I Want To Change the World and I Want It Done Yesterday!

trying to do too much“Change is not a process for the impatient.” -Barbara Reinhold

We go through our lives creating to do lists, crossing things off and adding more.  We’re never done.  As much as we spend our thoughts and days on completing and accomplishing things, I always remember a quote I read somewhere:

Your inbox will still be full the day you die.

Where does that driven, need-to-achieve feeling come from?  Like we’re not quite enough if we haven’t done enough.

And, right along side it, the impatience with where we are and what we haven’t yet accomplished.

And the worry over doing things right or getting them done at all.

I expend great amounts of energy almost every day worrying about what I’m not accomplishing.  Being impatient.  Subconsciously beating myself up for procrastinating, not staying focused and generally not doing enough of the “important” stuff each day (writing and other work).

By spending so much mental and physical energy like this, I’m missing out on the truly important things like spending more focused time with my children and husband, time to be quiet and simply be, time to relax.

The curse of mindfulness

Learning and practicing mindfulness can sometimes be frustrating.

It’s one thing when you do crazy things and aren’t aware of your actions.

It’s quite another when the mindful you consciously watches the stressed you do crazy things and asks the stressed you what the hell you’re doing.  It’s like you’re doing things that you know are counter to the way you want to be.

The good thing is that, with this awareness, you can stop yourself mid-stream and make a different choice.  Without the awareness you continue to follow the unproductive path and wonder how you ended up where you did.

Talking to myself

I thought I would let you in on a recent conversation (or tennis match) that went on in my head (S is the stressed me and M is the mindful me):

S: I’ve GOT to get this stuff done today!  And it’s already 1pm.  What happened to the day?

M: How much have you actually accomplished today?

S:  Well, I did A and B but I still have C, D and E to get done before the end of the day.  People are relying on me to get all this done!

M: That’s awesome that you already did A and B! What’s the worst that would happen if it didn’t all get done today?

S: Others may get upset, or not.  I would be letting them down.  For the things I’m doing for my own business, whatever didn’t get done today would just roll into tomorrow.  But I would be that much farther behind.

M: Behind what?

S: What I set out for myself to accomplish this week.  It’s already Thursday!

M: How are you feeling today?

S: Stressed and not quite enough.

M: Is that how you want your life to be?

S: Obviously not.

M: Will accomplishing your weekly goals change how you feel?

S: Sure.  In the short term I’ll feel better but then I’ll set the same or more goals for myself the following week and repeat the same stressful cycle.

M: So, accomplishing your goals won’t really change how you feel each day?

S:  Thanks for throwing that in my face!  I guess you’re right.

M: How do you want to feel each day?

S: Relaxed and accomplished.  Feeling good about whatever little things I do accomplish each day.

M: Can you do that right now?

S: I’m not sure.  I can try.

M:  Yoda quote: “There is no try.  There is only do.”  Take a deep breath.  Think about what you’ve already accomplished today.  Can that be enough for you?

S:  No.  But. But. But.  I don’t want to keep living like this.

M: Why is it important to you to keep living like this?

S: Ouch.  I’m defending some bizarre way of being that is completely counter to what I really want.  I’m attached to it, to making sure it doesn’t change.  I can feel how tightly I’m holding onto it.  It’s really wearing me out.

M: Then let go.  Stop making it so hard.  Release the tension.  Let go.

S:  I feel like I’m falling if I let go.  It’s scary.

M: You’re not falling.  You’re flying.

S: Releasing my death grip on all that feels good.  I can relax again.  And my world isn’t ending.  Well, my old world is ending but it’s a world that’s not serving me.  It’s hard to let it go but I know it’s the best thing for me.

M: Great!  Keep going!

S:  And I know that, in order to not fall back into my old world, I have to accept things just the way they are.  Accept that I have a lot of things I’m committed to each day and that I usually can’t do everything every day. 

My top values are my health, my family and my integrity.  To maintain my health, I make sure I practice yoga and meditate each day.  I put my family before my chores, job and business.  Make sure my kids and husband know that they come first by showing them every day.  Maintain my integrity by practicing what I preach.

