Clean Up Your Messes & Incompletes
"When you don't complete your past, you are not free to fully embrace the present or to easily create your future." - Jack Canfield
This week, I'm reading and taking notes on Ch. 13 of The Success Principles Workbook by Chicken Soup for the Soul Co-Creator Jack Canfield. I invite you to follow along with me if you also want to get from where you are to where you want to be.
This chapter is an inconvenient one for me, because who likes to clean up messes? But Jack presents an interesting perspective on this topic. He says that incompletions represent areas in our life where we're not clear - or where we have emotional/psychological blocks. I can picture a couple of tasks that are just waiting for me to get to because I didn't want to say no to them in the first place. I tend to overcommit if I feel like a project is good in general and I don't want to reject the asker. I then regret my decision because I find myself stretched way too thin.
These 'messes' can keep me feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. And Jack says if we don't handle our incompletions, we may even go into resignation. If I can't handle this, how will I ever accomplish my bigger goals? My therapist calls this catastrophizing.
One thing I started doing that the book echoes is to just complete the task. Before you start complaining, just do it and it'll be done. Sure the few minutes or an hour will be inconvenient, because it's not exactly what you want to be doing. But as soon as that mess gets taken care off, you won't have it laying around, reminding you to get to it.
Today for instance, my day was beyond packed. At 7am I started producing a 15-minute show that was filming live at 4pm. Somewhere in the morning hours I had to take a 15-minute break to make a really important phone call. That call led to me needing to create a formal proposal to email out by the end of the day. Oh, and I had to put on make-up today and film a new video for my YouTube channel after filming the live show at 4pm. But then my mom's friend called reminding me to pick up the Korean food on my way home that she made for me. And I needed to do this weekly blog for The Success Principles, because it's something I committed to do every week. And I had to post a Patreon blog a day late too.
Just looking over my to-do list makes me head hurt. With each task, I just kept telling myself to do it. Complaining takes time, sometimes as long as completing the task itself. So I just kept my head down and took advantage of every minute I had to stay productive and knock every to-do off the list! I didn't get much of a break or a workout, but I'm writing this at 10:36pm and am feeling accomplished.
Jack also talks about decluttering our living and work areas. Looking at the pile of stuff I need to organize in my home office stresses me out. So does the clutter that mysterious grows every day on the living room couch, as well as the plates that pile up in the kitchen sink. Every once in awhile I get a spurt of energy that leads me to clean and put everything back in its rightful place. And very rarely, I force myself to throw out things I no longer need. If there's anything new that you want to add to your life, you have to make room for it, both psychologically and physically. Here's a part of the workbook that resonated with me as a Domestic Violence Survivor - if you want a new love relationship in your life, you have to let go of (forgive and forget) the previous one(s) you were in - even if you haven't seen or talked to that person for over a year.
The workbook guides me to a section called "Discovering More About You: 25 Areas to Complete, Dump, or Delegate Before Moving Forward." It has a long list of incompletions that I may have. Here are some things that convicts me:
-former business activities
-promises not kept, not acknowledged, not renegotiated
-closets overflowing with clothing never worn
-desk surface cluttered or disorganized
-deferred household maintenance
-people you need to forgive
-time not spent with people you've meant to spend time with
-incomplete projects or projects delivered without closure or feedback
Jack says I can ask friends to help me with bigger tasks - like organizing my overflowing closets.
The next section is about what's irritating me. Incomplete tasks and irritants have something in common - they can both damage my efforts to become successful because they take up my attention and focus. Jack says to fix, replace, mend, or get rid of my daily irritants. The following page has a chart that makes me list down my irritations with an action plan to fix or get rid of them:
What is irritating me?
How can I fix it?
Who can I delegate all or part of fixing it to?
Then we get to the 6-stage total truth process that helps me to resolve incomplete relationships and release negative emotions from the past. Going through life with anger, resentments or unresolved hurt is like dragging an really heavy anchor. Letting it go allows me to release negative emotions and return to a more resourceful state of appreciation, love and joy. The goal is not to dump my negative energy on anyone, but rather take full responsibility for my emotions - like anger, resentment, hurt and fear - so that I can replace them with understanding, compassion forgiveness, peace and love.
Another exercise prompts me to fill out a letter:
Letter to (name of person):
I'm angry that:
I felt hurt when:
I'm afraid that (or I feel scared when):
I'm sorry that I (this is where you want to own anything that you might've done that might have contributed to the event or the situation): I want you to:
I forgive you to:
I love you and I appreciate you for:
The final chart is one that will try to make this a habit for me. It's a seven-day plan, where I work on resolving my messes and incompletes while spending time writing a 6-stage total truth letter. I check off when each task is done.
The back of the workbook has one last prompt: it asks me to list things that were incomplete resolved. It lets me share how I feel about my progress.
So that's it! Thanks for keeping me accountable on this daily journey!!