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On the plus side: life with dignity, Day 5

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yesterday I mentioned the "down" side of cleaning up my act, home organization version. I am far from done with this effort, but as with the losing weight and taking better care of my physical health, it's going to take time to get to the balance I desire in terms of shall I call it "environmental health".

It occurs to me that I have in some ways used my "messy" home in the same way I used to use the layers of fat on my body: to push people away! As well as to procrastinate making decisions or admitting to myself how I felt about certain things (can't toss a charity flyer... that would make me a "bad" person, don't you know?)

Here's something that my current efforts are making possible that before would have had me cringing: hosting my brother should he come to town next month! With a few little efforts over the course of even five days, it starts to look do-able, possible, and I hope it works out.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 6/18/2011 11:57AM

    You've grown in so many ways as a person! As the walls of protective weight have melted away and you've burrowed through walls of emotional intimidation, you're now facing another wall of "protection" that you're ready to let go of. It's not easy to let go of those protective walls. They were built for a reason. And yet, there's fresh air and freedom on the other side of that wall!

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SUNNY332 6/18/2011 8:12AM

    I absolutely believe that a messy home can lead to extra unwanted pounds. Simplifying and cleaning out can lead to renewed commitment to keeping the pounds off too. Way to go, my emoticon!!

Keep up the great work.


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_LINDA 6/17/2011 1:02PM

    Good advice given, like everything else, do this one step at a time. Pick the worst area and get it done, one part per day. It would be awesome to host your brother! Like everything else you are putting that amazing mind to, you will get it done!!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/17/2011 12:59PM

    Good luck -- I hope it works out, too!

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MARVEEME 6/17/2011 8:47AM

    AWESOME progress on the homefront! My niece asked me once how I keep my house so organized and clean. I laughed and told her that I took a look at how all those people on the Soap Operas live, and made a conscious effort to mirror their uncluttered and classy living spaces, even though I know it's a set. We laughed at the time, but awhile later she came back to me and told me that the comment stuck in her head and worked for her too. Maybe the thought will help you too. LOL

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KALIGIRL 6/17/2011 8:22AM

    What a cool reward!
I hope he can stay with you.

It's interesting to see how people are so similar yet so different. I'm a can't stand a mess person, but the dust and dirt can be a mile high. (Mom used to wonder where my clothes were only to find the dirty ones stuffed under the bed...)

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MIRAGE727 6/17/2011 8:05AM

    Hey, Cornhusker! My wife is from Lincoln. I had a black hole called a walk in closet. She tells me to tackle one shelf in my closet a day. Guess what? I'm almost done. SO, set a goal of one small area at a time. You can do it as you have done an amazing job getting to your goal so far. Go Big Red!

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MSLZZY 6/17/2011 7:55AM

    emoticonand it will be worth the effort-hugs!

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JOURNEYTO60 6/17/2011 7:42AM

    I hope it works out too! I think it will. I can really relate to this blog! During the school year, I move through my day attending to my job and everyone else's needs. I rarely look at taking care of myself and I certainly spend little time on my house. This summer I took time off to really put myself back on track. I am working on "me" and my house too. Yesterday I had family in town and I could invite them over without a thought about what the house looked like. It was quite a feeling! We are both on the same path this week! Thank you for sharing. It is fun to relate to someone!

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KIAHT6 6/17/2011 7:29AM

    Thanks for sharing

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ELRIDDICK 6/17/2011 7:13AM

  Thanks for sharing!

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WATERMELLEN 6/17/2011 7:13AM


Interesting connection: layers of "fat", layers of "mess". You've got me thinking!!


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So let's talk about Day 4 of Life with? dignity?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So, the viewpoint of living with dignity (not new, long desired, just prioritized recently) is still a bit like "wet paint", not yet established habit. I have to be learning something, right?

On the good front: the work I've been doing with cleaning and de-cluttering has brought me up short against something we all face when trying to change habits. "What's that?" you might well ask. It is, says the sage, finding out that the previous "bad" behavior had some positive use to you!

What possible use could there be in having a messy home? In being ashamed of it? Here's your punch line: it made it easier to brush people off AT THE DOOR, say "No" more firmly, and not waste my time being more polite.

