Why it took me 6 months to change a light bulb
You would think it was easy, right? Go to the closet and pull out a light bulb, set up a ladder and switch out a light bulb, throw the old one away. The whole event would take less than 5 minutes and the rewards would be to light an important part of the room and have the happy feelings that go with completing a task. Why couldn’t I just get it done earlier? Or even delegate this simple task? Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. It never is, as I have learned.
You see, it has been dark in that corner ever since we moved in 6 months ago. The bulb waited silently. Patiently. Just waiting. I would see it every day and think, “Gosh, I should change the light bulb.” Every day! And it wouldn’t get done. I’d walk on. Some days there was more internal tough talk, “I REALLY need to change that bulb. This is ridiculous.” Yet, it remained unchanged. Still dark. And I suppose if it lit the mirror in the bathroom, it would have been changed sooner.
But this bulb was not really important to impede my daily life, but annoying enough to keep in my consciousness. Just enough to say, “Hey, I’m here. You might like it if I’m brighter for you. Maybe not, but wouldn’t you like to know?” I wasn’t curious enough yet to find the answer to that question. Yet. I just didn’t want to do it.
Months went on. Why couldn’t I change the stupid light bulb? Seriously?! I had the tools, right? I had everything I needed… except for the desire to do it. I would get down on myself, go through the pros and cons, still not change the light bulb and hurry to do other things. Little sighs would escape at the silliness of this predicament, which probably took more time than doing the task, but I digress. “Just change it!” Said one part of me. “No”, said another. The No’s always won until one day, I just did it. Hurray! It felt so good! Illumination was wonderful.
But then I wondered why it was so hard for me to do in the first place.
We had moved to this new home in the fall and we loved every inch of it. We also had a newborn and a three and a half year old. We were getting the previous home ready to sell that required cleaning, sorting, general sprucing up to make it even more tantalizing to potential buyers. For our new home, we had boxes, furniture, books, a new way of living and it all had to get figured out and sorted to efficiency, ease and happiness. What did I do?
We had a list a mile long.
On top of doing the everyday chores, I chose the big tasks first when I had time: move furniture in so we have a place to sleep and work, kitchen organized to feed everyone. Sleep when I can. Get curtains up so baby doesn’t wake up at 5:30. Sleep when I can. Clear out garage so we can work out and the kids have a place to play. (Still not done, actually.) Relax with family to stay connected. Fall asleep on the couch at 7:30 pm.
If you are already noticing, there is great reward in those things. They filled the quota to my happiness much more than changing that little bulb did. It didn’t stand a chance in giving me enough of the satisfaction I needed to make it happen. Other things just took priority. When the list finally dwindled down to where I was searching for something to do, that little light bulb finally got switched out. By me. YES!
What’s going on? How can YOU motivate to blast through your tasks (big or small?)
When we have a list a mile long, we prioritize according to the greatest payoff
How do we choose what gets done first? Perhaps what is the easiest, perhaps what is the biggest reward for the least amount of effort (biggest bang for your buck, if you will).
It all comes down to this: Pros vs. Cons or Yes’s vs. No’s
Imagine a scale with the Yes category on one side and the No category on the other, or a Pro’s/Con’s worksheet that you might have learned to do in college. We are constantly creating/analyzing/tweaking this list when we have our goals and activities. When the scales are tipped in favor of YESs then you set about making it happen for yourself.
When we value enough the rewards we get from having it. If this, then that…
If you clean the garage, then you can park your car because it’s raining during winter and your driveway is a mud-pit. It’s an easy sell to make this happen, right?
Look into your future of already having accomplished your goal.
If you are having a tough time getting something accomplished, look at all the benefits of having it already done. How are you thinking, feeling and what are you doing? Imagine, what good comes to you when you have that goal done? Peeking into the future to really get a dose of how it will already feel having it will help pinpoint what stops you from getting it. If your system starts to go haywire after imagining that future, and you experience a “Yes, but…” look into those buts. That is exactly what stops you. When you clear those out, you are golden. Your future is assured.
When others won't object to our goals
It is surprising how we stop ourselves from doing something because we fear lack of connection with others, ie. parents, siblings, significant others, bosses, community. Our survival is paramount and if anything messes with that, then we probably won't do it. We live in communities and we get support in all sorts of ways from those others in that community, love, friendship, respect, kindness, help, emotionally or physically. So, it's always important to ask yourself when you are figuring out what stops you from wanting to accomplish your goals: Who do you think might negatively be effected by your goal? It may actually be true, but it is something worth considering. And you can always talk to that person about your goal and see if they are ok with it, before you do it. You might be surprised that they are more supportive of you than you might think.
If you have any light-bulbs that need changing, promotions in work that you are aiming for, making a date with a friend you haven’t seen in months and you just can’t. seem. to. get. there… despite the above suggestions, please give me a call!
I can help you reset so your goals no longer seem daunting or unattainable. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to reset than you think. Awesome.
Living Your Awesome