Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Big Picture

I am one of those people who get overwhelmed by the big picture.  For instance, when we first bought our house and were thinking about landscaping, I thought about everything we needed to do ... then did nothing.  I was not able to break it down into manageable bits and do one at a time until the entire project was completed.  Instead, I suffered from potential sensory overload and froze.  So I'm trying to teach myself a new skill.  I need to stop looking at the big picture and instead see all the little pictures, then choose one and get 'er done.  Then choose another.  To this end, I've made myself a list of things I need to do at home to make me feel like I'm making progress in the "moving back east" department, and I'm trying to do one every day for the month of March.  So far my list has 24 action items, and some of them are on the list more than once because I know it will take me more than one shot to get it done.  Like going through every article of clothing I own - that's a three day project I will be finishing tonight.  Some projects will only take five minutes.  But when the end of the month rolls around, I will be able to look back and feel a huge sense of accomplishment because I got a lot of crap done, and it's all crap that needed doing.

I'm going to try this new system at work, too.  We wanted to have our building on the market by the end of February, but we keep telling ourselves there are a few things we want to do first.  Then we never do them.  It drives me crazy, but apparently not crazy enough to do something about it.

I'm like that in all areas of my life, come to think of it.  For those of you who have been hangin' out here for a while you know that March Madness for me has zippo to do with basketball.  This is when I try to conquer my personal trifecta - art, food and exercise - and I always fail.  I can't seem to be good at all three at the same time.  And really, how hard can it be?  Paint a bunch of cool stuff, eat a bunch of good food, run a few times a week.  Boom.  Done.  Except I can't do it.  Almost one week in to March Madness 2013 and I am failing again.

I was awake pretty early on March 1st.  It was 5:10, to be exact.  And one of the first things I saw on facebook was this quote:  Determination is the missing link between setting goals and achieving success.  Therein lies my problem.  I lack determination.  I have the desire to get things done, but not the determination.  Why is this?  Do I not care enough?  Am I lazy?  Or am I just a self-fulfilling prophesy:  I am constantly setting goals and then sabotaging myself, so now I don't want to bother with goals because I know I'm never going to reach them.  How do I change my mindset to something more positive?  Do I set even more goals?  Bigger ones?  Smaller ones?  Easier ones?  Do I tell even more people what I want to achieve?  I watched a wee tiny TED Talk the other day - it was less than four minutes long so it was like a TED commercial break - by a guy who said people should stop sharing their goals.  We share our goals because we feel if other people know about them it makes us more accountable and less likely to fail.  His premise is that when we share our goals, the act of sharing makes us feel as if we have already started doing.  And when we feel we have already started doing, when in reality we haven't actually started at all, we are less likely to really do.  Get it?  No?  Okay, go watch it yourself here.  I'll wait.


Got it now?  I'm conflicted.  To share or not to share, that is the question.  I want to be held accountable, but there are no real negative consequences to failure, no matter how many people I tell, other than just knowing I failed.  And having to admit it.  Over and over and over.  And that doesn't make me any more determined to succeed.  If I knew my right arm was going to fall off if I didn't meet my goals for the month -- that might motivate me a bit more!  How do I grow some determination?

This is why I haven't posted anything on here since February 26th.  All the voices in my head have been debating the issue, and we haven't come to a unanimous conclusion.  Plus, I haven't painted anything good in a while.  I worked on three pieces over the weekend and one is going in the closet for future evaluation, one is going to be totally painted over, and I can't even remember what the third one is so it must not have been anything special!  I haven't gone for a run in about two weeks.  And I have hit the restart button on my Sugar Detox so many times the button is wearing out.  Fail.  Fail.  Fail.  Boo, hiss.  However, on the bright side, today is day 65 with no Coke/Pepsi.  That's a good thing.  And I have crossed five or six things off my March list of mini goals.  That's another good thing.  I like to concentrate on the positive, so I may start only telling people when I reach a goal, rather than broadcast the actual goal ahead of time.  I like the idea of being able to say, "Hey, guess what I did!" rather than, "Yeah, I know I said I was going to, but I didn't."  This doesn't solve my innate lack-of-determination problem, but it limits the amount of negativity I put out in the world.  I'd rather put art out into the world.  Wouldn't you?

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