I am totally in favor of maintaining and chipping away at a list of long-term goals. These are generally the accomplishments in life that are closest to the heart and therefore most deeply satisfying . Keeping LTG lists, it's just the grown up thing to do. I personally have multiples. I have multiples of these in every room of my house and every pocket of all my worn out jeans.
Which means that I also have a chronic and nasty case of dissatisfaction with how much I am accomplishing at any given time. On days when I feel like going to bed in utter despair just one more time might be enough to push me over the edge, I try to regroup and spend some energy on short term goals. You know, the things that when finished (quickly) give you that sublime sense of Instant Gratification.
Here are some things I know will scratch the urgency itch for me. What I find particularly miraculous about this stuff is that every single item here on the STG list corresponds to something on one of my LTG lists. Even these baby steps, satisfying in and of themselves, all build toward a larger, more beautiful end product. That is just how AWESOME life can be sometimes.
- Stop everything and go get an incredible work out! Sweat and burn for twice as long as you normally do, then stretch until you want to fall asleep. You will feel better instantly, and it will be worth every minute.
- Mow the front lawn, weed JUST the flower bed, sweep the sidewalk (for me this includes scooping horse poop), and then water everything. It takes less time than you think, and it makes the whole front of the house look pretty incredible.
- Paint something. Anything. Preferably with either red or turquoise paint. Or chalkboard paint.
- Make exactly one phone call that you have been dreading.
- Empty and scrub every single trash can in the house then cut one fresh flower bouquet for every floor of the house. Light candles in every bathroom.
- Skip one meal and instead make yourself a fruit-yogurt-honey smoothie and follow it with some ice cold water with lemons. Let the inside of your body rest for a few hours. Use the time you would have spent cooking and cleaning up doing something you've been really, really, really wanting to do.
- Groom exactly one of the animals moseying around the farm. Groom him or her from head to toe. Pour your tender lovin' care all over that beloved pet as if it is both the first and last day you have together.
- Choose exactly one project on Pinterest that is within reach today. Do that thing.
- Good grief, take a remodeling shower already and give yourself an at-home mani-pedi. Lotion up. Fix your hair. Wear some perfume. WHEW that's better, and check it out... You can still work and be productive!
- Gloss up the house, make something wonderful to sip, and sit down to write an inventory of both your blessings and your answered prayers. Allow your focus to shift from problems to comforts.
- Clean the floors mercilessly. Like a shining clean sink, clean floors are contagious. So are dirty floors.
- Make contact with the people who are always on your mind. Show some love.
- Bake something incredible for Handsome, even though he INSISTS he doesn't want any more sweets, because when you DON'T bake he might think you don't love him so much anymore.
- Lay in the sun and read about fifty pages of something that loosens up your mind.
- Repot a living plant or reframe a beautiful photograph or some artwork.
- Choose and prepare fabrics for one sewing project. Cut the pieces and package them together with the pattern. If you have time to sew it, go ahead! But if not, that's cool. You are half way there for next time.
- While doing laundry in the garage or starting a meal in the kitchen, STAY PUT. Stop multi-tasking and just stay in the room where the big action is. See what you can accomplish there during the waiting times. Pretend there is a force field at the doorway. Resist every urge to wander off and layer in other activities. Organize, clean, or decorate exactly one room at a time. Seriously, girl, focus. F-O-C-U-S.
- Do a good deed that you are pretty sure cannot be found out. Help someone in secret then walk like an Egyptian.
One final note, I see a common thread amongst all of these actionable ideas: NONE of them requires a list to be written or a plan to be made. They just invite me to get really Nike about it and soak up the sense of accomplishment in a short amount of time. That can dispell the nagging sense of "I can't get it all done" in just a few hours. Bueno. Muy bueno.
What do you do for Instant Gratification?
What place does quickness have in your daily life?