Monday, January 4, 2010

The Change Challenge

Rest seems like a nice contrast to overwhelment, but enthusiasm is always chosen over rest. The only thing that ever makes you tired or bogs you down is resistance.
- Abraham

There's a certain amount of energy that I spend trying to control and perfect my world, from trying to stay on top of cleaning and laundry to remembering dozens of birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments to making list after list after list and fitting in all of the things I "should".  The idea that one day I will conquer it all keeps me in a perpetual state of overwhelment and certain failure--and leaves me with very little time and energy  to invest in the things and people that are most important to me. I find myself lingering in the past and longing for the future, while maintaining a miserable state of chaos and stress in the present.  I remember a time when I accomplished more, slept less, and never felt tired.  When I was engaged on a deeply satisfying level with the world around me.  The new year seems like an opportunity to stop grasping so tightly the illusion of control and perfection, and to move instead towards a level of engagement that feeds my spirit and energy levels.

There are a lot of changes I'd like to make in my life, towards a more peaceful, present, joyful version of myself.  Which, I suspect, would naturally lead to a more 'together' version of myself.  And potentially a far kinder version.  Thinking about all of these possible positive changes all at once is as daunting as thinking about catching up on 6 weeks worth of laundry (or 2 years worth of exercising) at once.  I've decided I need practice taking things one step at a time, and since they say it takes 30 days to change a habit, I'm issuing myself a Change Challenge for 2010.  I plan to focus on ONE thing each month that I think might bring some positive change to my life, and will track the experience over the course of the year.

The rules are simple:
1) Focus on just one experience or goal for a single month (and cut myself slack in all other areas)
2) Make sure to do something towards that focus a minimum of 5 days/week.
3) Track my progress--publicly--on this blog.
4) At the end of each month, move on.

Here are the things I've decided to focus on in the coming year, in no particular order. Each month, I'll decide what I feel like taking on in the coming month. (It'll be interesting to see what's left for the end of the year!)

1) Writing
2) De-cluttering & organizing
3) Cooking, eating healthy & cleaning
4) Volunteering & helping
5) Being low-tech (especially outside of work hours)
6) Creating/Art/Glasswork
7) Money: Saving, Budgeting and Investing 101
8) Being joyful and "me" time
9) Meditation and exercise
10) Learning Danish
11) Intimacy and connections
12) Boundaries and Balance

Also, as an extra-credit challenge, I plan to explore something new in Boston at least once per month!

January seems an ideal month for de-cluttering and organizing, so I think I'll start there. And, I'm curious--if you were inspired to take the Change Challenge, what one thing would you devote a month to??


Sarah said...

1. Writing
2. Reading French
3. Exercising
4. Spending face to face time with loved ones
5. Solitude
6. Using Tech Efficiently (Insert: Upload CDS to Itunes, Sync Junk Drive, Eric's Computer and My Computer, Set up Back-up Calendar)
7. Service
8. Reading Spiritual Formation
9. Cooking
10.Making Music
11.Money: Saving, Budgeting, Investing 101 (insert Quicken work here). (I liked this one, Missy.)
12.De-cluttering and organizing (insert Sort through File Cabinet and "To File" Pile here.)

Melisa K. said...

Good ones, Sarah! There's still time to get started...15 days left in January! I have to say, it's been very motivating and kind of exciting so far!