What’s Working: Embracing What Works for You

I am an avid fan of revision. I love to critique just about everything in my life, set goals, and then revise my habits to make things easier, smoother, better.

Except that all too often, I actually make them worse–meaning more difficult, more complicated, more energy-zapping.

I like to go all in, so if I’m enjoying working out, I think, “I should do this EVERY DAY.” And then when I can’t because, you know, life, I feel like I’ve fallen behind. So, my talent seems to lie in taking a good thing–working out–and making it into something negative through a lack of accepting things as they are and being content with it.

This year (inspired by Glennon Doyle Melton, my inspiration warrior) I decided to stop grading every aspect of my life in order to improve it. Instead, I’ve been focusing on what’s working, such as: working out three times a week; getting up early to read and pray; and watching an hour of tv with Bill most nights before bed. The old Emily would have turned working out into an all or nothing challenge, would have decided to get up at 5:00 instead of 5:30 because “more is always better,” and fretted about watching tv rather than “doing something.”

This change of focus has made life infinitely more enjoyable, peaceful, and, frankly, livable. For others, working out every day is essential, tv is the devil, and getting up early is more a chore than a blessing. But for me, this set of activities works well, and–I can’t even believe I’m typing this–there is no need for revision. In other areas of my life, like my faith and my work teaching, I want to grow, and that takes consistent assessment and revision. But (and this is key for me) not everything needs constant attention and development. This belief has allowed me to say no to more easily, to be present, and to be thankful. In short, it’s what’s working for me right now, and because I can rest in these habits, I have the energy to devote to other things that I believe need work.

And now, for a nice walk and easy dinner before tv time with my hubby, which sounds pretty damn good.

For more on figuring out what habits work best for you, I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before, which contains great insight into figuring out what works for you.

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