The following is a guest post from Lee, author of Becoming Unencumbered
“Creating the best life management system is LESS about WHAT you do & HOW you do it & MORE about WHY you do it & that you actually DO it.”
It All Begins With Asking Why
I spend a lot of time talking and listening to women about managing our lives. Those lives are busy and demanding. They need constant maintenance and organization.
In many conversations, there is often an undercurrent of battle fatigue, often times bordering on despair. Phrases like, “I don’t know what to do, or how to do it, or I can’t …” pop up with regularity.
So does, “…if I could just do it like…, get it like…, … it needs to be like…, I can’t because it’s not like…” and so on.
I empathize, because I know of those frantic, tired moments where it feels like everything is a whirlwind. But also, the defiant side of me thinks, “Where did the idea originate in our heads that we don’t know how to manage our own lives? Why do we believe that someone else has the right answer, or holds the secret, to making everything just right”? Why do we have to do it that way? and why does the word “like” keep showing up!?”
Like what? Who? Why not like me?
These are not idle questions when trying to reshape our lives. The answers to these questions can be key to helping us realize that no matter how many tips we read, beautiful pins we see on Pinterest, or how much advice we are given, none of it matters if we don’t understand and acknowledge our own motivations.
If we don’t understand the why that is motivating us, we could spend a lot of time doing one of many non-purposeful actions, such as:
- Testing and trying, but rarely achieving. (Because we weren’t clear on our intended outcome in the first place so we risk being more overwhelmed and giving up.)
- Planning and perfecting, but stuck in start. (Because we are unsure of achieving the vision of some other person’s outcome and insecure.)
- Trying but not satisfying and feeling like we failed. (Because we think our good enough isn’t as good as what other examples has convinced us is success.)
This is where it needs to be emphatically emphasized that none of this usually requires deep analysis. It should not be another form of analysis paralysis that keep you from taking action. Rather, it should be considered a part of the necessary tools and supplies before starting any project to ensure our actions are a purposeful and valuable use of our precious time.
The Importance of Why
Everything we do has a reason or trigger, whether we are aware of it at the time or not. That is the why.
Our actions and behaviors stem from some desire, ideal, or instinct we have either developed from within, or incorporated from outside ourselves (the triggers). This forms the basis of our habits and those habits become our lifestyle. Every day, through either our passive or active actions, we either emphasize or reduce certain habits.
So, if we want to change those habits and our lives, we will have to reverse the process that led to them. We might need to address some triggers, by implementing new ones or eliminating others, in order to create new habits.
And that will bring us back to WHY.
What The Why Can Tell Us
Why we want to do something or not (or think we want to or not).
Why we want or need something a certain way (patterns, influences and examples).
Why this or that makes us feel a certain way about ourselves (leading to an examination of whether that is valid or not).
Ultimately, managing our life is about us. Our habits, quirks, rhythms, preferences and dislikes. There is no system that can quantify that for us without our unique input. It will only work if it reflects who we are. And while it may never be perfect in practice, it is in form because we have created a system based on our perfectly imperfect selves.
Starting with why sets our foundation and provides clarity. Oftentimes we will find that what we thought we needed or wanted was not it at all. Or, how we thought we should do it, didn’t matter very much.
Most importantly, we will (hopefully) realize that all we really need is to get to the act of doing and adapt as we go along.
About the author
Lee Chinshue Coello is a WAHM mother of three dedicated to living simply, but fully. She is an avid reader, runner, cyclist, lover of crazy workouts and organizing projects. She describes her life as “raising her three kids as her biggest challenge, being married to her husband as her greatest adventure and striving to live life as she feels it is supposed to be as her personal goal”.
With degrees in International Affairs and Public Health she is very passionate about issues affecting personal health and well-being. With the birth of her children, she chose to prioritize family life and combined her passions and knowledge to work for herself providing life management solutions for individuals. Always on a quest to learn about and create the best quality of life, and help others along the way, she writes about life and its lessons on her blog Becoming Unencumbered.
photo credit: Kel Wilson