Monday, September 18, 2017

Day Two — Journaling

Theater Masks
Photo by Garry Knight Some Rights Reserved

Todays assignment is to list four actions that I've been putting off that I need to do. It's a lot like yesterday, but now I'm supposed to include what pain I've associated with it that has kept me from doing the thing that I need to do. Then, I have to express what pleasure I have gained from putting these things off. Next, I get to work out what the cost of continuing to put off each of the choices I should be making. Finally, I'm supposed to work out what I gain by taking these actions.

In summary, each of the four items should contain:

  • Decision that I've been putting off
  • The pain that has kept me from taking aciton
  • The pleasure I've gained from not taking action
  • The cost of continuing inaction
  • The gains from taking action now

For the first part, here are my four procrastinations:

  1. Fixing my diet
  2. Returning to a stability ball instead of a chair
  3. Seeing a dermatologist
  4. Quitting smoking
Now, the pain that keeps me from doing something:
  1. To fix my diet, I need to spend time and effort and money on preparing better and more balanced meals, and I might have several unpleasant days at work while I attempt to find something healthy that will provide enough nutrition to get me through the day at work.
  2. To return to using a stability ball instead of a chair at my desk, I need to clean my stability ball, re-inflate it, and alter the layout of my room slightly. Also, I know that it's more effort to sit on a ball than a chair, particularly for the first few weeks.
  3. To see a dermatologist, I have to first find one in-network with my insurance and go through the often lengthy process of setting up and having a new-patient appointment.
  4. I know that if I quit smoking, I'll face a period of time in which I really don't have the ability to deal with people in the ways that I'm compelled to each week. Also, I'll face more frequent and stronger cravings for food that I know I don't need to eat.
The pleasure I've gained from inaction:
  1. I get to eat food that I like that doesn't require as much effort to prepare or cost to procure. I know that McDonald's will be almost exactly the same every day, no matter how I feel, so the quality of my diet isn't dependent on my abilities.
  2. I have a place to sit that requires no physical effort when I'm exhausted, and I have a place to put things that accumulate on my bed when I'm ready to turn in for the night. I also get to change from my computer to my MIDI keyboard by simply rotating.
  3. I don't have face my insurance's provider listing web interface, and I don't have to deal with trying to pick a good doctor from a list of random providers.
  4. I enjoy menthol, perhaps even more than any other aspect of the cigarettes. I also enjoy the social interaction that smoking makes possible. It gives me an excuse to talk to and interact with people I would otherwise have never known. Some of my most important friendships at work are the direct result of the time I spent in the smoking area.
The cost of continued inaction:
  1. My digestive issues and weight are never resolved. I continue to have worsening knee problems. I don't like the way my body looks or works. I never get off my blood pressure meds. I never resolve my sleep issues. I continue to feel like crap when I know I shouldn't, because I ate junk.
  2. My back and knee problems continue to worsen, along with my posture. I continue accumulating junk in my bedroom that instead of getting dealt with appropriately just gets shuttled back and forth between the bed and the chair several times a day.
  3. I never find out if any of my new freckles are actually something to worry about, and I do not have a baseline skin survey to provide a reference for future changes in my skin's condition. I also never get anything meaningful done about my acne.
  4. My respiratory issues worsen, and I find myself unable to work even a moderately-demanding job. I could also eventually develop anosmia or lung cancer.
The gains from taking action now:
  1. I feel better. I lose weight. I stop feeling so sick and tired so much of the time. I may eventually be able to get off my blood pressure meds.
  2. My back will thank me in a few weeks, and my room will be much easier to sweep and mop.
  3. I get answers, and I can begin to establish a medical history for my skin that will benefit me as I continue to age — especially with my family history of skin cancer.
  4. I can breath better. I can attract better room mates. I can better care for my collectables. My doctors stop harassing me about it. I can encourage a positive change in the friends around me who still smoke.
That simple exercise lead to a lot more thinking and writing than I would have expected up front. I also now really want to get up, go find my ball, and swap it for my chair before I go much further with my day. Then, I'm going to look for a dermatologist. The other two may take some time, but I know they are both things I need to act on sooner rather than later, especially with the new perspective this has given me.

Maybe their is something to this after all?

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