My mom lives in Winston-Salem, and years ago when Paul and I would be going up to see her we would be on the interstate and as we got closer Paul would start singing the old AC/DC song, “I’m on a highway to hell,“ and he would laugh at his own joke.
I’m not sure what made me think of that the other day, but it reminded me of the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.“ That’s another phrase I remember hearing for the first time and taking a while to piece it together.
We want to do the right thing; we plan to do the right thing, but somewhere along the way, we don’t get around to it, and we end up doing the same old thing we’ve always done, or we don’t do anything at all.
We plan to stop smoking, lose weight, touch base with an old friend, or take soup to that friend that has the flu, but somehow we never get around to it. When we hesitate too long, the moment is gone.
Sometimes I think about the humble birthday card or thank you card from both sides – giving and receiving. The item “send thank you card to so and so“ is on my to-do list for so long that I will finally justify to myself that it’s been so long it would be embarrassing and I can’t send it now. While I feel a sense of relief that it’s gone from my list, it’s not gone because I accomplished it. It’s gone because I gave up.
Then I will get a card in the mail, and I find it so sweet and kind and it makes me so happy that I feel even worse that I failed to complete the task for someone else.
Follow-through is what I need more of. A friend once advised me that if a task can be accomplished in 60 seconds or less, I should stop thinking about it and just do it. I’ve upped that to 180 seconds, and I am utterly amazed at how many small tasks I am able to accomplish. Things that used to go undone.
One day I was telling an acquaintance that I had worked out for 20 minutes that day - proud that I had been able to find any amount of time for exercise, and she responded with the latest guidelines from somewhere or other that you need to get your heart rate up for at least 150 minutes a week and at the rate I was going, I wasn’t going to make it. Talk about letting the air out of my balloon.
Some people tie themselves into knots with perfectionism, and it stops a lot of things from getting done and progress from being made. Some people think if they can’t do it perfectly then they won’t even start. Although I’m not sure if it has been perfectionism or laziness, I’m sad when I think of all the good intentions I failed to follow through with. I’m planning to do better!
Years ago I heard something regarding what we plan versus what we accomplish, and when the woman told me my exercise wasn’t good enough, I was able to pull it from the dark recesses of my mind and explain to her that “the mile I walked is better than the 2 miles I planned to run.“
So excuse me while I listen to a little AC/DC as I go for my walk.