This past June, I finished a year long course from Cheryl Richardson’s book,
Life Makeovers: 52 practical and inspiring ways to improve your life.
The book was divided into 52 chapters, with an assignment to be completed weekly.
Many of the weeks were repetitious. Some were meaningful, others were discarded completely. Regardless of the outcome, the big win for me was that I stuck with the program and completed a year’s worth of weekly work while addressing it in my blog. The second win was that my accountability group stayed with me the entire time, enabling them to benefit from the work I did as well by applying some of the various lessons to their own lives.
It’s a good feeling to finish something I started out to do. That isn’t always the case for me but this time it paid off. I don’t remember exactly what I was hoping to accomplish by doing the weekly tasks when I first started the book. I think it was somewhere along the lines that at almost 50 years old, I found myself directionless and I was hoping some kind of program would help me to get past that.
Throughout the year I learned some new tools to aid in my growth. I stood strong with the things I already knew and I shared with others my successes and my failures. It opened up all sorts of conversations and gave me a more indepth vision into my own psyche.
It was a learning process through and through, and now that the year is over I must admit, at the beginning of my journey, I did imagine when it was over, I would be a better person for my struggles. Not that I was a bad person to begin with, I just had it in my mind that I would be completely different by the end. That didn’t happen.
There is a reason learning is a lifelong process. It doesn’t end and you must keep at it, applying the lessons you pick up along the way, constantly incorporating them into your daily routine. This action forms new habits which hopefully replaces the old, worn out, dated ones that no longer serve a purpose.
There’s a bit of irony to the fact that while change is formidable, inevitable and inescapable, it is also the hardest thing to do.
The things I did learn this past year are as follows:
Self-care is of the utmost importance. Giving of yourself is commendable, but there is no place for martyrdom in daily living. Fill your soul up first and you will have more to pass on to others. It is as simple as that.
Have an Absolute ‘Yes’ List. I loved this idea from the moment I read about it. It has taken me over four decades to learn the importance of boundaries, and this is one more tool to aid in that. Knowing the things you will say Yes to makes decision making so much easier. I’m not a telephone person. I don’t like to talk on the phone just to shoot the breeze, but the obligation to answer when a call came in was plaguing. With my Absolute Yes list, if I get a call from those not listed, I let it go to voicemail without the guilt.
If I am asked to do something I’m unsure of, before, I would give a slight maybe then immediately regret my decision. Now, if it’s not part of my Yes list, I can say no with ease. If anything, this course really did help me to firmly place my boundaries and stick to them.
I was happy to see that many of the exercises in the book, I was already applying in my life, which made those weeks extremely easy. Some ideas were so inane, had no bearing on my life, (much of this book was geared toward self business owner of which I am not one), or held no interest whatsoever, that I chose not to do them yet I still blogged my opinion of them. There were other ideas that I am still working on even now.
When all is said and done, I am glad I spent a year of my life working towards something positive even if the results are still yet to be determined. I firmly believe no bit of learning is ever wasted, and that alone has made this journey all the more worthwhile.
If you followed along with me, if you encouraged me, if you are interested in reading the posts that chronicled the year I did this, (it is all there in mostly black and white, under the heading, Transformation), I thank you.
Now that my focus has been lifted from the workbook to my life, I am looking onward to the next step of this never ending story. I thought it might be something along the lines of minimizing my lifestyle, but now some other ideas are surfacing that are getting a lot of play time in the recesses of my mind.
Stay tuned, it just might be of interest to you.
Now I can finally check this off my list as completed.