Saturday, February 11, 2006

If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got

This morning I gave a motivational workshop for my writers group called Getting Rid of the Junk That Holds Us Back. I talked about time wasters, negative attitudes, unrealistic goals, low expectations and perfectionism to name a few topics. I asked members to look at themselves, be real and own up to the behaviors that drag them down, and then I challenged them to find ways to mofify those behaviors and get rid of the trash. Ahead of time I had asked them to bring one small (clean) piece of trash. I listed the negative behaviors on slips of paper which they then stuffed into their empty paper towel rolls and vitamin bottles. At the end I carried around a trash bag and each person threw away their "junk."

What really touched me was how eager people were to get rid of that crud, to start fresh and be determined to move ahead with positive outlooks. Isn't it great how every day is a chance to start over? I'm thinking about developing this into a longer, interactive workshop. Or maybe a book. :-)


  1. I loved this post and think that it is such a great idea.

    Your post title ("If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you always got") reminds of something one of my professors in college told us. He once told us a story about a person who kept getting stuck on a muddy road. They continued to get stuck time after time because they always followed the same path and got stuck in a rut that they couldn't get out of. He told us to look at ourselves and see if we were in a rut in relationships, work, or life in general. If so, all we needed to do was follow a different path by turning the wheel to get out of the rut. He told us that frequently in classes..."Don't forget to turn the wheel." To me, this basically meant that if you see something is not working in your life, change it.

    I think that this could apply to the negative behaviors we have too. If we continue to let them drag us down, we'll get stuck in a rut and won't go forward. I think it is a great idea to identify or acknowledge the negative behaviors in our lives. Like turning a wheel to get out of a rut, changing these behaviors can definitely help to change our outlooks on life.

    Thanks for the great post!

    -Jennifer Y.

  2. I think it's easy to get bogged down with everyday stuff and forget what a gift each day is. I think it's the same thing when you have a baby. You look at that baby and think what a miracle this is but then as they grow and hit their teenage years sometimes you forget how blessed you felt to have them.

    That is a great analogy, thank you. I read one that goes like this: a man comes upon another in the forest who is sweating and laboring and working like mad to cut down a tree. He saws and saws and saws, but his saw blade is so dull that he's not making any progress. The observer asks, "Why don't you sharpen your saw?" to which the frenzied man replies, "I don't have time to sharpen my saw, I have to get this tree cut down!"

    So many times we find ourselves in that same situation, laboring away at tasks that would be so much easier if only we would take time to sharpen our saws. For me as a writer the things that sharpen my saw are reading, watching great movies (thank you guys for all the wonderful suggestions--you're helping me sharpen my saw) and allowing myself other non-writing related creative outlets, and yes--thrift-store, antique and garage sale shopping. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    God sure knew what He was doing, didn't He? He makes babies sweet and helpless, unable to SPEAK yet, adorably cute, smelling wonderful, needing us, all the while knowing we'll fall in love with them and nurture them until they're old enough to do all those things on their own. Then by the time they're teenagers, we already love them, have years invested and can't kill 'em. LOL Imagine if you were given a teenager without that bonding baby process. Nobody would want children!!

  4. Your exercise reminds me of one from a Feng Shui teacher who came to talk to my support group. She said the best way to make sure energy flows and doesn't get trapped is to get rid of nine things in your surroundings every day that have no significant value to you or you have not touched in a while. This may sound extreme but she reminded us of junk mail, magazines you meant to read but haven't had the chance to; receipts, "paid bills", etc. She even said this about books (yea- i almost keeled over when she said that); she said the energy of the book has to move on-if you're not ever going to read the book again--get rid of it, pass it on, donate it--let the book's energy or chi move on...

    As with everything else in our lives, we tend to hold on to things that we don't realize actually drag us down. If you cleanse your life of the things that are just hanging and surround yourself with what is important ro your life...well, it's not quantity but quality that makes life better.

  5. Cheryl--I almost missed you post. We're on at the same time. I'm laughing at

    "by the time they're teenagers, we already love them, have years invested and can't kill 'em"

    because that's what I wanted to do yesterday. Thank goodness I've already fallen in love with them, that a bar of Lindt chocolate...

  6. I so badly wish I could have attended this workshop! I need help. lol! I always see the glass as half empty and I'm really depressed and would love to get rid of the "junk".

  7. Cheryl: I really liked your analogy too. And LOL to your theory about teenagers...LOL!!!

    Meljprincess: I am the same way and would love to get rid of some "junk"!

    -Jennifer Y.

  8. Jennifer,

    That was so will said! It's hard though to make changes because it's such a scary thing to do! What if you turn that wheel and find yourself in a worse place and wishing you were back in your rut!

  9. Carol,
    I guess you would just turn the wheel again. I must admit that I struggle with this. I get used to and comfortable with how things are going, that I am resistant to change (even when I know it is for the best). I guess it is just the fear of the unknown. Sometimes you just got to take a chance. The results may surprise you.

    Wow, this post and everyone's comments are really making me think today!!! Thanks!!!

  10. Thanks for the great idea, Cheryl,

    I would love to get rid of my emotional trash this way. You are right! if not dealt in a timely manner all the rubbish just sits there stinking there in your mind and heart. It really weighs down a person.

    Have a GREAT day and continued success with your books,


  11. Thank God for the internet! Check out (I had TWO of her books, I was so disorganized!)& I have an Omaha friend at who wrote 3 books that may help. I have 15 books on the subject & can now locate 12 of them thanks to these authors. Cheryl, I'm inviting you to Papillion April 1 to hear Cyndy.