Tuesday, January 1, 2013
A New Year Challenge
Undoubtedly, I am the queen of procrastination. I have a SLOW mode that I’m not afraid to use. Spend the whole day in my jammies? No problem. Play games, read, nap for hours, instead of writing? Piece of cake. Promising myself at every 15-minute interval that I will stop gaming/reading/napping and do something productive. But do I? Not as often as I’d like.
Right now, I’m giving myself some slack. I recently buried my dad, so if my heart really isn’t into any particular activity, I’m not pushing myself. But, because of dad, and the dawn of 2013, I have been considering my life and how I’m spending it.
Mom used to call dad “a worm in hot ashes” because he could rarely sit still. There was always something he felt needed his attention. Me? Not so much. Mentally, I feel that way, but my physical response is nonexistent. I’m always chastising myself in my head for being such a slacker. Then I try to rationalize my actions (or lack of them), and bore myself, often returning to whatever mind-numbing activity I was engaged in to end the banter in my head.
The funny thing is, what I am usually avoiding is writing. I actually enjoy writing once I get started, and can often put down several hundred words in under an hour. I just have trouble starting.
Sometimes it isn’t just totally wasteful stuff that keeps me from writing, either. I mean, there’s always laundry begging to be done, dirt on the floor, dishwashers to load and unload, kids needing homework help. I seem to find ANY excuse—good or bad—not to start.
Why do I procrastinate? Maybe because I think I’ll be interrupted?
(That’s dumb. You don’t have any kind of deadline whatsoever. Who cares how long it takes. Why do you think you’ll be interrupted?)
Because I always am.
(Then why don’t you write when it’s quiet, or no one is home?)
I don’t know. What if I write something and it sucks?
What if no one reads it?
(They can’t read what you don’t write.)
(What’s the matter—cat got your tongue?)
Fine. So how am I going to fix this?
I’m a rule follower, and I used to be very hard on myself. New Year resolutions were the worst. If I missed one day of my read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan, I felt like a failure and thought I had to wait for the next year to roll in to try again.
What I have learned is that every day is a new chance to start. Shoot, every minute is a new chance to start! Whatever it is that you’ve been putting off—writing that book, joining that gym, cleaning out the garage—join me today and draw that line in the sand.
Someone out there needs what you can offer, if you’d just do it. Today is the day it changes.
Today is the day you start doing what you’ve been afraid to do.
When I have a free minute to write, today I won’t say, “I think I’ll take a quick nap.” Instead, I will fire up my laptop or grab that notebook and pen, and get to work. Because no one can read my words if I don’t write them. You’ll never meet that special someone if you don’t start looking. Your family can’t enjoy that scrapbook if you don’t make it. You won’t ever have the little home office if you don’t clean out the junk. You’ll never finish that degree if you don’t register for the classes. You’ll never get out of debt if you don’t follow that budget. You’ll never make amends with that old friend if you don’t reach out first.
And you’ll never finish any of it if you don’t start.
Whatever you have to do to make it happen, the excuses stop now.
Block the Facebook games. Turn off the DVR and get off the couch. Wake up earlier to get a few extra minutes in your day. Stop tweeting what you ate for lunch.
Get up and start something, so when it’s January 1 of 2014, you can look back and say, “2013 was the year I finally did _______________.”
What will fill in your blank?