I’m really good at certain things. Give me a work project, and I’ll break it down into tasks, timelines, and metrics, and I’ll deliver on time.
I’m really terrible at other things. Suggest that I prioritize self-care, and I’ll blow it every time. I’ll sabotage my best efforts, or I’ll get ridiculously obsessive. And the undercurrent of all of it: I’ll be really, really mean to myself about the whole thing. If I’m not doing the right things, I’m a failure. If I am doing the right things, I’m not doing them well enough. And no matter what I do, I will always, always berate myself for having the particular body that I have.
It always comes back to that, doesn’t it?
This gets particularly bad when I have too much time for navel-gazing, as is the case right now. I’m doing things, sure, but I’m alone most of the day, every day. I haven’t yet established a real routine, and I don’t have forced interaction with anyone else. I worry that I’m becoming socially awkward, that I’m wasting time, that I’ll never make friends. And these worries turn into self-criticism: I am socially awkward, I’m a sloth, I am not capable of making friends.
This has been a downward spiral for the past three months, and I’m now officially BORED.
So, in looking at what I’m good at and what I’m not, I’ve decided to treat this like a project manager. Yep, I’m going to micromanage the crap out of Outlook Improvement, and I’m going to do it for 100 days. Well, probably more like 103 days, because that gets me to my 34th birthday, and I like to bookend things like that. It feels satisfying.
My goals are pretty simple, and are divided into daily, thrice weekly, and once weekly tasks.
Daily, I want to eat healthy things at regular intervals, because it makes me feel better and prevents self-loathing of many varieties. I plan to take a 30-minute structured walk, to force myself to get out of the house and explore my neighborhood. I will floss my teeth, because I did this for three years every night, and I hate that I’ve broken the habit – again, five minutes of action to reduce self-loathing is a good thing. I’ll make my bed daily, because walking into a messy bedroom is totally deflating. And finally, I will be radically, deeply kind to myself. No more negative self-talk, no more awkward jokes at my own expense. No more talking to myself the way I would never, ever speak to a friend. Period.
Three times a week, I will go to the beach and the gym. If I rotate days, this means that I have structured, out-of-house time six days a week.
Once a week (on the seventh, non-structured day), I’ll go on an adventure of some type. I will also do a fun project once a week: making something artsy, cooking or baking something new, rearranging a room or hanging art… just something. I also want to remember what it feels like to laugh my arse off, so I plan to read something hilarious every week (suggestions more than welcome). And finally, since I really do enjoy my partner-in-crime, I’d like to go on a date of some kind every week, and take one picture together.
Just in case I didn’t make it clear before, I am not messing around with the micromanagement. I’ve made a chart. See? Structured fun in a delicious series of checkboxes.
I can’t promise that I’ll update you on this, or that I won’t OVER UPDATE YOU on this, but I feel better having a plan in place.
Here goes… almost everything.