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Personal challenges and why they work better than making to-do lists (for me at least)

First of all, making something a personal challenge rather than another item on your long to-do list, implies right way that there will be something difficult inherent to getting whatever it is done. That's a good thing for a number of reasons.

One. Knowing it will be difficult (otherwise why is it even a challenge?) you can build into your game rules how you will get past the stumbling blocks (you already know they are there or whatever you want to accomplish wouldn't still be lounging on your lengthy to-do list taunting you).

Two. Dream big, start small. If your challenge is to ultimately find order in your house, finances, daily routines (whatever!), great! Shoot for the moon. But start with something like finding 10 things to donate to the thrift store every week or putting your coffee budget into your piggy bank for a month and see what changes in your life. Plan ahead for the times you know it will difficult, like coffee out with friends. Can you have your coffee at home and go to the coffee house for conversation? Can you do it just once at least and see what it's like? Start telling yourself," of course I can" rather than "It will be too hard." Once you move successfully through any resistance you have to keep up that one small act, you will have some momentum to build on. Take your time figuring out how to manage this task. Start over as many times as you need to. Once you manage to make it a habit you will be rewarded with some new confidence to take with you into your new challenge. And just so you know, there's some reward to be had in following through with a challenge that turns out not to be right for you. Even if you ultimately end up changing challenges for a better for your bigger life plans, you'll still get to keep the lessons learned from trying.

Three. Change your story from "I'm overwhelmed and I'll never get this all done so why even try and what can I find to distract me instead?" to "I'm finally on the

path I choose to be on, let's do this, it's fun to see what might come of this beginning, if I get nothing else done today I can meet this one challenge."

I have some automatic self-talk I use in times of doubt. For instance (I borrowed this, it's not original), I look at sugary treats now (which I no longer eat) and the first thing that comes to mind is "not my food." It's often followed by my favorite declaration "because I like being sugar free!" I used to declare sugary things "poison" but, personally, it works better for me to think of not eating sugar as something wonderful that I really want and relish in my life than to think of it as a dangerous or forbidden thing that I can't have. It really is a mindset.

So find what works for you on a small scale and get it down. Delight in that.

When you discover what that took, you can apply iessons learned to the next


Photo below is of me in Newport hanging my recent show of 86 paintings. Now THAT was a challenge!

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You are ALWAYS an inspiration my friend!

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