Ok, first I have to start by admitting that I almost did not start this Conditions for Greatness project at all on November 1st because I didn’t have a blank composition book.  Yes, seriously, a pad of paper that costs less than $1 almost stopped me from doing one of the best things I have ever done for myself.  Its not like I couldn’t have just used a piece of paper I already had, or typed my first entries onto the notepad app on my phone, or any other logical solution…

That is fear.  Change is scary. Asking the hard questions is tough.  Creating new habits is not easy.  It is much more easy to pull the covers back over your head.

But I looked fear dead in the eye, and drove my car right over to the $1 store to get the blank composition book “I had to have” and so it all began….

conditions for greatness project week one

Nov. 1st

I took a shower!  I ate 3 regular meals!  Today was a great day! There were a lot of opportunities to argue with my hubby (as we packed and left for a little trip out of town) but we didn’t.  Was there already a shift in my thinking?  Today I made a  conscious effort to smile more, laugh a little, and let things go easier. Guess what?  Nothing bad happened. We made it here in one piece, didn’t forget to pack anything, and best of all everyone is happy.  I also spent some time working on my list: I am at My Best When… which I will share separately here soon.

Nov. 2nd

Last night I did not get good sleep. Both kids ended up in bed with us. I feel like I woke up no less than a dozen times, so much in fact that I am confused if I even slept at all. On mornings like these it is hard to get out of bed.  My thoughts feel like they are moving through a fog as thick as pea soup.  These days I don’t get solid sleep I am not at my best.  It has been getting better now that Sawyer is 17 months, but I would still like to try some more things to get him consistently sleeping soundly through the night, so I can get the sleep I need.

I got new boobs! Well, not literally but I did get a new bra that actually fits.  I don’t usually put much effort in to getting things like the right fitting bra because with the kids I am often in a hurry and juggling everyone’s needs, so I end up with something “good enough” but not best.  What I noticed is that it felt great to do something for myself, that made me more confident in my self-image, and if it meant the kids had to sit around the boring bra store while I got fitted – I actually don’t feel a bit guilty.

Nov. 3rd

I showered!  Three days in a row – the bowling equivalent of a turkey. Gobble! Gobble! I had a half a cinnamon roll for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch. I wish I had brought a snack with me this afternoon because I noticed myself being a little shorter/impatient with everyone right around the time I started to feel hungry. I am definitely more patient and kind when I keep my blood-sugar regular and not going too long between meals.

I would really like some cozy tan leather moccasins, in size 8. I have been wanting these to wear around the house for some time now.

Making myself comfortable, being able to relax, these things are important. Self-care is not selfish.

Went shopping at Goodwill, looking for wool flannels, boots, wooden puzzles, and mason jars. Sawyer decided not to cooperate after no more than 5 minutes of being there.  But I kept pushing it, hunting for treasures; then there was a tipping point where I could sense that I was no longer being rational about decision making. The whining disrupted my regular brain function! I poor kid was incredibly upset, I was upset, the other people in the store were clearly disturbed….but I would not stop until I got my cart pushed to the front, waited through the line, and checked out with my blue ball jars and book about the seashore. Why didn’t I just stop 5 minutes in and identify what the problem was, fix it, and then continue?  I got out to the car, so frustrated I was practically in tears; I lifted Sawyer out from the cart and got a whiff of the problem.  Saywer sh*t himself, big time.  I am not at my best when my children are discontent, upset, whining etc.  But they can’t always communicate their needs to me in a more effective way. I have got to slow done and take more time to be proactive when they are trying to tell me something (“hey mom, I just took a giant dump…can you run out to the car and change me before you move over to the puzzle aisle?”). Check his diaper as soon as he starts fussing, its not rocket science, only if I was not in such a hurry to stick unbending to my mission.  BE FLEXIBLE.

When I was working with my business coach we talked about being flexible.  This is hard for me for some reason.  However it is also clear to me that when I am flexible with my time and expectations I have an overall sense of relief and happiness; that feeling of calm is loads better than checking everything off my to-do list in a record time at the sacrifice of my happiness and the suffering of people around me.

rest and self care are so important

Nov. 4

I didn’t shower – but even better I had a relaxing soak in the tub. Clearing my mind and focusing on the warmth of the water and sound of my breath or those precious few moments did wonders.  I must do this more, and with fancy bath salts and lovely smelling candles.

Mid-day today I did feel myself becoming anxious because there was not a clear plan for our day, our last day of vacation. Just having a rough idea for general times/activities helped.  I am a planner.  Rather than try to change this I can set up way to appease that part of my personality and still be able to be flexible and go with the flow too.  This reminds me about how well it works when I am using my google calendar(s) to schedule and plan things.  There is such a sense of relief to be able to get a visual of what is happening. Staying dedicated to using what works (calendars) is huge for me to be at my best.

