Sooo... 2016, eh? For me, 2016 was a lot of soul searching. At the beginning of year I read the book The Happiness Project and one of my favorite takeaways was that Gretchen Rubin created her own personal commandments and of course, me being me, I fell in love with the idea. It took me the entire year but I've finally completed my 10 Personal Commandments. Please, don't be offended, it's not meant to be blasphemous; it was just much easier than saying Here's A List of Ten Things That I Had To Learn The Really, Really Hard Way And Would Not Like To Have To Learn Again

Right when I decided to come up with my own personal commandments I came up with the first six: 

  1. If you said you're going to do it, do it.
  2. Identify the problem.
  3. No calculations.
  4. Act the way you want to feel. 
  5. If it will take less than 10 minutes, do it now.
  6. No is not a bad word.

I came up with these very quickly because they were the mistakes I kept making over and over again, and to be honest some of them I've knocked out of the park and some of them I'm still working on. Before I get to the final four, let's talk about the first six.

1. If you said you're going to do it, do it. 

Everything sounds good to me when it is far off in the distance... a weekend trip? Yes! A big race? Count me in. A night out on the town? I'm all about it. Until I have to actually do it. I'm a bit of a homebody and I really like (aka need) time to myself so I get a bit of anxiety when it comes to things like travelling for the weekend with a big group of people. At one point in my life, I'd back out at the last minute. Now, I go. If I said I was going to go, I go. This has made me MUCH more conscious of the plans I make and even more importantly has taught me so much about what I really want and what I was just going along with.

2. Identify the problem. 

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, have you ever lost your ever-loving mind over something like having to take your dog out? Because I have. I've gotten out of bed at ridiculous hours to do things like jump into a cold pool, lift heavy weights, and nurse a newborn... do you really think that having to take my own dog out at 8am would send me over the edge? The answer is no. That wasn't the problem. And had I identified the REAL problem sooner I wouldn't have had a new problem to deal with.

3. No calculations. 

I used to have a big, fancy scoreboard stored in my brain. I took the trash out, point for me. I didn't say anything when you went to golf, two for me. I text her to check in with her, point for me. Sound familiar? Calculating the number of things you've done for someone versus what they've done for you? If that's the case than NEITHER person is getting any needs met. There is only one reason to do something kind or thoughtful... it's because you WANT to. Do nice, thoughtful things for people because you are a nice, thoughtful person. If you are simply looking to even the score, get one up, or have something done for you in return than you simply shouldn't do it. If someone keeps doing something that doesn't make you feel good, don't be a martyr, talk to them; but don't keep the score.

4. Act the way you want to feel.

This one got it's own separate blog, you can read it here. Acting the way you want to feel is like experiencing your own bit of magic!

5. If it will take less than 10 minutes, do it now. 

Seriously, this one is so simple and effective and so many of us avoid it. Doing small tasks as they need done saves you MASSIVE time later. Fold the laundry and put it away consecutively. If you still don't believe me, think about that time you had to file all of the things at the same time....

6. No is not a bad word. 

In Brene Brown's words: "we are a nation of exhausted and overstressed adults raising over scheduled children". Another entire blog I did, here. If there is anything you take away from this it is that for every "yes" you are going to have to say "no" to something else; those somethings usually are self-care, quality time, rest, exercise, ya know.. necessities! It is OKAY to say "let me get back to you" and really spending the time to decide what is right for you. Saying yes to everything and delivering half quality effort, or even worse backing out at the last minute, is much harder on everyone than just saying no. 

It was just within the last few weeks that these last four came to me and man, did they hit me hard.

  • . Have the uncomfortable conversation
  • 8. Let it go.
  • 9. Focus only on that which you can control.
  • 10. You first.

Let me explain...

7. Have the uncomfortable conversations. 

I have lost friends and severed business relationships because I avoided an uncomfortable conversation. It's not like I avoided a conversation and then the next minute the relationship was over. It was more like I avoided the conversation and instead complained about it to someone else (someone who couldn't help the situation) and then those negative feelings started to take on a life of their own. The hurt or annoyance grew to be unbearable until finally the relationship ends on bad terms, or even worse just not speaking at all. I've come to realize that having a simple, uncomfortable conversation like "hey, that hurt my feelings" or "can we talk about this because I'm not comfortable with it" saves an IMMENSE amount of pain and discomfort later on.

8. Let it go. 

In 2009 I heard one of the most powerful sermons of my life. Bishop TD Jakes said: "You’ve got to know when it’s over. Let me tell you something, I’ve got the gift of good-bye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It’s not that I’m hateful, it’s that I’m faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have, He’ll give it to me." It took me the next six years to find the gift of goodbye, but I found it. If something is not serving me, if I'm not meant to have it, if I can't control something, if something is weighing me down... I say goodbye. I held on to bad experiences, bad feelings, and bad habits for far too long. Now when something I'm harboring comes up I let it hurt, I let it heal, and I let it go.

9. Focus only on that which you can control. 

This is a funny one because it both needs no explanation but deserves an entire book. I don't know about you but I don't have the time, energy or brainpower to devote to things that I can't do a damn thing about. So I'm not going to. 

10. You First. 

It's funny that this one has landed on the number 10 spot and it wasn't until I finished with nine that this thought occurred to me but I realized that You First needed it's own commandment. I'm not necessarily talking about the You First that I want for you... the one where you realize putting yourself first is not selfish, but essential. I mean what You First needs to be to Melissa and that is authentic. I'm not here to sell you a quick-fix, I'm not really even here to sell you anything, I'm here to share myself... what I know, what I learn and what I love. I believe so strongly in the intention behind You First that it is quite literally who I am and from now on when you see something coming from You First it will be 100% authentically me.

Sweat & Smiles, 

Melissa