Listening in to my self-talk, I hear a LOT of “I have to”, “Ugh, this is a mess”, “Ewww, that smells bad”, “Too much to do today”, “I need to”, “Ugh, this isn’t done yet”. They kind of shower all around me, especially on Sundays when I am getting ready for Monday. Of course I have lots to do, I have a busy life, a lot of hobbies and interests, and I like to be productive. You may feel the same- trying to get your mini-habits done, and your bigger milestones met. While getting ready for the work week, you see the kitchen has gone to Hell. The stack-up of emails to read is multiplying like guppies in the fish tank. Oh, and that new software needs to be figured out too.
We tend to collect action items, to do lists, piles of papers to deal with, projects to do “in our spare time”, and meanwhile, the emails just keep on swimming into our inbox. All those piled up things to do can take a toll. They give nightmares, stoke up anxiety, and make fun time or even just communication with family tough.
Where and when do we say to ourselves “Great job on that!” “Let’s go celebrate getting that report out”, “Good win with that closet/folder/pile of papers clean out!”, “Wow, that corner looks nice now”, “Let’s sit down and enjoy the fruits of that hard labor”, “Wow, I won that pile of action items” ?
This is September. That is harvest time in the northern hemisphere. So let’s make a point of celebrating our work. Let’s make a point of celebrating our bountiful harvest of habits, or momentum, or anything positive! I like to think of accomplishments as wins. I am training myself to see the “wins” in my days by actually writing them throughout the day. So I have a To-Do List, but I also have a Win List, in my pocket even! (old school index cards are great for this)
We have just one moment at a time. One after the next, they pile up into an entire day or season. Years and lives pile up together. We could choose to watch how we line them up.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we live our lives. -Annie Dillard
It is true, to be goal-oriented, we do need to track the action items and make progress. But equally important is tracking our wins. When we go to bed at night, we could choose to count those wins before we drop off. I tend to drop dead into the bed, feeling whipped, like a “horse rode hard and put away wet” as they say. When I skip purposeful reflection time, I feel as if the day got the best of me and it is no wonder then if I have fitful dreams!
Tonight, when we get ready to go to bed, as we are pulling out the clothes for the next day, brushing teeth, or just pulling back the covers, what if we make it a point to review the wins of the day: I cleaned up that corner of the kitchen; I got kids picked up on time; the dinner I made was nutritious; my tough conversation went better than expected; I sent the report out; I did five pushups; or even, I lined up the shoes.
Then, when we lay our head back on the pillow, we will sigh out loud, like a drunken sailor happy with his day as he climbs into his hammock. He has swabbed the decks, fought the pirates, cleaned the fish, and he is content. We are content. Whatever kind of day it was, it is done. We get to rest now, either reading, straight into closed eyes time, or with sweetie snuggle time. This rest is important for tomorrow, so we can make it the best day possible. The thoughts of what we need to do can wait because at that moment, our job is to LOVE our lives, and to rest.
When living with intention, we choose to be intentional about our rest and celebrate all the hard work we are doing. No one else may notice those shoes line up, or the way we pushed through when it was tough to get the report out on time, or to leave work on time. But we need to notice those moments when we get a win.
Breakthrough Action Item:
Find a pack of paper, or index cards. Put 1 in your pocket at the beginning of the day. Jot down your wins throughout the day. At bedtime, read them out loud and as you put your head down on the pillow, sigh so loudly that someone in the room next door could hear you. Be the drunken sailor, or this month be the drunken farmer, surveying his bounty. “It was a great day! And tomorrow will be too!”