It’s okay to change gears

A lot has happened since my last post. Not a lot has changed for me personally but… gosh. GOSH.

I don’t know if “habits” the way people talk about them really exist. Because people also say things like “… like brushing your teeth!” about habits and I don’t think they mean “something you remember you were supposed to do after you’re already in bed”.

So I don’t think your STUFF list is a thing that will “build” over time. The momentum that builds from having a novel system and a completed list is very fleeting. Then it’s just another list which will be as boring and ugly and scary as any other of the thousands of lists you’ve made.

And you know what? That’s okay. Because I want you to make a list that you can keep using even when that happens. That’s one of the times that you need to change gears.

Now there are two things you can do. You can change gears and/or you can change gears. Is that confusing? Probably. But when you do one it’s a good time to think about doing the other as well so it really doesn’t matter that they’re called the same thing.

Changing Gears.

You move from Usual to Treading Water. Or from Treading Water to Survival. Or the other way around. Something comes up. You need to work from home? Things are hard but you need to keep the lights on. So you look at your gears and you change your expectations of yourself.

Changing Gears.

But how long ago did you put this list together? Before the global pandemic? Maybe it’s not… exactly right. What does your ‘Survival’ gear look like now that… you might have to live there for a while? What changes in your ‘Treading Water’ gear if … *gestures defeatedly*… yeah.

Whenever you change gears you need to take the opportunity to change gears. If you need to! And if you’re going to be here a while… that’s your Treading Water. Because that’s what treading water is for. And if this is your new normal? Well… that’s your usual gear.

Maybe you thought you were changing gears from Usual to Survival. But… maybe you’re actually changing your Survival gear into your Usual gear.

What’s “usual” for you now? It’s okay if that used to be your Survival or Treading Water.

If you’re not meeting your expectations of yourself it’s okay to lower them. I promise. If it’s all too hard and you’re not facing your obligations let alone meeting them? If what you think you should be doing is making you feel bad and you’re still not doing it? You don’t get points for that. That doesn’t make you better than the version of yourself that expects almost nothing – but actually does something.

So right now in this time of foreboding and social isolation… what are you actually able to do? What’s realistic for you? What’s realistic in an ongoing way?

Change your gears. Create a new page in your bullet journal for your new STUFF list. Or re-tag your tasks in whatever app you like best for managing your day-to-day routines and habits.

Make a version of your list that you’ll actually look at – and one that won’t make you feel bad about yourself when you do.