I am a person who…(fill in the blank)

I don’t know where the flash came from, but, as with most brilliant thoughts I have in my life, I can count on it not having originated with me. It was a whispered thought in someone else’s voice.

It was a little prompt written on the tablet of my heart that said: In my Ideal Life, I am a person who…(fill in the blank.)

Intrigued by the thought, I picked up a pen and start writing.

I am a person who doesn’t freak out at her kids.
I am a person who loves her job.
I am a person who has an awesome sex life.
I am a person who loves what she owns
I am a person who reads my Bible every day.
I am a person who has good habits.
I am a person who knows the last time the toilet was scrubbed.
I am a person makes wise decisions.
I am a person who takes care of what she owns.
I am a person who lives in harmony with her monthly cycles.
I am a person who only commits to things that make me feel alive.
I am a person who knows how to rest when I need to.
I am a person who drinks enough water.
I am a person worth listening to.
I am a person who always looks put-together.
I am a person who works hard

I am a person who never gives up.

The list goes on and on and on. For pages. Once I got started, I couldn’t stop.

The Big Ideas

Once I got to the end of my inkwell, I stepped back and looked at the fifteen pages of “In my Ideal Life I am a person who…” and I reread them.

I quickly discovered that many of these statements could be grouped together in some kind of themes. Some of them overlapped these broader themes, but as someone who has never been afraid of a Venn Diagram, this didn’t offend my sensibilities one little bit.

The big ideas

Based on my fifteen pages of I am a person who…statements I defined 19 themes.

  1. Spiritual Life
  2. Marriage
  3. Parenting
  4. Mental Health
  5. Relationships
  6. Music
  7. Wise Decisions
  8. Contentment
  9. Personal Style
  10. Sex Life
  11. Commitments
  12. Schedule & Family Life
  13. Good Habits & Routines
  14. Health & Body Positivity
  15. Work
  16. Craft & Creativity
  17. Environment
  18. Gravitas
  19. A Clean House

Now, I defined these sectors myself, for my specific situation and my I am a person who statements. I don’t pretend that they will necessarily speak to anyone else, but I am pretty confident that any progress in these areas will not be anyone’s undoing.

Then what?

Thanks to my disturbingly practical Scotch-Irish brain, it became evident that if I wanted these to I am a person who statements to actually apply to me, I would have to work on making them a reality. Thanks to my disturbingly analytical brain, something else surfaced:

There was one topic I felt was more important than all the others. If I took that one out, it left 18 themes. Eighteen is divisible by three. Six is strangely close to seven. Seven is the number of days in a week. (Are you following my thinking, or am I literally the only person who does this weird kind of numbers thing with everything?)

What if I were to, over the course of three weeks, tackle just one of these themes per day? The theme I deemed most important, to wit, Spiritual Life, would be repeated each week because it was that important to me.

How does this work?

Every day, I would take five minutes in the morning to ask myself two questions about the sector of the day: What is working? What isn’t working? Then I would take a quick note of any thoughts I might have on how to improve or why something isn’t working or why I was struggling. Then I would jot down any thoughts I was having or anything concrete I needed to do.

All in all, over the course of three weeks, I would have taken five minutes to check my progress towards each broad category of my Ideal Life. And then I could start it all over again.

Does this sound like a lot? Well, it was a lot when I got started. But once I got started, once I developed the habit of checking my progress towards my Ideal Life, I found that my Ideal Life isn’t as out-of-reach as I might have thought it was.

Plus, I started to find things to celebrate. Little steps of progress, little goals starting to be accomplished. I would find sticking points and could strategize to alleviate the problem. And you know how I love to celebrate things.

Not magic, but almost

These five minute slivers in the morning are not about having a perfect life.

They will not give you the perfect marriage, the perfect kids, the perfect tidy house or the perfect job.

What they will do is help you articulate your Ideal Life and help you see the ways in which you are making progress towards your Ideal Life. It will help you identify ways that you are stagnating and even ways in which you are sabotaging your own life.

Just try

This week in the blog I am going to define those nineteen themes I have determined to be foundational to my Ideal Life. As I said, although some of them may not speak to you, I’m fairly certain many of them will. Any progress is good progress, and I am a progress junkie. It isn’t physically dangerous to think for five minutes a day about what you want for your life. It shouldn’t have any lasting harmful psychological consequences, either.

I want to get you thinking about how you can make progress towards your Ideal Life.

Tomorrow I am going to deal with only one theme, the theme of Spiritual Life. As I said, this is a big one for me. After that, I will take you through the six other themes for Week One, one by one, with ideas for reflection about each theme. And, ainsi de suite as we say in French (it means “and so on…” but the French just makes it sound so much livelier, doesn’t it?)

I really want you to make progress. Remember what I said, any progress is good progress. If you want to stop stagnating and start moving forward, you have absolutely nothing to lose but five minutes a day.

This article is part of a series called “MacGyvering KonMari”
Part One: A Good Decluttering
Part Two: I am a Person Who… (fill in the blank) You are here
Part Three: One Theme to Rule Them All
Part Four: Ideal Life: Week One Themes
Part Five: Ideal Life Week Two Themes
Part Six: Ideal Life Week Three Themes

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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