I’m not perfect and some days will be better than others.  That’s OK.  I’m doing my best and that’s the best I can do.

I realize that I’ve been resisting the way things are and that’s what’s created all my stress and anxiety.  Releasing the resistance and accepting the way things are has made a world of difference in other areas of my life.  It’s time to implement it here.

While that feels like “giving up” at first, it’s a wonderful feeling once I let it sink in.

simple steps

Do you have grand plans for yourself and your life?  Do you stress and worry about getting it all done?

Here are some points to consider:

  • What’s the purpose of my life?  What’s my mission?
  • What’s the point of accomplishing all these worthy and noble things if I neglect my values along the way?
  • How can I include them?
  • When I start stressing about what’s not getting done, ask: What’s the worst that could happen?

Slow down.

Feel good.

Be happy.


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43 Responses to I Want To Change the World and I Want It Done Yesterday!

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  6. Adam
    Commented:  03/06/2012 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for the article Paige. And for the sake of spreading love to others, here it goes… I love you. 🙂

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  9. Hiten
    Commented:  02/23/2012 at 12:35 pm

    Hi Paige,

    This was a really good post. I loved the conversation you had with yourself. I learnt a lot from it.

    As I was reading your post, it got me thinking about something. I used to be hugely ambitious. I wanted lots of money, a nice car, a big house etc. I guess I was very materialistic in my thinking.

    However, since I started to practice yoga and meditate, my ‘need’ to be ambitious has diminished incredibly.

    I still am ambitious. If I achieve some of my goals, then great. If I don’t, that’s cool as well. Because as you say, they are some things like family and health which are more important.

    And I believe by training ourselves to accept things as they are, we can get so much joy out of just ‘being’ and living in the present.
    Hiten recently posted..Meditation session at Positive ProvocationsMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/23/2012 at 1:52 pm

      These are wonderful points HIten! These are things the mindful me, that knows better, says.

      While my ambitions are definitely not in the area of wanting more stuff, the drive to achieve is great for me. Achievement for me is in helping and supporting others. The more money I make, the more people I can help.

      My yoga and meditation practice definitely help to keep my mindful voice loud.

      I’ve been working with my husband and friends lately to better understand the Law of Attraction and implement it in my life. So much of this is about just feeling good and only doing what feels good.

      It’s a practice that I practice daily.

      Thanks so much for your awesome comment HIten!

    Galen Pearl
    Commented:  02/22/2012 at 5:46 pm

    Ha–loved the title! Isn’t that the truth. I remember reading Hesse’s Siddhartha years ago. Siddhartha said, “I can think. I can wait. I can fast.” Ah, the waiting part. Patience. Early in my parenting years when I found out that my son was autistic, I remember someone saying to me, “This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.” We can’t do everything all at once. Great post. And great comments, too.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Feelings on My MindMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/22/2012 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Galen! Yes, the waiting is the hardest part (wasn’t that a song?). My two sides go back and forth on the whole waiting thing.

      S: Life is short. You never know when your time will come so do as much as you can with the little time you have.

      M: Enjoy the journey and the process. Life isn’t a race. It’s all about the relationships, not the accomplishments.

      Oh, if they would just agree to disagree and get over it! 🙂

    Linda Wolf
    Commented:  02/22/2012 at 8:22 am


    Your conversation with yourself made me laugh, thanks for your honesty! Ha. I also love the quote you start off with from Barbara Reinhold. So true!!! Change takes persistence, tenacity, COURAGE! I’m working on letting go not just on a daily basis with a morning meditation, but all through the day, letting those anxious and negative thoughts GO, focusing instead on nothing, not thinking, or a replacement positive thought or prayer.

    Thanks for your lovely blog.

    Linda Wolf recently posted..To Increase Peace of Mind, Develop Your IntuitionMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/22/2012 at 12:08 pm

      Thank you Linda! Sounds like you’ve got a great all-day practice going. Yes, it definitely takes more than a morning meditation, although that’s a great place to start. Learning to be aware of our thoughts and emotions all day is where the change starts.

