Two days ago I published a post saying I need to take more risks to see more/bigger change. I also suddenly gained a whole bunch of blog followers. Thank you, Courtney Carver, for including simplifyingathome in your post about new blogs on simplifying, and thanks to all of you who decided you’d like to see more.
The attention in the last couple of days prompted me to go back and read my very first post as a reminder of what I’m trying to achieve. Most of that bullet list of deficits still applies, hence my impatience for bigger change. But I can also point to signs of progress.
1. I went to the library in August. It made me so happy to be there by myself getting books for me! I borrowed three books and read them. Only one was returned after the due date. I submitted requests for more books.
2. Since July I’ve been meeting a friend a couple of times a week for early morning jogging/walking. We’ve talked about continuing into winter (sounds perfectly reasonable at the end of summer) with the goal of doing a 5K fun run on January 1.
The jogging is remarkable because a) I am not a runner and b) none of my attempts in the last five years at getting exercise back into my life have stuck. So why is it working now? Here are some possibilities:
- Shedding the obligations of home ownership gives me more time.
- I haven’t had to buy anything. Running shoes purchased in 2004, with no use in last five years and moderate use before that? Fine. Handful of workout tops and bottoms acquired in last few years? Check.
- Early morning is a time when I am reliably free from other people’s needs and schedules.
- The buddy system. The only way I could start exercising was to feel accountable to someone else. After several weeks I started going out by myself too, to make the getting up early and the jogging more of a habit, but I always try harder when we’re together.
- When we started jogging my friend was more of an acquaintance—we only saw each other once or twice a year—but I knew she was someone I would like to have as a friend. Now we’re talking a few times a week while we’re exercising (most days I don’t even remember the running part—excellent!), and we had a fun outing with our families to celebrate the start of school. This social aspect is a huge benefit.
Now about the library. I love to read books and feel a little underfed when I don’t have one. However, getting to the library and keeping track of what books I want to read has felt like two or five more things on my to-do list. And even though it’s not rational, when I feel like my to do list is too long I get balky. Even about things I really want to do (get books) or need to do (write a thank you note), and even when I know those things will take less than 15 minutes from start to finish. Although I will always have a to do list, my hope is that my efforts to simplify will help me do a better job of prioritizing.
How do you manage your to-do list?
(I’m sure there is more than one way to keep track online of books you want to read, but I like Goodreads. And if you’re a runner or would like to be, here’s an inspiring story about a running club for homeless men.)