I’m a MuthaFckn Star Chart

Ok, so apparently the cursing wasn’t an isolated, “I’m sleepy” event (see this post title… and presumably the rest of this post).

Know thyself, and to thine own self be true.

I am highly and unabashedly motivated by gold stars. Literally. The value of literal and figurative gold stars is highly inflated in my mind. Like how Girls Go Wild for t-shirts.

I also spend a weird amount of time worrying about whether I’m too much of a navel gazer and alternately assuring myself that svadhyaya, “self study,” is prescribed as part of the eight limbs of yoga and I just have a lot of catching up to do. Happily, from time to time this self-absorption bears great fruits, like the idea to employ gold stars as Liz Hacks (triggity trick yo’self to treat yo’ self).

Friends of mine used to run a seminar for young & motivated children (of their existing adult clients – which was brilliant. Create the need. Hello, wallet share). They let my old ass take it when I worked for them, when my ass was so much younger than it is now. It was a great kick in the pants and I learned some cool ideas. Ideas that rattle around in your head and subtly, heroically help you change your life by giving you a new paradigm to frame your decisions against. I learned to put the big rocks first. Or rather, I learned that it’s wise to put the big rocks first but was too in the throes of my self-diagnosed “quarter life crisis” to figure out how to at the time.

Basically, the story goes there’s this professor, he fills a big vase with rocks, asks his students (maybe engineers?) if he can fit anything else in. They say “no,” he adds pebbles. Asks again, they say, “no!,” he adds sand. Asks again. They say, “no?,” he adds water. Moral of the story? Schedule the big rocks first! The sand and water is the easy, innocent seeming shit that you don’t say no to that just creeps in and eats up all your time and head space if you’re not careful. I’ve wasted so much time lately putzing around in the sand (aka the internet/social media) and being frustrated at the end of the day that I didn’t do enough of what I want to. The big rocks are the the investments that get you where you want to be eventually.

Enter: my MuthaFuckin’ Star Chart! It’s like a mom away from mom.

Image result for gold star chart for adults
oh snapple, just realized I have an “I Can Do It!” activity in common w/ this child. Win. (and no, it’s not brushing my teeth I’m not a baby.)

I wrote down everything I wanted to make sure I did every day, or most days, and made a grid for each day for 34 days (until we went on vacation and the wheels fell off) gold Sharpie-ing in a gold star when a gold star was earned fair and square. I approached it w/ curiosity instead of self-deprecation which is a win in and of itself. Just notice. What am I voting for with my time?

I see now that my priorities fall into two categories. They are either A. so easy to do and SO easy to not do, and take no time at all in the grand scheme of things; e.g.,

  • use my inhaler,
  • take myvitamins,
  • Superman pose*,
  • don’t text while driving (STOP IT.),
  • write down 3 things I’m grateful for,
  • eat (enough) fruits and vegetables (when I started this we were striving for bare minimum – 5/day – so easy yet so much easier to not! and it’s not like I don’t like vegetables! I love vegetables!),or

B. so addictive that once I start I never want to stop and if I did it yesterday I’m dying to do it again today; e.g.,

  • read,
  • write,
  • asana (physical yoga poses – and yes, legs up the wall counts. 100%),
  • pranayama (breath work, or literally “life force control”),
  • play guitar

Or they’re both A and B, like “meditate,” “neti pot**,” “shoulder therapy,” or “poop!” (OMG. TMI.) The coolest part is… I did the things! My record to beat was a 10 star day (I’m king of the world!!!) and it really helped me steer for a while. TODAY, WE RESURRECT THE STAR CHART. Time to do the things again.

The best new year’s resolution I’ve heard was a friend of a friend’s resolve to “just be a little bit better this year.” That is, not counting my own 2010 “quit my job and shoot a gun” which set in motion my move to AZ. Cuz that was pretty bad ass. You may not give a fuck about gold stars… but if you do, and you just want to be just a little (or a lottle) bit better this year, it can’t hurt*** to try, eh? Yours probably won’t look anything like mine (lime green and full of yoga dorkery (and a few skull & crossbones when I did text while driving. BAD.)), just like that friend of a friend’s “better” likely looks nothing like mine (he was Morman, for starters).

It’s not the distance, it’s the direction.

havasupai treking.jpg

And it helps to have a map of where you’ve been, of your recent trajectory. Our past by no means dictates our future but our future is determined by what we do today, what we choose to make our life about, to include and exclude. We get to decide; “decide” meaning literally “to cut off.”  We decide what goes by deciding what stays. Big rocks first.

Maybe give yourself a gold star or a little mental self-five when you earn one today if you’re into that sort of thing, I’m gonna go play the guitar for the first time this year. MUTHAFUCKIN’ STAR CHART FTW!



Annnnd please enjoy these footnotes:

*My preferred Superman variation involves rising for an inhale, squeezing at the top for an exhale, lower on an inhale, pausing at the bottom for an exhale, rinse repeat. 15 lifts make a set.

**Somewhere in my house is a love poem I wrote to my neti pot when I was super sick last May. It starts like an R&B song and ends with “let it invade your holes.” Lusty.

***There are no absolutes…. Paper cuts are always a possibility but you’ll really probably be fine; it’s super unlikely your mothafuckin’ star chart will make you bleed.

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