Last night as I was finishing my workout, the doorbell rang. Had it been the telephone, I would have read the caller ID, and if it was someone I didn't recognize, let the machine pick up. I suppose one could do the same with the doorbell... peek out the window or peephole, and if it's not someone you want to see...

But, I was vulnerable, the house was in better shape than it's been for a while, and I was breathlessly full of endorphins and pride (26 sit-ups, people, count 'em!). I opened the door to a fresh faced young man with a very persistent and pushy sales pitch. But he made several errors in his people reading. I must look like a total patsy or something!

I told him 1) I'd never heard of his company (don't panic, I looked it up on the internet, it's a reputable and legitimate one, I just wasn't in the market for this kind of product), 2) I had not seen his signs in the neighborhood, and 3) I was not considering the product for purchase. This should have been a good sign to him that I was not a "real" prospect.

Still he wanted to show me what he'd install "for free" if I'd be his show home... and then spent nearly an hour of my time pulling out slick brochures and describing technology that I have no intention of purchasing! I was curious enough and I like techno-toys as well as the next guy, so I listened to the sales pitch, but when he got around to the attached subscription price I said "It's not in my budget, sorry." Yeah, the initial installation would be "free", the equipment "free", but it would cost $$$ every month for the support services (which are NOT optional).

TANSTAAFL: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. I had been waiting to hear how much this free lunch would cost. But when I said "no" after he finally disclosed the cost to me, he comes up with "Then why were we sitting here talking about this?" OMG. The young man practically put his foot in my door and forced his way in! I was being polite. I listened to what he had to say. He clearly was ignoring my earlier messages that I wasn't interested. After he came out with that statement, I changed my mind.

His attitude at that point was clearly that I had wasted his time. Well, no. I was a wimp. I allowed him to waste MY time! Why did I do that?

The kicker is, his sales pitch included a lot of scare stories of bad things that can happen, and I ended up with a touch of insomnia afterward. Grrrr! So he wasted more of my time than that single hour.

To pull the balance back the other way... in the face of tossing and turning, I got up early enough to do a treadmill jog before breakfast.

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 6/18/2011 11:50AM

    It's so true that our excess weight or messy house serves a purpose, even though it's often an unconscious one. As Dr. Phil says, "What's the payoff? There's ALWAYS a payoff!"

When we figure out what the payoff is, it often frees us to be able to deal with the real issues that can block our progress.

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/16/2011 10:28PM

    You just reaffirmed my policy ... If I am not expecting someone, I don't answer the door! (i very rarely have friends just drop in, so it doesn't really interfere with my social life! Even with a no soliciting sign, I still get people who start with "I'm not selling ..." yeah, right! But ya know what? This is my home, not someone's business, so I don't feel bad about ignoring them. Rest well tonight, and keep that front door locked!

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COMPUCATHY 6/16/2011 9:08PM

    So sorry you had your time intruded on like that. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to be nice...unfortunately. Hang in there! Sounds like your housecleaning is going GREAT! Good for you! Keep up the good work! Spark on! emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 6/16/2011 4:13PM

    Congrats on the improvement in your home and organization. I hope to follow in your footsteps on that one. Congrats on your continuing success with increasing fitness. Hope to follow you there, too. Now those sales pitches are the pits. Let's see, in the past 30 years I've endured pitches about water filtration, fire protection, knives, cosmetics, time shares, vacuum cleaners, and I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two. The only one I actually bought I regretted. I believe I am swearing off sales pitches. Hope you do, too!

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WATERMELLEN 6/16/2011 3:44PM

    You are waaaaay more polite than I will ever be!! I really resent phone solicitors, door-to-door sales people . . . that is, I resent them if I let them waste my time!!

But then: my house is pretty much always messy!!

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SUECHRIS50 6/16/2011 10:28AM

    I have a good idea for ya!Go to your computer and make a NO SOLICITORS sign like I did!It really works! emoticonSUSAN
P.S=Decluttering your home is food for your soul!!

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MARVEEME 6/16/2011 10:15AM

    Lesson learned. Start keeping the storm door locked, and if you ever open your door to "see who it is" never unlock that storm door unless you're SURE you WANT them inside.

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TURTLETALK 6/16/2011 9:02AM

    I realize that everyone needs to make a living but I really value my alone time and it ruins my day when someone infringes on that to try to sell me something. I hate to say that I tend to be quite rude when it happens.

