Friday, January 29, 2010

You Know in Your Heart You Want this Skittle

Think back to the last time you surprised yourself and accomplished something you weren’t sure you could pull off. Maybe you did it last week.

Maybe it’s been a few years. Regardless, I’d wager that all of us can come up with something, maybe several things.

I’m in the middle of one right now. On New Year’s Day, probably sometime around lunch, I logged onto my Facebook account and saw that a friend had posted: “I haven’t had any junk food yet this year.”

I smiled. The year was about as young as it could be. I hadn’t had any junk food yet either. As far as 2010 was concerned, I was a clean, nutritiously balanced slate. I’m not the resolutions-type, but this one caught my fancy so I ripped it off.

Today it has been twenty-nine days since I’ve had chips, desserts, sodas, candy, or anything with grease. I’m not on a diet and this isn’t about weight loss. In fact, my weight is the same as it was on January 1st. I eat as much food as I ever did, it’s just better food.

I didn’t eat many of those things before January 1st anyway, so this might not seem like much of a sacrifice, but you’d be surprised. The hardest part is passing on the homemade brownies and cakes that co-workers leave in the conference room.

Just Tuesday, my supervisor brought in a glorious tray of huge assorted cookies.

Anyone who experiences an afternoon “brain sludge” at work might relate to my temptation.

Last weekend, my nine-year-old held up a blue Skittle: “Come on, Mom.

You know in your heart you want this Skittle.”

She knows me well.

But I’d committed: No Junk.

Though my goal was arbitrary, my mind was made up, and I passed. This started me thinking about other things I’d done once my mind was set. I made a list to include here so I could make a big, terrific point about what huge things we can accomplish if we really, really want to.

But then I tossed it.

Compared to personal hurdles others have tackled, my list is small. But it’s mine. In my opinion, it’s less important what’s on our lists than that we have one, period.

Everyone should know the joy and pride that comes from accomplishing something they believed was impossible. I worry sometimes for those among us who are too afraid to try.

In making my list, I realized I’ve done some remarkable things. That sounds egregiously egotistical, but what I mean to say is that I’ve done several normal things that seem remarkable to me because at one time I didn’t think I could. Why’d I think that?

Only recently have I learned that I can take on those big goals as long as I do them one at a time. It seems incredibly obvious, but Type A’s like me are thick sometimes. We have a long list of stuff to do, we desperately want to do it all, we really want to do it all well, and there is an overriding feeling that if we don’t do it now, we might never get another chance to try.

I’m learning to let my goal list be dynamic, to let it ebb and flow. I’m learning that balance doesn’t mean putting everything on the tray and finding a place where it doesn’t tip. In my case, everything does not fit on the tray. Sometimes I have to take an item off, just for now, and put it back later, when I’m finished with something else. Otherwise, all it takes is one blue Skittle to bring the whole tray crashing down.

I propose that sometimes it’s a good idea to challenge ourselves, no matter how frivolous. Tell me how you’ve surprised yourself by putting your mind to something, big or small. What’s next on your list?

Rachel Brady


  1. Very good blog, Ms. Brady. Really enjoyed it and it did what you probably wanted it to do: got me thinking, with a little dash of doing on top.

  2. Great post, Rachel! Can't think of anything right now...still focused on the rats in my basement, honestly, but will come up with something. :-) Maggie

  3. Thanks, Vicky, I'm so glad. :-)

    Maggie, you poor thing. We found a mouse once. I was not a fan.

  4. Rachel, you are a wise woman! It took a health crisis for me to realize that I couldn't do all the things on my plate at once. It's amazing how much you can tackle when you get rid of the stuff that's completely unnecessary and focus on what's important. My challenge right now is to meet all my obligations for February without having a nervous breakdown. One thing at a time, as you said!


  5. That's awesome, Rachel. You've inspired me!

    I have recently conquered some computer technology issues and am so proud of myself for figuring it all out. It's a good feeling to do something you weren't sure you could do.