The First Mistake We Make

Daniela Vladimirova  flickr

One sure way to screw up this “Big Change” you want to make in your life is to make a great big announcement about it that sounds something like,

“This time I really mean it. There’s gonna be some serious change around here. From now on . . . .”

Blah and blah and blah and blah.

Cause that’s what your people are hearing right about now?


Cause we’ve said it all before. They’ve heard it all before.

Maybe even a few times.

Oh, maybe we started out on a roll. But, sooner or later – usually sooner – we kinda sorta completely forgot that whole thing about changing our lives and we fell off the reinvention wagon. And all the people we announced our great intentions to saw us gave up on ourselves.

And, even if they didn’t say anything out loud, you heard it in your head.

“I told you so.”

Instead of being upset with them, ask yourself this question: If we don’t believe in ourselves enough to follow through, why should they?

Let’s try something different this time. Let’s don’t say anything to anyone else about our big “this time it will be different” plans. (Well, anyone but the rest of us here at Life After Tampons, since we’re already in it to win it together.)

Let’s start with a quiet declaration. Let’s keep our energy to ourselves where we really need it.

Quiet steady CONSISTENT movement. That’s what works.

More next time.


Photo: Daniela Vladimirova  flickr


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17 Responses to The First Mistake We Make

  1. Susan B says:

    Jen, I just read 9 Rules Happy Women Make (& Follow) from Oprah’s “Thought for Today” newsletter which I think speaks to your post today. It is #6: Scootch as needed. “One day I was watching my 2 yo
    son build his toy track. He would add one piece then scootch the little Thomas the Tank Engine train across the new piece. Then add another piece and scootch the train over a tiny bit more. I was about to suggest he build the whole track first and then commence to scootching when I realized this was exactly what was wrong with my whole life philosophy. Sometimes, you only need as much track as you take up, so to speak. Everything does not need to be completely planned [laid out] before you get the pleasure of scotching forward.”

  2. Sue DeVito says:

    Jen, I’m thinking that this advice may apply to myself too. I don’t think I quite believe myself when I say I am going to make that big change. I feel like I keep starting over. But I keep coming back here and finding things that keep me moving forward.

    I just came back from a long car trip with my grown daughter. She had some moth radio hour podcasts and one of them had a profound effect on me. The third on this link: is about a nurse who saved someone’s life by doing things that were not in her ordinary routine. It’s a great story, and the nurse shares that after that she felt fearless. It got me thinking some more about what I am afraid of. I think the fear is so pervasive I don’t even recognize it for what it is any more. So instead of trying to make a BIG change. My goal right now is to identify the fear that is holding me back, and reject it whenever I can. Yesterday that just involved asking a question in a big meeting. Not such a big deal, but from the comments I received afterward, it seems that I’m not the only one who is afraid!

  3. Marcy says:

    “Let’s keep our energy to ourselves where we really need it.” Amen, Amen. Not BIG changes. Small steps. So small that no one else even notices. So small that it doesn’t freak us out. 🙂

  4. Eileen says:

    I’ve made a couple big pronouncements in the past and learned my lesson. Hated that feeling of failure and letting people and myself down.

    “Quiet, steady, consistent movement.” I’ve got the quiet part down now. That’s easy. But I tend to do a bit of “forward 2 steps and back 1 step,” etc. Guess I need to work on the steady and consistent parts.

    Looking forward to the next post!

  5. Dinah says:

    Just what I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear it!
    Kind of like getting to church and thinking the preacher is pointing to you.

  6. Marie says:

    Love this! I too finally learned to keep my energy to myself until some of the changes become apparent and then I invite others to join me on the journey (sometimes).

    Thanks as always!

  7. Ann Marie Pozzini says:

    Oh god. Surgeon says I’m too young for knee replacement. And I need to lose 80 lbs to get to the maximum safe range for surgery. I hear “Weight Watchers” and bariatric surgery. My friend, there taking notes, sees I’m devasted. Yells at me while I cry and bitch and wail that I’ I tell him that I need to be irrational before I can think clearly. Two days later he’s telling me…TELLING, not suggesting, what I need to do. I tell him that the first time is a suggestion, after that’s it’s controlling. We haven’t spoken since. (Friends for 20 years)
    I am tired of disappointing myself. Every. Fucking. Time.

    • Jennifer says:

      Deep breath. Pray. Ask yourself what would be GOOD for you to do for yourself, and try that. So much of this — practically all of it — is managing that inner game. My deep loving thoughts are with you. Love, Jen

      • Ann Marie says:

        Have been doing one small thing three times a day and telling no one since my meltdown Easter morning. Wish I could say I felt better about it.
        Thanks for the support.

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