      I like to look at all of this as a daily practice. We keep practicing and some days are better than others. No judgment. We just keep practicing.

      I’ve used this approach with my yoga over the years and the level of change and transformation is truly amazing. It’s usually hard to see on a daily basis but when I look back a year or two, I have to say WOW!

      All those baby steps really add up.

    Tess The Bold Life
    Commented:  02/21/2012 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Paige,
    I believe it’s my lower self or ego that tell me I’m not enough, I don’t do enough and I don’t have enough. All stress for me falls under one of these three thoughts. I change it to I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.
    Tess The Bold Life recently posted..Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For What You WantMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/21/2012 at 5:02 pm

      I can totally relate, Tess. The whole “not being enough” is probably the most difficult issue I’ve dealt with over the years and it still obviously has a strong grip on my psyche. I’m implementing your mantras of being, having and doing enough. I know that’s the truth. Thank you so much for that!

      Linda Wolf
      Commented:  02/22/2012 at 8:59 am


      I agree, totally, about the different selves – the ego wants us to be stressed all the time, that gives it more to do and manage, gives it a reason to exist!! Taming the ego and bringing it to its balanced function means it simply keeps us driven and motivated forward, but not to the point of self-flagellation. 🙂

      Linda Wolf recently posted..To Increase Peace of Mind, Develop Your IntuitionMy Profile

    Gay Barefield
    Commented:  02/21/2012 at 3:01 pm

    Sometimes the “stressed out” version wins but great wakeup call for me! Thanks Paige. You just have to keep reminding yourself every single day of what you HAVE accomplished and what is really important.
    Gay Barefield recently posted..The Case of the “What Ifs”My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/21/2012 at 4:59 pm

      Exactly Gay! That morning gratitude practice helps in keeping me more mindful and balanced – and happy! When the stressful me starts to rear it’s ugly head during the day, I stop, take a deep breath and mentally go through a gratitude list. It’s a great pattern interrupt. And, like all of this, it’s a practice that I’m better at on some days than others. 🙂

    Melody | Deliberate Receiving
    Commented:  02/20/2012 at 4:30 pm

    This is brilliant Paige!

    I love that you posted your head’s conversation… 🙂 And it’s so timely, too. I’ve been struggling with my own stressed out self the last couple of days and my mindful self finally figured out how to let something go today. Phew! Feel so much calmer.
    I usually start by day with a cup of Chai tea and some positive CD’s or meditation. In other words, I put myself and how I feel first, get my head on straight and only THEN try to tackle everything else. It’s worked wonders on how productive I am and more importantly, how I feel. Now, when I don’t feel like working, I don’t. Period. But when I do… I can knock out days worth of high quality work in a few hours. That’s leverage.

    Awesome post!

    Huge hugs,
    Melody | Deliberate Receiving recently posted..No Longer BedazzledMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/20/2012 at 8:06 pm

      Ahhh Melody – Reminds me of the days before kids. I would get up early, write my goals and gratitudes, practice yoga and meditate and sip my tea. It would all put me in the perfect frame of mind for the day.

      Then I had kids and it all went out the window.

      When I get up early, my 2 yr. old inevitably gets up about 15 minutes later, sensing that I’m no longer in bed (we co-sleep). Yoga happens later in the afternoon with the kids “practicing” with me (climbing on me). Meditation is about ten deep breaths before someone needs me for something.

      I know it will change as they get older (they’re 2, 5 & 8 now). It’s a big practice in patience at this point.

      While I’m enjoying every moment with my kids, I’m looking forward to quiet mornings again.

      Thanks for the great advice Melody!! You’re awesome!

    Nancy Shields
    Commented:  02/20/2012 at 3:26 pm

    I love the part of “what’s the worst that can happen?”

    It’s so important to just breath and get back to our breathe. We get so stressed about our “to do” lists and really what we really need to be concerned with is the “moment”…..