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KALIGIRL 6/16/2011 8:40AM

    Barb - your graciousness is wonderful. I thought perhaps your visitor was one of the young Mormon men who are visiting Lincoln. They are the ones I have trouble saying no to...

Sorry for the tossing and turning - maybe you were exercising in your sleep?

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MNTWINSGAL 6/16/2011 8:09AM

    I had a similar experience once....with my brother in law of all people! He was going to sell vacuums, and said he needed to practice his sales pitch. I said we weren't in the market for a thousand-plus dollar vacuum. He said it was ok, but could he just use us for practice? It was required by his sales manager. So he came in and demonstrated his product. And we asked all the questions a potential buyer might ask. And when it came time to sign the sales agreement, I said...."ummmm, you know we're not really buying the vacuum, right?" He was mad, asking why we were wasting his time if we weren't going to buy. I reminded him I thought I was being helpful...but I guess people just hear what they want to hear. In my case, he thought he was such a stellar salesman that he'd win a sale. Nope. He was out of the business within a week. Even his own mother wouldn't buy a vacuum.

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HAVE-MERCY 6/16/2011 7:18AM

    Good lesson for us all! You and your time are more important than that. Sounds like you realize that and respect that now. I think others will follow suit. emoticon

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MSLZZY 6/16/2011 7:11AM

    That's one way to de-stress. Sorry you had such a poor experience.

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LEEZAB 6/16/2011 6:57AM

  great post. Very thoughtful! You are doing great! I want to hear more about the decluttering!

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Day 3: Life with dignity AND exercise

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Having a new "purpose/project", one that has "come" to me by a soak in solitude and rest and evaluation is very energizing, I find. I have to give myself the grace of time, and work through the "should" and the "wish-I-was-normal" to acceptance and a goal. As with weight loss, changing any life-long habit is a "lather - rinse - repeat" process that is a failure only if one gives up!

So... on Tuesday morning, I vacuumed my bedroom. Before work. And gazed on the result and felt good. I know, there are Sparkers out there who do NOT struggle with this aspect of their lives, but I do. So I'm feeling good about this small act of self-nurturing and more important than the act: VIEWING it as self-nurturing!

My rebellion against chores around the house and yard is centered over other people saying I SHOULD or HAVE to do X, Y, or Z. So, the key to this, as it is to weight / activity management, is in changing the way I think about it: turning it from a should into a want to and further into an "I'm worth it."

This inner mental / emotional work is vital to success in changing long-entrenched habits.

On the exercise front: I'm back in training, having committed to a 5K on July 22nd. I went outside after work (and after handling the mail emoticon) to assess my starting point. I walked a brisk 5 minutes, then jogged two, did a recovery walk for 3, then started jogging 3, walking 3 for the rest of my 2.6 mile dog-walk route. What I discovered is that I'm in better shape than I was last Fall when I started training for a November 5K. We'll see how this goes! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 6/18/2011 6:58AM

    My dust rats are lurking in all corners and growing very big... I blame the new puppy that makes it very hopeless to clean right now, I have put away the carpets until he is housetrained and try to feel okay with it. But to be honest, I am not taking good care of myself!

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MNTWINSGAL 6/15/2011 9:52PM

    Sounds like you are making progress with the de-cluttering, AND the training for the July 22 run. Way to go!

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MSLZZY 6/15/2011 8:47PM

    Good luck! Sounds like you are ready to go!

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WATERMELLEN 6/15/2011 7:40PM

    Love that "lather rinse repeat" approach: I'm not much of a housekeeper either. Admire that you're working on it . . .

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KALIGIRL 6/15/2011 1:12PM

    Love "a soak in solitude and rest and evaluation is very energizing" - a great way to reassess and move forward.

I too hate those 'shoulda, woulda, coulda's'- seems whenever I find an obstacle its because my 'bad' child heard those words somewhere before...

