Experience

Looking Back to Plan Forward

I always look back when I plan. Knowing where I’ve been, what I’ve experienced, and how that has turned out helps me to make decisions about what to do differently in the future, as well as what not to change.

 

What you are not changing, you are choosing. – David Richo

 

Over the past few years, my goal has really been to whittle my overfull plate down to those things that actually “work” and dispense with what doesn’t in every area of my life. To pare down and simplify routines so they are manageable, effective, and make me happy. Because I’m the sort of person who is easily overwhelmed, this sort of planning is necessary. It may sound stifling to some, but it provides me with security and peace-of-mind.

 


Are you a planner? Or are you the kind of person who like to fly by the seat of your pants?


 

I try to plan around my priorities, which I set at the beginning (of the year, month, week, day). These priorities are in line with the feelings I want to produce (Core Desired Feelings/The Be-Do-Have principle). And I try to make room for a balance of activity (what I have to do/what I want to do/what I need to do).

I re-evaluate priorities and routines on a regular basis.

When I do, I take I to account what has gone well and what come easily, because those things have obviously become enough of a habit or part of my world that they are now foundational. Things that stick are either good habits that make me feel good, or bad ones that I need to work harder to overcome.

 


What are your priorities?


 

For example, I naturally like to journal in the morning. No matter what other routines I try to set up, this is the only one that has stuck. Exercising in the morning does not work for me. No matter what I have tried doing to “make myself” do it, I fail. So, it does no good to fight it. I choose journaling, planning, coffee, and snuggling with the cat in the morning.

 


Do you have particular routines?


 

An also drink more than I should in the evening. This is something I am continually trying to change, and I am intermittently successful. If I workout right when I get home, it derails the beginning of pattern. So, this is a habit I am not choosing. It is one I am working to change.

Likewise, I tend to de-prioritze my relationships, even though I know they are the most important thing. Maybe I do this because they are more complicated and harder to control than work, housekeeping, health/fitness/well-being…because they ask more of me and don’t lend themselves to “scheduling” or “planning.” This is something I am willing to work on continually.

 

May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. – Nelson Mandela

 

It takes careful reflection to make sure this process doesn’t lead us to “taking the easy way out” or avoiding challenge. Some activities are difficult or unpleasant but lead to things that will make our lives better and help us achieve our goals. For example, I hate starting a workout…but…it helps me avoid sitting, drinking, snacking…it gives me energy, and I actually feel better, even good, when I’m done.

And my choice to continue our journeys in D/s and non-monogamy? That choice reflects hope, rather than fear. In fact, it’s quite a but more about facing my fears, since I often avoid things that make me uncomfortable. But discomfort and risk (to which I am naturally averse), are akin to growth and adventure. And, as I am also compromising with Mr. D, stepping outside of my comfort zone is required.

 

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. – Neil Gaiman

 

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But I love the hopefulness of this statement.

Taking risks, trying, keeping going when all seems lost – these actions keep us moving forward so we don’t fall backward or remain stagnant. Sure, they can be scary, but if we go in to things accepting that we might fail, yet determining that we will get back up and go at it again, in a new way, with renewed fervor…well, we just might get somewhere, however slowly and clumsily.

I could apply this concept to so many facets of my life: my career, parenting, health…

But since this blog is mainly about marriage and sex, it seems most fitting to take that road.

We’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years. But I can really only speak to mine. And mainly my mistakes have revolved around self-centeredness, complacency, poor communication, and inconsistency.

I get wrapped up in my own head and focus too much on life outside of my relationships…when true living clearly is all about those relationships. I spend a lot of time planning and then just going through the motions, as if checking things off on a list is living. It’s not. Really, it’s just existing.

I won’t lie. I need routines and lists, and planning is my love language. 💓

But…there comes a time, after the planning, when I need to let those plans be. Let them be my guide, rather than my prison.

This is why less is more. Fewer plans. Simpler expectations. Doable To Do lists.

 


 

I write every morning, but I don’t always post what I write. Often I work on a post for several days, like this one, adding to it as inspiration arrives. So this is a conglomeration of several days’ worth of writing/journaling.

I also keep a separate journal. I pull from that journal and cut and paste bits and pieces of it to this space, as they relate.

 

Prompt 501: Looking back on 2021

January prompt: Mistakes (this is where the Neil Gaiman quote came from)

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7 Comments

  • Marie Rebelle

    “there comes a time, after the planning, when I need to let those plans be. Let them be my guide, rather than my prison.”

    I love planning too (need it), but the above is such a vital part of always having lists and goals. We can get lost in the planning, and feel like failures when we can’t even follow our own plans, and then it becomes a prison. I think being vigilant to let it be a guide is a hugely positive thing!
    ~ Marie xox

  • Mrs Fever

    I plan, but more along the lines of sketching a general outline. Filling in the picture is a much more flexible, often-changing, coloring-outside-the-lines exercise.

    That Neil Gaiman quote… I’ve seen it a lot lately; I’m not really a fan. Not because I don’t believe in making (or admitting, or learning from) mistakes, but because too often mistakes are REPEATED. Which means you are doing the opposite of what the quote implies. (Not ‘you’ personally, but the general ‘you’ of People Who Make Mistakes.) Also, I’m just not into “busy work” — so I feel like, “So what if you’re Doing Something?” A more important question — for me, anyway — is, “Is the ‘something’ I’m going MEANINGFUL?”

    (I’m curmudgeonly about semantics sometimes. That’s probably why this quote makes me grumpy. *laugh* Once an English major, always an English major.)

    A n y w a y

    “Do-able To-Do Lists” sounds like a good goal. Good luck!

    • Brigit Delaney

      I can see how the quote could be read in multiple ways. I chose to see it from one particular angle and ignore the rest. But, I get the semantics issue. I, too, am an English major…and I try to keep my red pen in check. It is super hard.

  • May More

    this is the third post where i see less is more and i am with u on this- i hardly never set goals or make resolutions – i kinda just try and do what seems right at the time – but i do reflect and occasionally learn from that – and mostly i dont lol
    Happy 2022 Brigit – look forward to your writing
    May xx

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