Organize your attitude #20
This week during the Planning That Matters chat I hosted with several Simplified Organization: Learning to Love What Must Be Done alumni, Libby made an excellent point near the end:
The more you do stuff the easier it gets. You know, it’s having those rails to run on. Setting something up is hard and getting [the kids] used to something is hard, especially if it’s something that isn’t appealing to them. … Blazing the trail is hard, but just walking on the path to the place you need to go isn’t so hard at all. The more consistently we do it the easier it becomes.
To blaze a trail or to lay down the rails is to intentionally decide and built the habits that we know will make our lives more effective. It will not make life easier – building the habits is hard work and paying attention and doing what’s called for in the moment requires attention and effort – but once intentional logistics become habit, then it takes less energy to maintain your equilibrium and consistency.
It is worth the effort and time to think through the logistics of your day, communicate your intentions to the children, and make the right thing to do easier to do – remove the barriers, even if they seem silly. Practice, practice, practice, knowing that the first week or two or maybe even three will be hard and there will be push back both from the children and from your own mind and gut. But if you can push past that, you will have a path instead of a jungle, and getting your day rolling will take less energy.
Acknowledging that it is hard work to set up a deliberate routine helps us make it through and stick with it long enough to see results. Even though we’re doing it so that life will flow more smoothly, we won’t expect it to be rainbows and butterflies from the beginning. The fact that there is extra resistance and difficulty upfront does not mean there’s anything wrong with our plan or that we’ve failed before we’ve begun. It means you are blazing the trail, cutting back the weeds, doing the hard initial work of cultivating.
When we look for what is easy, we will fall back into old habits and patterns. When we look for setting ourselves up for future success, our outlook shifts off of our current emotional state and onto anticipation of future growth and ability.
Be willing to blaze the trail and do not grow discouraged or weary when it is hard work. Persevere, and it will pay off. Do the good work set before you so you can move on to better and more good work later. You are doing this not for ease and comfort, but for effectiveness and competency. Once these habits are mastered, you will be able to go forward and build more into your life. But be willing to scale back for a time to lay the groundwork, to clear the path, so you can move forward with less friction and distraction in the future.