Beating Myself Up

I am amused. I wrote the sketchy notes for this post a week and a half ago, and it’s been sitting in my drafts folder ever since. I think it dovetails nicely after the post that I put up yesterday about the Vein of Gold and my struggle with Artist Dates.

When we were on the plane back from Greece, I started thinking about my goals, and the things that I would like to accomplish in a given day. I thought about the “perfect” challenge. I made a huge honking checklist of the things that I think I should do on a daily and weekly basis.

Many of them – getting enough sleep at night, for example – are just good self-care. They might feed into larger goals (such as walking every day might lend itself toward my weight loss goals), but taken one at a time, each line item is reasonable, self-caring and logical. Taken en masse, however, that’s a 12-15 line item checklist that I’ve set myself up to try for every single day.

I knew from the perfect challenge that this was not possible. I learned that I would get disappointed and frustrated if I didn’t give myself wiggle room and room to have a lousy day.  I was poring over this list, and trying to figure out a way to make it somehow sane, when Brett and I struck up a conversation.

“Beating yourself up to make you take care of yourself doesn’t sound very effective.”

I looked at the list. Every single thing on it was about taking care of myself.

Upon further examination, the need behind the list was one of self-care, one of prioritising my needs over the wants of people around me. It turns out that my list – while the wrong approach – was on to something.

As I mentioned yesterday, I have a really damned hard time taking time to do something I just want to do for fun. I have a hard time making time for myself, or budgeting for things that I just want instead of something I really badly need.  I self-care in spurts, going through a week long jag of hair appointments and shopping for work clothes, and then I stop again.

What I need to build is a regular practice of being nice to myself, of caring for my body as if it were important to me, and of paying attention to the things that I need to be a happy, whole, healthy person. Instead of the checklist, I’m trying to pay attention to my inner dashboard. Need to keep the gas tank full and the service engine lights off. Might be a good idea to check the spedometer from time to time….

Turn off the radio, will you?  I’m trying to listen to myself.

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8 thoughts on “Beating Myself Up

  1. I know exactly what you mean by this. My to do list at the moment is just full of ‘submit to this’, ‘this deadline is such and such’ but…there’s months at a stretch it’s like, ‘meditate,’ ‘do yoga’, ‘stay the hell away from twitter….’.

    • Mine is usually ALL of those things. A calendar with deadlines, then all of the stuff to do for myself. I make the mistake of trying to list everything so I can let it go and forget about it, and then I crumble under the weight of the list.

      • I email my lists to people very often and they prioritise them for me. It’s really nice of them. Or sometimes my boyfriend does some of the things (i.e. typing out the novel). Send me your list if you want! It really helps!

      • LOL thanks! I haven’t made mine for this week yet. So far i’m still slurping away at coffee and hoping things will make sense.

  2. In my day job as a professional organizer, I do a lot of time management coaching. Something we always tell clients is that you should never have more than ten things on your to-do list for any given day, and that you should have a balance of things you want to do and things you have to do. It’s funny, isn’t it, how we beat ourselves up over whether or not we’re taking care of ourselves?

    • I actually try for about 5 To dos on the list at work per day. Longer lists are usually for the week. But most of my list items are things that don’t really need to be listed. 🙂 But it’s crazy to be mean to me because I’m not being nice to me!

  3. Pingback: No More To-Do Lists…? | A.K. Anderson | Science Fiction and Fantasy Author

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