What Comes After?
We all have our “afters”.
Right now we have “after the holidays I’ll drink less or eat less, after I finish the last pecan square I’ll give up sugar, after I recuperate from all the traveling and family stuff I’ll get back to work.”
After is the place to start. “I’ll start X after I finish A”, we tell ourselves.
Logical, reasonable, we made a sensible choice… no?
What about the choice we made before the current after, the decision, the commitment we made to do this thing now, or then, but never “after” something else?
At the time we said “I will do this by the 4th”, we had no thoughts of “after.” No “I’ll do it unless I don’t feel like it — then I’ll do it after.”
Then the Reptilian brain got hold of something that smells of change, progress, of breaking the old habits and it presented us with a gift, and idea.
It’s day two of a new year. Day two, goals up ahead, enthusiasm or at least that new year sort of motivation at the ready, and we’re off. Wait, it’s a short work-week, only three days of this new year that are work days and then we have the weekend. What can you get done in 3 days? Why not push some of this off til after the weekend?
I thought about doing that very thing today. It’s New Year’s eve. Who works on New Year’s eve? But I made a commitment to get certain things done and so I also made myself a promise for the coming year. Here it is. Every time I feel like sidestepping a plan or something on my to do list I first must ask, “how will blowing this off make me feel?”
The easy answer is, “great” because I get to put off something I’m clearly not in the mood for — usually something of major importance like writing or connecting with someone. The truthful answer is, “like crap” as soon as the feeling of skipping school fades. (Wish I’d known this way back then.)
There are other questions I could ask, the coaching type that hold a hint of judgment, like “Will not doing this thing move you closer to your goal or further away?” In good moments, this one works fine — but I can rationalize the hell out of it.
This year I’m determined to include how I want to feel in the decisions I make.
If I think 20 minutes ahead to how I’ll feel after I eat those crackers/chips/cookies etc. I get powerful feedback from my body memory on just how my gut and head will feel, and don’t forget a good dose of self-loathing.
How will I feel in March when the milestones to a book written have not been checked off? Even though I’m not even in the process yet I get a feeling of ick, disappointment, and sort of like those dreams we have all had where you walk outside and you are naked. (My common horror dreams when I was a chef involved me putting off doing the prep or not being able to find the place I was to do the catering and suddenly it was time for the party.) Like that, and that’s so not what I would choose to feel.
Here’s the after I’m after — champagne, a massage, the happy dance after a prospect chooses us to support their brilliance. I want the rewards I’ve designated for after certain milestones have been reached. The feeling that comes with those is “Yes! I frickin’ did what I said I’d do.” Not only do I get that feeling, but if I keep doing the thing now and now rather than after, I will end up with a book, or new clients, or a body I feel good in.
The box my behemoth came in, (If you aren’t sure what I’m referring to read the note) hangs on my wall. The image of it is the one you see here with this article.
The biggest thing I wish for you every day, regardless of the time of year, is that you do what you are here to do today, not after, because the world needs the successful you now. You need the physical and emotional nutrition of showing up, moving through, and being your brilliant self. It’s just after that that the biggest rewards, the ones you can’t plan for, are waiting.
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