So glad you're training for the 5K and I'd be honored to meet you @ the Volkswalk - I'm hoping to walk/run it (our UNL trainer says we 'should' be able to complete it in 17 three minute runs and one minute walk intervals - 11 minute miles)
emoticon I'll be happy with 12 minute run and 13 minute walk

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_LINDA 6/15/2011 12:56PM

    Must be on the same plane. I just finally vacuumed my suite this morning after 75 minutes of cardio. I don't clean all that often as I should, for a person with allergies is supposed to keep their place spotless ;) I actually like cleaning, but since committing to a healthy lifestyle and regular, daily exercise, I don't feel like it all that often, as I am supposed to rest my arthritic joints after exertion and I can see why. But it feels good when I am done. Good luck with this new goal. Well done with your jogging! Always a bonus to find out you aren't too badly out of shape!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/15/2011 9:07AM

    "My rebellion against chores around the house and yard is centered over other people saying I SHOULD or HAVE to do X, Y, or Z. So, the key to this, as it is to weight / activity management, is in changing the way I think about it: turning it from a should into a want to and further into an "I'm worth it."

That paragraph spoke to me. I am in that same boat. Yet for the time being I must focus more on my weight loss journey. But that isn't an excuse to let everything else in my house go to heck in a handbasket. You have inspired me.

Keep up the good work, Barb. And congrats on beginning training for your 5K in July. Having trained in November, your body has not lost all of its strength -- so you're ahead of the game, in my opinion.

Have a great day!

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CONCHA77 6/15/2011 8:54AM

    Hey Barb, How are you?
I am sure that your run will go very well, Barb. You are so very dedicated! emoticon
As far as the house work, I am pretty good at the upkeep, but it's my bedroom that is a never ending battle. I am always trying to clean out my closets and drawers and it's just a mess. Too much stuff is my problem. Time to downsize.
Have a great day!

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Day 2: Life with dignity

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Yesterday was a work day, and I did end up staying an extra half hour at the end of the day, because it happens. So I didn't have a whole lot of "let's organize the house" kind of energy left.

I have determined one of my "fast start" goals for this effort. Don't laugh. It's kind of like the "drink 8 glasses of water" basic. That makes it a good goal. No, it's not "shine your sink".

It is "handle ALL of today's mail today"... no leaving bits of it on the kitchen counter to pile up. If I can manage to start doing this consistently, it should help a lot with the accumulation of clutter, as most of my visible clutter is paper! Onward to a more orderly, functional home!

On the fitness front: my son has challenged me to join him in a 5K on a Friday evening in July. It involves a finish line at a local minor league baseball stadium and free tickets to the ball game. A mom-son bonding opportunity. If you wanted to design the perfect bait, that would be it, for me. He's trying to motivate himself, and in the "helper" personality brain, I can say I'm doing this "for" him, but really, I need it just as much as he does.

So... I get to train for a running event. Time to start up the jogging again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 6/15/2011 6:22AM

    New goal! emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 6/14/2011 9:06PM

    Sounds like a great Mom/Son idea! Better get training! As for the mail....I've tried that too, but can't seem to get the hang of it. The accumulated paper is definitely my housekeeping downfall. Good luck to can give me pointers later!

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WATERMELLEN 6/14/2011 5:41PM

    Two good plans: paperwork AND running!! Best of luck with both!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/14/2011 5:19PM

    I don't like a lot of junk/paper sitting around -- part of my OCD, I think. But don't ever, EVER, open my closet doors. (That's where I hide it all.) I think I need to take a lesson from you and start de-junking my closets. Just the thought of it overwhelms me.

Have fun training for the 5K with your son. What a wonderful time for mother/son bonding. I would love to do something like that (though it would have to be a walk). But my sons are a bit too young yet to appreciate "dear OLD mom." Maybe in a few years . . . . (Sigh)

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ANDI571 6/14/2011 11:37AM

    Junk, where does it come from. My portable dish washer gets it all. I can't seem to keep it clean. I clean it and the counter and it comes right back. I think the cat does it, lol.

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_LINDA 6/14/2011 11:17AM

    That is a great goal when you get a lot of paper work.. I have bills automatically charged to my account or credit card so no paper trail and very convenient, no worries of missing a pyment or losing a bill in the mail or due to a postal strike. That is great you and your son will be going in a 5 K!!! I always thought people who like to jog did it regularly, not just got back into to train for a race..
You guys will do great!

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MSLZZY 6/14/2011 10:40AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonA challenge! You can do it!

