Mindful Monday: Following Through


image credit: christie zimmer

I have a confession to make. I struggle with following through on my goals. (THE HORROR.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and had a really interesting conversation with my therapist last week that got me wondering about qualities we possess that can be both beneficial and detrimental to our psyche. For example, my resourcefulness and Love (yes, with a capital “l”) of research. I don’t think this blog would be celebrating its 10th birthday without the large amount of research I do to keep the content fresh and (hopefully) engaging. The capsule wardrobe, cleaning up my beauty and skincare, and Mindful Monday posts are a few recent examples. A lot goes into those posts – weeks of reading, studying, crowd-sourcing, etc, and I very much enjoy the entire process. I love taking a huge bite into a subject and figuring out how to make that translate to those of you who might not have the desire (or time) to do the work yourselves. It doesn’t feel like a job to me. (Well, 80% of the time.)

So, YAY for resourcefulness! Makes for interesting blog posts! Except, that, well, NO.

You see, the desire to know everything you possibly can about everything isn’t always beneficial. In fact, it can be downright paralyzing. It’s like what I wrote about in the capsule wardrobe post – too much knowledge and too many choices can actually backfire in your face, leading you to spin around aimlessly without actually doing anything. Walking into a crammed-full closet and declaring, “I have nothing to wear” is the exact same concept at play as purchasing a supplement or researching a new diet or deciding on a school or buying a new phone/car/home/insurance policy. SO MANY CHOICES. (Damn you, interwebs!) I witnessed this firsthand when I was diagnosed with Lyme – I saw so many different specialists and read the books and visited the websites and talked to others dealing with the disease…and ended up starting (and eventually stopping) so many different courses of treatment. That time in my life was when I wrote a lot of of last year’s Mindful Monday posts – I was trying to cut through all the mental and spiritual clutter, quiet the noise, and listen to my own intuition. It’s definitely a lifelong learning curve.

Now, I am learning to walk the fine line between my desire to eat All! Of! The! Information! alive and actually implement some of it.

How do you begin? Well, the above graphic has some fantastic points. For starters, the biggest issue for me is to STOP HAVING SO MANY GOALS AT ONCE. I know, I know. But goals are good! Be proactive! Do the work! Yes, all of that, but when you are drowning in goals and ideas and information, you aren’t going to achieve any of them. Give yourself a break – pick one or two measurable goals and go from there. Be gentle with yourselves – this isn’t a race, and it’s completely normal to move slowly and experience setbacks.

This is what I’ve come up with for 2015. I am going to work on two goals/ideas.

The two things I am focusing on this year are my quarterly capsule wardrobes (which, hello, larger concept – lots of research and planning involved), and the second, which I am unnaturally excited about, is a small, ultra-measurable goal that will thrill me beyond belief to complete. Like happy dances for days.

What is it?

To absolutely NOT buy a single book on my Kindle until I have finished the ones I already own. (Or at least attempt to get through them – if one is horrible, I can’t promise anything, people.)

My name is Sarah and I am an Impulsive Kindle Book Purchaser.

I consider this goal “small” due to the fact that I don’t need to research anything. I don’t need to bury myself in resources as to how to achieve said goal. I just need to read the books. That I bought. At some point because I wanted to read them.

How novel! (No pun intended.)

A very attainable goal, yet a much larger concept is at play. It’s giving me the chance to prove to myself that I can follow through, and I’m being smart about it. I didn’t choose some super involved, pie-in-the-sky dream that could send me spinning. It’s simple and straightforward…isn’t that what we all need at times?

A damn fine goal if I do say so myself. Do feel me following through already or what?

You want to know what the books are, don’t you? Okay, let’s do this.


1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
2. Lessons From Madame Chic
3. The Year of Magical Thinking
4. All The Light We Cannot See
5. The Yamas & Niyamas
6. The Conscious Parent
7. Bringing Home The Dharma
8. Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself
9. The Book of Secrets
10. The Story of a Happy Marriage
11. Divergent
12. The Goldfinch (I CAN NOT GET THROUGH THIS BOOK. Everyone seems to adore it, though. What’s the deal?)
13. The Giver
14. Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning
15. What We Talk About When We Talk About God
16. The Last Letter From Your Lover

Okay, guys. I’m not buying any more books until these are all finished. #followingthroughlikeaboss

(But tell me what you’re reading. I swear I won’t buy it. Trust me! Consider it a challenge of my willpower!)

What are your thoughts on following through on goals? Do you get overwhelmed like yours truly? Have you considered setting a smaller goal for yourself in hopes to see it through to completion?

  1. Kate

    January 12, 2015 at 7:43 am

    I so appreciate your vulnerability re going to therapy! Glad it’s a helpful and reflective space for you. And yes isn’t that true for all of us- our light and our shadows are often different sides of the same coin.

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks, Kate. I think therapy should be mandatory for all! ;)

  2. Jill

    January 12, 2015 at 8:52 am

    I struggled with Goldfinch too.

  3. Melissa W

    January 12, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Your goal of reading all the books on your Kindle before buying anything new is something I’m struggling with too!! I look through the Amazon free books and top sellers almost daily lately, and I find myself buying books for my Kindle as well as requesting books to be picked up at the library. It’s becoming more stressful than fun anymore – I may have to try your technique to get a handle on things. Thanks for the idea!

