Monday, September 8, 2014

Out with the Negative (Discovering My Dream redux, week 1)

I read and fell in love with the Dream Save Do process last Fall, when I first read Betsy and Warren Talbot's book of the same name and began working through it. Since then, I sold my house, donated a large quantity of stuff, and moved into an apartment; these fundamental changes significantly impacted the "Dream" portion of the process, so I recycled the notebook I'd been working in and began anew.

Creating a list of things I wouldn't miss if they were to disappear tomorrow was my first task. The new list includes 17 items; there are some very familiar items on the list -- things that, despite the progress I've made, haven't yet been eradicated. My daily commute, unwanted/unneeded stuff, car dependency, unneeded/unused living space, and extreme (for me) weather conditions (very hot and very cold temperatures) fall under this category.

Additionally, a few new items made the list. In looking at those more closely, I realized that each of them should have been on the previous list -- I just hadn't thought of them. One of those items is worries about retirement; as each year brings me closer to the year I would like to require, I am reminded that unless something fairly significant changes, my retirement years may be a bit leaner financially than I'd like.

I love list-making, so that step and the next -- identifying what specifically bothers me about each item -- were easy and took little time.

The third step, which I haven't finished, has proven to be a bit more challenging. I was to list each irritant and root cause and then brainstorm 3 possible strategies to change, reduce, or eliminate each one. The first strategy must be something that can be implemented right away; the second is to be something that's realistic but could take some time; and the third has to be something totally off the wall.

My first thought to listing strategies I could implement right away was, "What? Don't you think if I could be doing something to change or eliminate the things in my life that I don't like I would have already done it?"  Once I stifled my indignation and got to work, though, I had an implement-now strategy for 50% of the irritants and root causes! (My apologies to the Talbots for doubting them just a bit :))

Off-the-wall strategies came fairly easily once I stopped 2nd-guessing everything I came up with and simply wrote them down. I ended up with unconventional (aka wacky) strategies for 70% of the irritants and root causes on my list. Rule-follower that I am in my daily life, I enjoyed coming up with unconventional -- even absurd, in some cases -- strategies. I'm beginning to think a rebel lurks inside me!

When I finally set aside my pen and looked at my list, I discovered that I'd come up with at least one strategy for each category (implement now, realistic but takes time, and off-the-wall) for just under 1/2 of the irritants/root causes. I came up with an idea for two of the categories for several irritants/root causes, and at the end of the day, three irritants/root causes had me completely stumped.

I'm not giving up, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the Dream Save Do process takes me!

If you'd like to join me and discover your own dream, save for it, and implement it, please check out Betsy and Warren Talbot's wonderful book Dream Save Do.

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