Everyone has incomplete projects. Perhaps it is sorting the recycling from last year. Cleaning the storage area. Fixing the bicycle. Submitting the expense report. The question is: is there a reason it is incomplete, (you have a plan with an end date), or is it just not done?
It is normal to have unresolved personal matters, too. Relationships require both give and take from both parties. But…well, you know what I am going to ask. Have you done what YOU can do regarding the unresolved situation? Or are you just walking around it, wishing it would go away, or holding your breath that it at least stays dormant until you get somewhere else?
Carrying around old, unresolved matters and incomplete projects takes a lot of your energy. I contend that it takes much more than you’ve allowed yourself to realize! Imagine an old resentment as a 5 lb bag of flour you are carrying around. And the unpainted hallway, the phone calls you owe, the un-filed taxes, the clothes strewn across the floor (still to be sorted) are each a 5 lb sack to carry, too. Imagine all your other “incompletions” too, and how each is an additional 5 lb bag. Envision how you have to maneuver with these bags. Perhaps you need to tie them together, hoist them from one arm to the other. You need to repair some if you’ve dragged them on the ground. You’re carrying a lot…do you need to get a wagon? You have to stop to rest, frequently, but you still keep adding more bags. Ugh.
Better living requires that you develop the skills to clean it all up, completely. The ultimate goal is to be clean and clear, so that you may fully handle new situations as they occur. The benefit in “being complete?” More time, more space and more energy for better living today and therefore for the future.
Make a list of all your incompletions…from home, from work, and in your relationships, too. Consider your environments (house, car, office): what is undone? What’s incomplete in your activities (membership dues? Car pool schedule?) Think about your well-being (how new is that toothbrush? When was the last time you had a checkup?)
One concept that completely captivated me when I began my coach training over a dozen years ago is the distinction between doing something 95% and doing it 100%. The extra oomph is significant! The satisfaction of completely handling a project or an issue is worth reveling in. Try it yourself. Rather than attempting to do a little bit of some of the things on your incompletion list, do one COMPLETELY.
• Be thorough. Imagine what it would take to not only complete the task, but to ensure it won’t recur for a long time. What is required?
• Delight yourself. Sometimes, to be sure, “done is better than not done.” But for this exercise, do it to delight yourself! If you’re sorting your vintage collection of vinyl records, what order would delight YOU? Alpha, or by artist? By year, or by genre? Go ahead, completely delight yourself!
• Make it permanent. Is what you’re doing to clean up this past unresolved issue a “quick fix,” or can it be repeated and systematized?
Once you’ve thoroughly addressed your past issues, you will move along to the post on tolerations with an expanded perspective on the benefits of better living.
© 2011 Mary Ellen Sailer, Ed. D.