    I wrote a blog about Living life at it’s fullest – and the only way to do that is in the moment – I tell people when they worry about this and that – “where are your feet right now?” They say on the floor in front of me – then that’s the only thing you have to think about.

    Here’s to living in the moment without stress!
    Nancy Shields recently posted..THE DAY THAT TURNS YOUR LIFE AROUND…My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/20/2012 at 4:27 pm

      Exactly Nancy!

      The mindful me knows that the present moment is the only thing that matters and that there’s no stress in the present. Stress is created by living in the future.

      It’s a daily practice in my quest to have the mindful me take over (or kick out) the stressed me.

      Thanks for your great comment!

    Commented:  02/20/2012 at 11:52 am

    Paige: I was smiling when I was reading this post and the conversation between your 2 selves:) I know exactly what you are talking about. What you said is so true that when you are aware of what’s going on, you expect to not fall into the same old traps … but it is so easy to repeatedly do so. Really great post and it is nice to know I am not the only one:)
    Sibyl recently posted..How To Make Sure You Aren’t Thinking Too Small – Get What You Really WantMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/20/2012 at 1:12 pm

      Thanks Sibyl!

      I think the more we open up and talk about our own “craziness” the more we realize that we’re not alone. We’re all working in our own ways to make sense of things and live happier lives. The more open we are, the more we can support each other.

    Commented:  02/20/2012 at 8:36 am

    I love that you wrote down that inner dialogue, what a great exercise! It’s amazing how that kind of stuff is going on constantly in our heads and how much it can be holding us back.

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/20/2012 at 1:08 pm

      You’re so right Doug. This post was definitely an exercise for me. I sat down at my computer with a simple idea for a post. This usually only takes me an hour or two. Well, two days and many pages of edited writing later, this is what came out. Hopefully I’ll be able to turn some of the edited info into more posts. The process of writing this was very therapeutic and had me questioning more and more assumptions that I’ve been living with.

      I would highly recommend writing out your internal dialogues. Taking the time to write them out slows us down just enough to question what we’re thinking. And then we realize how much crazy stuff is in our heads that drives our daily actions and creates our own limitations.

      Thanks again Doug!

    Noch Noch | be me. be natural.
    Commented:  02/20/2012 at 8:05 am

    that just sounded like a conversation between me and my fiance, me being the one who wants to rush through everything of course!!
    Noch noch
    Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..10 things not to say to a depressed person (and please don’t ever say to me either)My Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/20/2012 at 1:02 pm

      I hear ya Noch Noch! I’ve been the one rushing through everything for so many years. Unfortunately, most of those years I didn’t have the mindful me to counter the stressed me.

      You’ve definitely stopped your stressful life and are taking the time to really listen to your mindful self. Bravo to you for doing that and showing others the many benefits.

    Mike Routen
    Commented:  02/20/2012 at 12:41 am


    Thank you for the gentle reminder to listen to our mindful self more often. It is so easy to tell that side of myself to be quiet so that I can get all of the work done that I set out to do.

    My wife and I were just talking about how people so rarely stop to enjoy the life that is going on around them. I’m as guilty as anyone of doing just that.

    Time to be a little more mindful!

    Mike Routen recently posted..7 Ways To Avoid A MortgageMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/20/2012 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks Mike!

      Your last post was definitely a lesson in being more mindful about how we choose our homes (and the resulting debt).

      Yes, we’re all so busy doing, doing, doing that we forget to be – especially when our society puts so little importance on simply being.

      You’ll have a lot more time to slow down and simply be when you and your family get out on your sailboat home!

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  11. Betsy at Zen Mama
    Commented:  02/19/2012 at 3:52 am

    This is a familiar conversation to me. And this if the perfect post for me and the proof is that I’m up at almost 4 in the morning doing everything I didn’t get done yesterday. Yesterday I tried to de-stress and be mindful but the opposite side of the coin is that I woke up feeling stressed now! Is there a good answer? Maybe the answer is spring is coming and we’ll have more daylight soon!
    Betsy at Zen Mama recently posted..Teach Your Children To Give Random Acts Of KindnessMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/19/2012 at 12:34 pm

      LOL! While you’re getting up at 4am, I’m staying up until 2am to accomplish the same thing. While more daylight is always a good thing, I know it won’t change things for me until I decide to change.