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BUGGYS 6/14/2011 9:16AM

    I actually have two piles of junk paper/bills on my kitchen table and having two piles, it doesn't look too bad but you have motivated me to weed through it all and get it under control!!! What a great thing that your son wants to do the race with you...a goal for both of you and a great bonding time ( that is, if you can breath and talk at the same time during the race!lol) emoticon

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KALIGIRL 6/14/2011 8:50AM

    emoticon - that's been my New Year's Resolution for the last 10 years!
If anyone can emoticon

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WISLNDR 6/14/2011 8:20AM

    I just might have to do the "mail thing" too. I hate the little piles that lay around . . . . . . . OH!! Tonight the paper recycling goes out to the curb, what great timing! Thanks for the great idea!!

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NANA717 6/14/2011 8:10AM

    I love your goal of taking care of today's mail completely!! I'm going to put that in practice today. Thank you!! Blessings!

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KATHRYNLP 6/14/2011 8:09AM

    Every little bit helps.... and isn't your son the best? He cares, and doesn't want to push you.. just nudge! I love it! emoticon

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LEEZAB 6/14/2011 7:29AM

  I just handled a weeks worth of mail and it is easy to pile up! I also am in an organizing mode. I would love if my sons challenged me to a run or maybe a walk. What a nice gesture!!Good luck!

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Overdoing isn't only a matter of exercise...

Monday, June 13, 2011

I've learned the lesson about taking it slowly with exercising, but I haven't necessarily "got it" when it comes to house / yard work. I need to transfer some of the consistency to "living life with dignity"... without killing myself or my motivation by overdoing.

Yesterday I started in with the living room carpet, shifting furniture out of the room so I could shampoo it. In the middle of this, I noticed the jugs of "gray water" that I save from my shower. They needed to be taken out and used to water some "patches" in the lawn I've been giving special attention to. While doing that, I pulled some weeds. While doing that I noticed the cussed volunteer trees springing back to life after I'd taken them down last Autumn. And I went to get the snippers and the lawn bag to give that a little attention.

You get the idea: distraction from one purpose to pursue something that looks more urgent, scattering purposes all over. I got some of the yard things done. I did finish the living room carpet job (and rearranged the furniture while I was at it). But... it's hard to stop, and I took on yet another chore that I have NOT completed before I ran out of gas. I face a work week with a half-finished home project cluttering up my living space.

This is not a new scenario! Sometimes I start small, do just one thing, stop, and tell myself if I just do one small thing a day, I'll make better progress on this purpose. And then the work week takes my energy... I end up at work an extra half hour and my energy is gone... at least for the purpose of house / yard.

Still, this is Day 1 of "Life with dignity"... my creating a harmonious functioning haven out of my home. I've dropped the weight. I AM taking care of my health. That's still primary, can't drop that. But I deserve more: I deserve to live in a dignified and orderly environment.

I can do this: one day at a time. It just has to be a priority.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 6/15/2011 6:34AM


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MSLZZY 6/14/2011 10:41AM

    Sounds like my days! More to do than can be done but you try it anyway!

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KALIGIRL 6/13/2011 12:46PM

    " I deserve to live in a dignified and orderly environment."
Amen - love it!

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_LINDA 6/13/2011 10:50AM

    I do understand that issue of getting distracted doing one chore when you notice another needs doing. But my RA has helped in this regard. I go at one task with gusto and I have to pretty much rest and splint my hands they are in such bad shape after any chore. So it may take me longer to get things done, but they are at least finished completely before I get to the next one.
One step at a time really does work..Hope you can get it working for yourself!

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WATERMELLEN 6/13/2011 10:39AM

    I like this "living with dignity" concept: have to say, however, that for a domestically challenged person such as myself, there is more of a tendency to walk away from EVERYTHING that needs doing . . . than to fragment my energies. We need some sort of swap meet or exchange to even things out, maybe!!

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TURTLETALK 6/13/2011 10:27AM

    I think I could use some of your energy! I do also have the issue of getting distracted by a new chore while doing another. I have been trying to sort shoes for a week but I always seem to find something else urgent that needs done.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/13/2011 9:05AM

    "Just for today . . . . " Your intention of doing one small thing today to help reach a goal works not only with losing/maintaining weight, but with other things too. Good luck and best wishes to your new "plan!"

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KATHRYNLP 6/13/2011 9:04AM

    The faster we go.. the behinder we get! Been there.. bought the tee-shirt! emoticon

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MARVEEME 6/13/2011 8:14AM


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