Gretchen Rubin‘s template will yield more lasting results than my attempts to apply others’ programs to myself.

What’s been happening behind the scenes here is a lot of vacillating and journaling on paper about how I want to change my plans midstream and all of my reasons for doing so. I’ve decided that all of this is evidence that what I’m doing is working. I’m not sure big changes can be happening if I’m not at least a little nervous. I’ll take it slow, trust myself, and stick with the plan.

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