11 Things What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. Procrastination.  I’ve come to realize that my procrastination problem is mostly one of inertia.  If I can get myself going for even five minutes, I can usually continue on through a huge chunk of the task at hand.  So I plan to get rid of procrastination by getting myself to agree to 5 minutes of work, starting immediately.  Any other activities screeching for my attention can wait for five minutes, after which we’ll see which of them still demand to be heard.

2. Reverse procrastination. I don’t know what else to call this, but it’s my fear of finishing things.  As soon as I get close to the end of  a task, I develop a host of voices explaining why I really, really don’t need to finish it right now.  Or maybe ever.  I don’t like the idea of things being finished, because works-in-progress are unjudgable.  In order to eliminate reverse procrastination, I’m going to have to eliminate …

3. Perfectionism. When I was in sixth grade, I wrote a fantastic book report on Dragon Sword and Wind Child, by Noriko Ogiwara.  But I couldn’t get the illustration on the cover exactly the way I liked it, so I never turned it in.  I got a D in Reading that quarter.  This habit has remained, essentially unchanged.  In 2011, I hope to eliminate perfectionism in my life by being mindful of the types of judgment I make: is my criticism reasonable?  Would I feel okay passing this sort of judgment on someone else’s work?  Does the judgment teach me and help me make improvements, or is it just designed to make me feel like crap?  If I can keep track of when I’m being a jerk to myself, I can begin to focus my brain on more productive channels for improvement.

4. Backbiting. It’s never okay, and yet nearly everybody indulges in it.  Over the last few years, I’ve vastly reduced the degree to which I backbite, but now I need to focus on A.) avoiding backbiting even when feeling hurt and distressed, and B.) stop listening passively while others backbite.  This probably means developing some good conversation redirection skills, and almost certainly requires staying OUT of the break room at work during lunch.

5. Knicknacks. Okay, we got a lot of lovely wedding presents in 2010.  Some of them are incredibly useful.  Others would be put to better use making somebody else very happy.  I don’t think anybody in our lives would object to our keeping the cycle of free giving going.  So any physical stuff that isn’t our favorite physical stuff should continue its journey elsewhere.

6. Library overdue notices. I can renew my personal reading online.  I don’t get charged for the overdue books I use in my classroom, because I use my educator’s card for them.  There’s no reason for me to be racking up library fees.  I will be keeping track of due dates in my actual, physical datebook, as well as only checking out books when I know that I can start reading them immediately.

7.  High Fructose Corn Syrup. We took the leap and went vegan.  I don’t eat much junk food, but I do eat some.  Ditching any product with HFCS seems like a good first step on cutting back on the sugar in 2011.  Obviously, this means reading labels and sticking to my guns.  Yes, even when it’s free. Free junk has been my main source of junk.  It’s time to quit that nonsense.

8. The pile of laundry in the bedroom. It’s time to get rid of a whole lot of clothes.  Even clothes I love, like the Batman t-shirt that doesn’t fit me very well because it’s a boys’ size large.  Or the stripey sweater that looks great on me, but can’t be layered with a regular shirt because of the shape of the neck.  I’m going to take a Sunday and purge the crap out of the dresser and closet.  I haven’t done this on a large scale since I last moved.  I honestly love this process and can’t wait to begin.

9. Excuses. In 2011, I’d like to learn to take my criticisms without squirming and desperately scrambling for an explanation.  I think I’m a big girl, and if I focus on the irrationality of my instinct (RUN!  YOU’RE GONNA DIE!), I can develop a more grounded and useful response that’s not rooted in fear.

10. Sunday Funks. I tend to cry on Sundays.  Six days of the week, I have a ton of stuff to get done.  I work all day, go to school at night, and volunteer a couple of times a week.  On Sundays, I write and rest, and I HATE IT.  Recently, we cleaned our whole kitchen on a Sunday, top to bottom.  No emotional outbursts.  So Sunday in 2011 is going to be my official “intense physical activity” day, whether that means hiking or dancing or scrubbing the bathtub.

11. Ripped-up fingers. I’ve GOT to quit chewing on my fingers.  Now.  Before I graduate.  Ideally before my student outreach starts, only a few days after New Year.  It’s gross, and it’s unhygienic, and a danger to myself and others.  Finding nondestructive fidgets will be a big part of this.  Retractable pens, jar lids with the pop-up safety buttons, and any thingies that can be turned inside-out and flipped back again with one hand are all helpful to me.  Learning to actually be STILL could be another.  Band-aids work for a bit before they come off (I wash my hands a hundred times a day at work), but ordinary Scotch tape also works, and is cheaper.  I never fidget when I’m giving massages, thank goodness, so that’s not so bad.

All in all, I’m pretty excited to ditch some non-essentials and actively-harmfuls next year.  What will you dump in 2011?

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