Nov. 5

I really struggled to take a shower and get ready for my day today. I was overwhelmed by all the things I have to do, unpacking, laundry, grocery list, pick up the house, schedule my week, check my email, get work done…it just kept jumping to the front of my mind that I could save time by skipping a shower.  But I have done that before and it leads to disaster.  I don’t really feel prepared for the day or at my best, and end up getting less done and feeling more frustrated anyways.  I resisted the bad habit and took a shower. It was still a bit of a rough day. I didnt have plans or intentions for the day, no clue what we were even eating for lunch.  I could hear the frustration and impatience in my voice several times.  However I do feel really good that I noticed this and took the bull by the horns. I decided that I would at least accomplish one thing that I could feel good about. I was able to complete an unfinished project today (a dresser makeover). Completing projects always gives me a boost and a sense of release. The high didn’t last too long though because while I was thinking about what I would store in said dresser, I was confronted by the gross amount of projects I actually have and how that makes me feel….not my best.

Should I get rid of some of these projects so that they are not hanging over my head? How do I decide what to purge? Letting go is hard, however in this case I think it would lead me down the path of being at my best. BIG STEP.

Nov. 6

Today I showered right after breakfast, but still struggled with what to wear.  I have a hard time getting dressed for ordinary days. It feels like I have nothing between pajamas and overdressed for days that include homeschooling, working from home, errands, playing outside…there is a gap in my closet for these days that are the bulk of my week. I contacted a personal stylist for a closet audit. With the tiny budget we have been working with it seems crazy to spend a couple hundred to get rid of clothes and have nothing to replace it but I know that I am at my best when I feel good about what I am wearing and I haven’t been able to accomplish this on my own. I value feeling my best a lot, therefore it is reasonable to seek help in this. When I am at my best I am happier and more successful in life.

Now, the bad news, the stylist I contacted is not available until the new year 

Nov. 7

Lack of planning when it comes to food can really affect my mood in the worst way. Today was evidence of that. Maybe I am a little hypoglycemic but I suppose most people are negatively affected when they haven’t eaten well. I am irritable when I go too long between meals. We needed to run an errand quite a way from home, and I made sure we all at lunch right before we left at 11:30. What I failed to do was plan enough satisfying snacks or what we would do for dinner even though I knew we would be gone for many hours. Around 4ish I start to feel pretty hungry. At that point it would be another 2.5 hours at least before we were home. I really should have nipped it in the bud right then and gotten something to eat. TAKE CARE OF MYSELF. But I pushed myself because I “didn’t have time.” I don’t make good decisions when I am hungry. It is more difficult to think, I am irrational and irritable. Chad and I had a misunderstanding about dinner; I expected it to be ready when I finally made it home and it wasn’t.  I totally overreacted which led to an unnecessary argument, and I really regret that the whole mess was avoidable. I need to be better prepared about food if I am know I am not at my best when I am hungry. Maybe stash some snacks in the car, and prepare better for meals when we are out and about (since I am dedicated to not eat fast food any more). Making good choices about food is a high priority for me to successfully be at my best.

you dont have to have it all figured out to move forward

Nov. 8

In order to complete some projects around the house today we decided to send out kids to grandma’s house for the day and a sleepover. Although I love my children dearly, there are some times when I just need my space to not get frustrated and accomplish what I need to accomplish.  It is better for me and for them. There is a sense of guilt I get sometimes, like I am supposed to be able to take care of them all the time without help. Hello, there is nothing wrong with getting a baby sitter for them from time to time. We were able to make great progress on our chicken coop project and I wasn’t stressed while we were shopping at the salvage yard.  It was really a good decision for everyone.

Nov. 9

I spent most of the day today cleaning and organizing my creative space. I haven’t felt really creative in a while, and I know that the clutter and overall dysfunction was having a negative affect. There were so many times while I was doing this that I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that had accumulated and the sheer volume of projects I had in the works.  A big decision I made, and oneI think will have a great impact, was to remove all my unfinished projects from my space. I wrote them all down on a list and packed them up in a clear storage bin. I am now just keeping ONE project out in my space to work on at a time. When that project is done I can trade it out for a new one to complete, and this way work through the back log without feeling (too) overwhelmed. The key to this working is also not starting any more new projects. I have to be really dedicated to this. I shared my decision with my husband and my mom so they can help support me too. I am at my best when I complete projects, so I need to focus on doing that.  Notice I did not say I am at my best when projects are done perfectly and exactly as I imagined….I have to remind myself that done is much much better than perfect.


Thanks so much for sticking with me and sharing in my discoveries for the first week on my Conditions for Greatness project.  Just in case you have no idea what project I am actually referring to, please pop over and read my introduction post.

Can you relate to any of my struggles?  I would love to know if you are also the keeper of too many unfinished projects, or guilty of not taking time to shower and get out of your pjs in the morning….leave a comment below to commiserate and even better leave a word of advice if you have made any progress with overcoming your struggles.  Let’s be our best together!