It’s March 4th, and so far I’m one for four. That’s right. All I’m trying to do is stretch for fifteen minutes a day and I’ve only done it once so far. This doesn’t bode well.
My default response to this situation is to reflect, study myself and the situation, identify barriers, and either (a) redefine my goal or (b) implement barrier crushing solutions. That’s OH SO J, though, isn’t it?
Theoretically, I’m trying to give the analyst part of me a break, embrace living in the moment a bit more, and work toward a less controlled life. How would a P respond to the situation?
Seriously, I don’t know.
My habit of dissecting my own attitudes and behaviors is so ingrained that I’ve already done it (I have conference tables of Shelbies in my head, remember!) without even trying. It’s all I can do to keep from typing it out right now. I mean it – I’m experiencing a physical sense of wanting to burst – something inside of me that JUST. CAN’T. WAIT TO GET OUT!
I recently read about preference cards on the Happiness Project blog. The idea is to identify the way you prefer things (at work, in your car, etc.) and write them down so that you are more conscious and intentional about setting things up to match your preferences. At first I thought this was silly until I wrote down some of my preferences for work and realized that I could easily set up my work environment to better suit my preferences, I just hadn’t been conscious enough of those preferences to bother.
For example, some of the work preference I listed include:
* I prefer to start my day with a cup of tea and some quiet time to collect my thoughts and prepare for the day.
* I prefer to listen to music while I work.
* I prefer a clean desk space.
* I prefer a high-speed Internet connection.
* I prefer to type, rather than write.
* I prefer to talk with someone face-to-face, rather than over the phone or over the phone, rather than via e-mail.
* I prefer to have 15 minutes to prepare for a meeting right beforehand, longer if it is a highly charged meeting.
* I prefer to follow-up to a meeting right afterwords, when possible.
* I prefer to walk to meetings, but I need 15 minutes at least to do so without feeling rushed.
Almost all of these are easy to do, and those that aren’t easy are still within my reach most of the time.
So, instead of taking a very J oriented approach (problem-solution), might a “Stretching Preference Card” be a way to approach the situation without completely giving into my habit of over-analysis? Or would this just be another outfit for the same body?
I’m going to give it a try:
My stretching preferences
* I prefer to have plenty of space to stretch.
* I prefer to stretch in a place where there are no dogs trying to lick my face.
* I prefer to listen to music while stretching, or to use a work-out video or podcast while I stretch.
I like this.
First, it’s a more positive than the approach I would have taken.
Better than “I can’t seem to get out of bed earlier to stretch in the morning.” and “I’ve been sick and then catching up at work so I haven’t been to the gym.” Whine Whine Whine Whine Whine. The instant icky feeling I get from thinking about the resolution from that perspective is unpleasant and unlikely to change my behavior.
Second, these preferences – which I wrote down quickly without thinking too hard – are easy to meet with a few small changes.
I can stretch in my guest bedroom, so I can shut the door and avoid the dogs. This meets preferences one and two.
With the addition of a iPod payer and a DVD player in the right location, I should be able to meet my music/podcast/video needs. This takes care of preference three.
I feel in my gut that there are some other preferences that, if ignored, will continue to get in my way. Do I prefer to stretch in the morning or before bed? NO IDEA. Do I prefer to stretch at home or at the gym? NO IDEA. Perhaps these preferences will reveal themselves as the month continues. For now, I will try to honor these preferences and see if anything changes.
For some, this will seem like an awful lot of analysis – hardly the ’embrace the P’ lifestyle I’m trying to create.
But this was SO HARD. My fingers are still trying to get me to type the reasons why I haven’t been —– STOP IT!
What can I say? I’m stretching myself with this P thing – haha! get it? Stretching myself!