A Pearl for Andrew

The amazing Andrew asked: “What is the one pearl of wisdom you would share?”

One? Okay, I can do one. :)

I don’t profess to have all the answers, or even to have any of the answers for some folks. But the one thing I’ve learned after, lo, these many years, is that you can’t overhaul your life overnight. Successfully changing a lifetime of bad habits takes practice and time to execute, both physically and emotionally, along with the banishment of expectations of perfection.

I look at it this way: If someone gave me a list of home improvement projects that instructed me to clean all the windows (inside and out), sweep all the floors, remove all my switchplates and doorknobs, clean the patio and garage, catch up the laundry, repave the driveway, mow the lawn, and paint the mailbox, and then told me to start all of them on the following Monday morning and do them all perfectly, I’d run for the hills. Once I’d been revived and could pick myself up off the floor, that is.

But what I might do is choose to clean the patio and garage this weekend, tackle the switchplates and doorknobs next weekend, the windows the week after that (and maybe I’d call on a friend to be my window-washing buddy), and perhaps I’d paint the mailbox–the first coat, anyway–while I waited for the rinse cycle on the washing machine, and so on and so on.

It actually sounds possible that way, doesn’t it? I might get it all done, and done well, if I break it up into manageable pieces.

Why in the hell, then, would I ever expect myself to begin a rigorous exercise program six days a week, eat only healthy foods in daily allotments that are a fraction of what I sometimes ate by noon before, drop all caffeine from my diet and replace it with water, give up chocolate and all other snack foods forever, learn everything there is to know about nutrition and how it affects my body, and deal with the emotional issues of all of the above? And do it all perfectly, with nary a tear or complaint.

Starting next Monday.

You can’t overhaul your life overnight. Steady, consistent, positive changes, time to execute them, and room to screw up. It will work.

It only took me 30 years to figure all this out.

So enough of my rambling. Let’s make a necklace of these pearls!

If you could share one pearl of wisdom with folks, what would it be?
Thanks to Andrew for the question!