April 25, 2010

50 things you can control

“Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” ~Unknown

I am a worrier. I fret and pace and ruminate and wonder "what if?" I worry about things that haven't happened in order to keep them at bay. I worry about things that have happened to keep them from getting any worse or happening again.

This week I have been in overdrive.

So when I found this list of "50 things you can control" I was intrigued. Some of them kind of make me want to barf (i.e., #1 feels a little too much like blowing sunshine up one's arse). Others really resonate with me (see the ones with the asterisks), because I have been bad at them of late. Take #13, for example. At least 3 times in the last week I have exited a conversation prematurely because I felt hurt or rejected, and I didn't know how to continue. At least once it led to confusion on the part of the other person, and then I agonized over what an idiot I was.

Then there is #3 and #29 which--for me--go together like peas in a pod. I tend to run on the "too honest" side--telling people things they don't even want to know. Telling people things that they may, in fact, be better not knowing. This week I have been struggling with that, too. My tongue has twisted; my thoughts got choked in my mouth; I have kept silent. It hasn't felt good.

I have faltered on giving the benefit of a doubt (#8). I interpreted every situation in the most negative way possible (#9). I have been hideous to myself in my head (#14). I stopped saying "I love you," because it felt unwelcome (#49).

Wow. I'm not very good at all this.

1. How many times you smile today.
2. How much effort you exert at work.
*3. Your level of honesty.
4. How well you prepare.
5. How you act on your feelings.
6. How often you say “thank you.”
7. When you pull out your wallet for luxuries.
*8. Whether or not you give someone the benefit of the doubt.
*9. How you interpret situations.
10. Whether or not you compete with people around you.
11. How often you notice and appreciate small acts of kindness—they’re everywhere!
12. Whether you listen or wait to talk.
*13. When you walk away from a conversation.
*14. How nice you are to yourself in your head.
15. Whether you think positive or negative thoughts.
16. Whether or not you form expectations of people.
17. The type of food you eat.
18. When you answer someone’s question—or email or call.
19. How much time you spend worrying.
*20. How many new things you try.
21. How much exercise you get.
22. How many times you swear in traffic.
23. Whether or not you plan for the weather.
24. How much time you spend trying to convince people you’re right.
*25. How often you think about your past.
26. How many negative articles you read.
27. The attention you give to your loved ones when you see them.
28. How much you enjoy the things you have right now.
*29. Whether or not you communicate something that’s on your mind.
30. How clean or uncluttered you keep your space.
31. What books you read.
32. How well you network at social events.
33. How deeply you breathe when you experience stress.
34. How many times you admit you don’t know something—and then learn something new.
35. How often you use your influence to help people instead of focusing on building your influence.
36. When you ask for help.
37. Which commitments you keep and cancel.
38. How many risks you take.
39. How creative/innovative you are in your thinking.
*40. How clear you are when you explain your thoughts.
41. Whether you formulate a new plan or act on your existing one.
42. How much information you get before you make a decision.
43. How much information you share with people.
44. Whether you smoke or drink (unless you’re an alcoholic, in which case I am not qualified to offer you advice.)
45. Whether or not you judge other people.
46. Whether you smell good or bad (unless you have some strange resistance to soap and deodorant).
47. How much of what other people say you believe.
48. How quickly you try again after you fall.
*49. How many times you say “I love you.”
50. How much rest you get at night.

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