You’ve Gotta Really Want to Change

Today, I’m functioning from bed; nursing a migraine that made itself known as soon as I opened my eyes. I’m planning the next Challenge, which starts Monday, and I am so excited for it. It’s gonna be hard. Technically, it’s gonna be the hardest one I’ve done so far. It means giving up one habit that breaks into a thousand small habits. It takes research and planning. I’m nervous. But I really want to do it, and I’m itching to start.

That’s what every Challenge needs to be.

Removing television… wasn’t.

The decision to remove television — or more technically, to pull it back to one show a day — came from a recommendation back in November that I needed to remove something from my daily life in order to consider it abstinence and not just add something in, as I was planning with my qi gong idea (which morphed into the Wonder Woman power poses). I completely agree with them that in order to fit the bill of My Year something had to be removed but, in looking back, realize that I sold myself short: what I really needed and wanted to change was not to be found in taking out television.

Yes, I had recognized that too much of my time was spent endlessly streaming Gilmore Girls, and it was smart to shift that habit. But I didn’t need a Challenge to do that — just choosing to made that happen. Because it wasn’t an extreme problem and because my heart wasn’t completely in it, I failed for the first time this Year: there were a few nights I watched more than one episode. Were I to go back in my notes and mark which days I didn’t watch any I’m sure it would all balance out anyway, but that’s not the point. I didn’t go through with it because I didn’t really care. I wasn’t feeling well, and it abstaining in the moment didn’t make sense.

The caring part is the point of all of this. The caring is why I’m doing My Year versus someone else’s self-help program, where they tell me what to do. I cared about removing negative thought from my life, and that’s the habit I fully attacked in January, with heart. I’m still at it. As I’m on an Everything Bagel Day, I can’t just stream hours of television like I normally would on a migraine day… and I probably should be doing that, rather than taxing my brain with words on a screen or in books. Television is a healthful diversion for me and many people with illness, and only we understand how and why that is. And by forcing something upon myself — for don’t misunderstand me, I made the choice for the Challenge on my own — I did myself a dishonest disservice.

But, there’s no one to tell me how to do this, I guess. I’m figuring it out as I go along. I’m not beating myself up for it, but at the start of all of this I promised to fess up for any mistakes, missteps, and mischance. So here I am, with a lesson learned:

You have to pick something you really want to change, Jacqueline. Something as “easy” as whittling down television won’t be achievable if you don’t really want it enough. Something so, so hard — like practicing ZERO WASTE FOR A MONTH in a city where you can’t compost or easily buy in bulk — is gonna be much harder.

But you’re so excited to try.

So thats it. Monday, I start practicing Zero Waste for thirty days. And I can’t wait for Monday.



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