Monday, June 8, 2009

Growing--Balancing Self-Improvement Goals and New Projects

For a person who values peace of mind and tranquillity, I am a world-class "self-underminer" sometimes. Balance and inner peace don't just happen; they require awareness and intention. I mentioned in my most recent post that although my husband and I love to entertain, I can sometimes make too much work of food preparation--completely unnecessarily. When I do that, the time with friends turns into hard work, and I feel less like entertaining again for awhile.
I sometimes make similar mistakes in my self-improvement and project goals. Unwisely, I try to do too much at once. Why is it that when I have decided to drop a couple of pounds by increased exercise and decreased calories, I suddenly get ambitious to change four other aspects of my life? One key to success in changing habits or pursuing a new goal is focus--focus I lose when I pile on the resolutions and projects.
Creative everyday life generates joy and purpose. And in some ways, I am almost addicted to creative living, even in the smallest undertakings. I want to soar, like the seagull I photographed at the Maryland shore. However, I tend to try ten new things at once instead of following one pursuit with more depth and focus. The gull knows better--she has chosen a direction to follow until she has a very good reason to turn. 
When I lack focus, I become stressed even though my pursuits are self-chosen. For example, when I am near completion with a painting and decide to work on it, I might suddenly realize that I have not completed the skirt I started 2 weeks ago. Then again, there is that new dinner recipe I want to try, and it requires preparation steps this morning to serve it tonight. My, oh my, there is too much to do! I only need to stop a moment to realize that no one has assigned me any of these tasks and that they are not of equal importance to me at this moment. Why am I  doing this to myself on a day off from work?
I am capable of intense focus and self-discipline. So why do I sometimes pile on too many projects at once and lose focus? Why do I feel stress over a skirt hem when the hemming can easily wait while I work on my landscape painting? 
I have no easy answers--after all, it is myself I'm trying to cope with here. However, it is helpful to have articulated this situation and to see myself a bit more clearly. Now, once again, I can laugh at myself, choose my highest priorities and immerse myself in pursuing them. I think I will go paint now.
Question of the day: Does anyone else out there get up in the morning and try to head in several directions at once?  


  1. hmmmm, did I write this post?? No, no, YOU did!! Oh yes, I am to capable of a ton of different directions. That scattered-ness is most unproductive, and I'm always trying to reign that in.

  2. I'm so glad to hear that I am not alone, Jean. And your comments mean a lot coming from someone whose creative productivity I admire.

    Do you think that there are times that the scattered-ness serves a purpose on the way to a new or renewed focus? It just occurred to me when you said that you are always trying to reign it in that there may be something to be gained (at times) from riding the wave awhile. Hmmmm.