      My big question is: Is it possible to fully accept and be OK with what we actually accomplish each day? Yes, it’s a choice. Has anyone out there integrated that choice into their life?

    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog
    Commented:  02/19/2012 at 1:00 am

    It is a constant balancing act isn’t it. It is true, this post made me smile because similar conversations go on in my own head. I think with time it gets better, still there are days….

    Aloha wags!
    Jt Clough | Big Island Dog recently posted..Pumpkin Love Recipes and RemediesMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/19/2012 at 12:29 pm

      Yes, Jt, things are definitely better now than they ever were. Being aware or mindful and taking full personal responsibility takes the anger, blame and resentment out of it. And I lived with all of those for all too many years. I feel I’m left with frustration and occassional humor as I watch myself each day because it’s all up to me to make my life better.

      Thanks and aloha!

    Evelyn Lim
    Commented:  02/18/2012 at 11:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing the interesting conversation that has gone on in your head LOL! I find myself having a lot to do but I also have realized that it is a choice how I wish to live each day. And so I need to continually remind myself to make that choice. With so many tasks, I need to prioritize. Getting clear on what my values are helps me make that choice. So I am definitely in agreement with not neglecting my values.

    Oh yes, let’s not beat ourselves up over all unaccomplished stuff. We are really doing the best we can. Thank you for a great reminder about being mindful!
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..7 Reasons Why Create a Relationship Vision BoardMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/19/2012 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks Evelyn!

      You’re right on – Making choices (and knowing it’s our choice) based on our values and personal priorities is the obvious thing to do. It just seems like a daily challenge to actually do this. And, just writing this sentance made me realize that I’m choosing to make it a challenge. LOL!

    Fran Sorin
    Commented:  02/18/2012 at 10:49 pm


    What a wonderful thought provoking post. It’s amazing how we may have heard these ideas before but the way you have expressed yourself is unique. And I love your split conversation with yourself.

    Oh man….am I ever identifying with the stressed/mindless me the past few days. With this post, I’m going to slow down, get a cup of coffee and spend at least a half hour reading a good book! As always, thank you for making a difference in my day…xxoo-Fran
    Fran Sorin recently posted..How An Irreverent and Passionate Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Turns People Onto The Mystery and Beauty of LifeMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/19/2012 at 12:19 pm

      Thank you Fran! As soon as I can get all three kids calmed down (is that even possible?), I’m looking forward to my tea and Yoga Journal.

      My conversations with myself are sometimes tough because I’m watching myself do and think unproductive things. Sometimes I make different choices and other times it seems impossible to stop the momentum in the wrong direction. At least I’m aware, which is the first step, and I understand what’s going on. Being able to take full control over it is the next big step.

      Have a beautiful Sunday!

    Vidya Sury
    Commented:  02/18/2012 at 10:35 pm

    I just had a thought after I read this post. Are you sure you’re not a mind-reader, Paige? 😀
    That “M” of yours could have easily been “Sury” for me. We often have conversations where his contribution is pretty much like your M. You’ve neatly summed up what every single person today must be going through (whether they admit it or not is a different story).

    I do feel like this often, especially when there’s too much to do – and I was laughing when I read “So, accomplishing your goals won’t really change how you feel each day?” – Sigh. You’ve hit the painful nail on the proverbial head.

    Great post and I love it! Have a fabulous (stress-free) Sunday, Paige!
    Vidya Sury recently posted..The Haiku Challenge 2012 – Day 18 – FamineMy Profile

      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  02/19/2012 at 12:15 pm

      Thank you so much Vidya!

      I frequently have to laugh at the human condition (and my own). Why do we persist in creating so much stress for ourselves? Maybe it’s that societal programming that things are supposed to be hard. I’m working on changing my programming but I’m obviously not there yet. 🙂


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