Week 3

Day 15: Monitor (record) your storage

I had held a position that the dieting aspect was all about time management, but having already lost something I was so happy to find (A friction coupling coax cable) I realize that it is important to have places we put things we are keeping and have a system of knowing where things went.  This was further reinforced when I moved some items to a storage area that I am dedicating to my husband’s things from his Massage career.

This is one of the features of Sidetracked Home Executive, which gave rise to Flylady.  You can have boxes, but you have to catalog what is in them.  My ideal would be to not have any cardboard boxes, but we’ll see.  I just feel like I have way too many right now.  Maybe, for fun, I’ll count them today since I only got 3 hours of sleep and kind of have an earache.

Day 16: “I’ve spoken my peace and counted to 3.”

The general theme of this rule is to stop internal bargaining before it starts.  I suppose there could be applications of this to shopping and keeping junk as well as procrastination.  Her advice is to have a response card that says “NO CHOICE”.  I think this is an area that could make some people worse.

It brings up the point that people have different motivational rubrics.  I have one kid who loves to earn things, and will print out job charts for herself.  I have another kid who can be motivated very simply with “no electronics until”.

We do learn what Beck’s own diet consists of here.  Substantial protein, vegetables and fruit at each meal, no junk food until after dinner, only raw vegetables when cooking, and limit meals out to 25% more than what is normally eaten.  In that respect, “NO CHOICE” becomes a lot more reasonable, since it mostly means “Pick something else” or “wait until later, when you’re not hungry/craving.”

Day 17 Leave some behind

This is day’s original activity is to leave food on your plate.  It’s a good thing I’m not doing the diet, because my answer to this is don’t take too much food to begin with.  But in terms of leisure time, I guess a good translation of this is to go on Facebook and just do what I went on to do, and not go until my timer runs up.  But then, who goes on Facebook to accomplish anything?  Maybe it’s a good idea to try checking two friends a a time.

Day 18 Change your definition of [full]

As I look at this days tasks, I wonder if the right idea for organizing here is changing the definition of “need.”  I mean, what is full besides an acknowledgement that you don’t need to take the next bite?  I’m not sure if I’ve got it right.  My efforts to precisely regulate my time use are kind of in shambles, to be honest, yet I feel I’m being productive.

And in my nutrition reading, I’m finding that what is needed is a few guiding principles rather than a very complex plan.  Though I do (now we’re talking about food) keep a detailed log.  And in my clutter plan, I want everything I keep to be easily catalogued.  The upshot of yesterday’s activities is that a lot of this will be able to be spatial, kind of like a dewey decimal system.

Day 19 Stop fooling yourself

This chapter features a list of excuses you may have used to excuse eating.  And it occurs to me that every day we talk to ourselves, as the saying goes.  But everything we say either moves us toward what we want or away from it.  I guess this will come up later as the giving in muscle or the resistance muscle.

It also reminds me of Earl Nightingale’s The Strangest Secret:  “You must really wish this thing and wish it exclusively and not wish at the same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly.”

It is a strange truth that the direction you are moving in is the easiest to keep moving in.  My son complains about it when we play Risk or Monopoly, that the strong get stronger.  That is the deal with all of Beck’s “dieting will be easier when” affirmations.  As an aside, I suppose part of the problem in maintenance is there is not a direction, or less of on in the dimension we have mastered.

Day 20 Get back on track

I think this is one of the most critical skills that separate dieting from lifestyle change, that when you experience a slip, you learn from it rather than give up for the rest of the day.

It comes down to black and white thinking, which is a problem for disorganization as well.  Part of why clutter forms is that most things are not black and white, and so we aren’t sure what to do with them and so we set them aside and they become part of everything we’re keeping.

Day 21 Using the scale

The scale is something I haven’t quite figured out how to apply to organization.  One idea is measuring my actual day against my planned day.  Counting my boxes and capacity was an exercise that wound up moving me forward.  I think the main idea Beck is presenting with weight is that it is a tool measuring effectiveness, and not a personal judgment.

The scope of measurement is important.  It’s not really useful to measure yourself several times a day or under inconsistent conditions.

So I guess my capacity of boxes is the upward side of how many boxes I should have, and probably 5 less is what I would need to be at in order to make progress consistently toward organizing my stuff.  I have a capacity of about 71, and I’m probably about 100 now.  So 66 is my first goal, which is way more manageable than 0.

P.S.  There are some known modifiers to measurement, the key is knowing the difference between an explanation and an excuse.  Cognitive behavioral work is meant to dig past defense mechanisms, not create them.


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