  4. Erica

    January 12, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Ohhh – start with All the Light that Cannot be Seen. My favorite book of 2014. It is amazing. It also a relatively quick read. Stick with Goldfinch. It is a wonderful book. It has themes and characters that I still think about 8 months after finishing the story.

    The Year of Magical Thinking is a game changer for some. Not for me. Just didn’t stick with me, although I think it could have to do with where I was emotionally when I read it (very happy and secure).

  5. elizabeth

    January 12, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Just wanted to say that this is a timely post for me. I need to do the same. Did not finish The Goldfinch, had to return it to library before it was finished and I’m kind of okay with that fact. Good, but not great. For that status, I reserve the book I just finished, “We are not Ourselves”, by Matthew Thomas. Will reread that one with a pencil, before I ever dig back into The Goldfinch. Once you get through your list, I would highly recommend it.

    Love your posts.

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      I’ll add it to my Goodreads list for later this year. Thanks!

  6. Amy Smith

    January 12, 2015 at 11:00 am

    My favorites I flew through already this month were Carry On Warrior and an old Barbara Kingslover “Bean Trees”. Both were amazing…and both borrowed from the library b/c my 2015 resolution was to FINISH as many books as I started ;D And knowing I had a dues date, helped me push through. And save $$$!

  7. Eva

    January 12, 2015 at 11:06 am

    A couple of years ago, I read a book (Axiom, by Bill Hybels) that talked about setting six-by-six goals. The thought is to set six goals, big or small, to accomplish in six weeks. What I love is that it allows me enough time to accomplish what I need to, but also has a deadline which provides a slight sense of urgency. Current items on my six-by-six list: cleaning/organizing my home office, finishing a book that has been waiting on my kindle for months, and registering for the races I intend to run this spring. All have varying degrees of involvement and time commitment, but by writing them down and giving myself a deadline, with any success, I’ll have achieved close to 50 goals by the end of the year. It’s been a great tool for me!

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Fascinating – I love this idea. Thanks!

  8. KJ

    January 12, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I love this post because I totally get it. I love researching because I want to know that what I am choosing is “right”, but often it leads to no change at all because all the information becomes paralyzing and cancels each other out….like diet, or toxic chemicals or anything, you go to clean it all up in its entirety and then realize that moderation and a healthy mindset is probably more than half the battle!!! The trick with the Goldfinch for me was, it had to be read quickly, not a few pages at a time. Then, I truly appreciated the characters and they came to life. I have a lot of non-fiction and fiction that sits around, and I would love to read them, but I also tend to want to apply them and so it takes more time! The Year of Magical Thinking and The Story of a Happy Marriage were very moving.

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      #megaresearchersunite :)

  9. Jen

    January 12, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Speaking of commitments, are you still doing the yoga teacher training? Curious to hear more about that.

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      I am – it goes through October of this year. We’ve had a 2-month break for the holidays, but start back up in a couple of weeks. Hope to share more soon!

  10. Luisa

    January 12, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Could not stand The Goldfinch, stopped around page 450, complained on Instagram about it and had something like EIGHTY people tell me they hated the book too. Solidarity fistbump!

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Hahahaaaaa, thank God I’m not the only one!

  11. sarah

    January 12, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I have the same goal but, in addition to e-books, I tend to buy actual paper books, which accumulate like crazy– a visual reminder that I a) buy too much and b) can’t complete a project. So, I gave away many of the books in which I’ve lost interest and made a nice pile of the ones I plan, no WIIL, read.

    I FORCED myself to finish The Goldfinch. I liked about the first third and then kept reading in a weird, masochistic way and just got more and more angry about it. Life it too short for that bs. Onward. :)

  12. Vicki Jane

    January 12, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Life is FAR too short to read a book you don’t enjoy. As my mother always said, just because the other kids are jumping off the roof it doesn’t mean you have to. I ditched The Goldfinch about 40 pages in. I also didn’t get past reading the back cover of 50 shades of grey. Very proud of that!!!

  13. Megan

    January 12, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Story of a Happy Marriage – love! It’s a pretty quick read (even though I had the audiobook).

    Second above about ditching Goldfinch. There are so many things to feel guilty about. Books shouldn’t be one.

  14. Erin in CA

    January 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    One recommendation — use GoodReads to mark the books you want to read. I found that I was able to purchase fewer books when I started just adding them to my “want to read” shelf in GoodReads. And now when I DO want to read something, I just go back to that list and voila! A nice list of books I’ve wanted to read but haven’t gotten to.

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      I love GoodReads for exactly the same reason. :)

  15. Bobette

    January 12, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    All the Light WeCannot see is my nightly read.This is the book we are discussing at the end of the month in a book club I am a member of. Our next selection is the Goldfinch, you guys have given me hesitation on reading it. My dentist said she was on the fence about it also and she started the book club.

    So glad you told me about being able to subscribe to your blog now, love knowing the person that writes the blog I read.

    • whoorl

      January 12, 2015 at 5:08 pm

      I am so happy to read your comment here, Bobette! Can’t wait to start All The Light We Cannot See. :)