I'm living in a state of guilt right now. I'm guilty because the apartment is not clean (really need to clean those bathrooms and use the Dyson). I'm guilty because I'm not swimming as often as I should (it's been about a month now). I'm guilty because I'm not writing enough on my novel (there's this whole fear of writing something bad that's absolutely paralyzing). I'm guilty because I'm not leaving comments on my friends' blogs (curse my slow reading skills and verbose writing). I'm guilty because I'm not staying in touch with old friends (or staying connected with family as I should).
So I've decided to stop the guilt. Because its crushing, de-habilitating, and isn't resulting in any good behaviors. And love is struggling to breathe with all this suffocating guilt. And rather than pledging to new goals or setting new targets in a vain attempt to motivate myself, I'm re-evaluating some out-of-whack priorities. And I'm sharing these new priorities with you just in case you're struggling to stand upright under your own burden of guilt.
- Health: Health is paramount but it's always taking a back seat. Health is not just about eating right or exercising or drinking enough water. It's really about discipline - of which I am in desperate need. So I have to get up out of my chair and start moving (swimming preferably). Health is now priority number one and every day I have to make time for it.
- Novel: My novel is never going to be completed unless I give it the much needed attention it so desperately needs. So I have no choice but to make this priority number two. Instead of hoping for some spare moments each week, I'm dedicating time specifically to writing and nothing else. Period.
- Relationships: My family and friends frequently get bumped to the side when I'm "busy" with online promotion of my blog across the varied social networks. That has to end. Personal relationships are what matter, not self-promotion or pandering to audiences. So from here on forward, my time on social networks will be primarily focused on building relationships. Forgive me if I'm quieter on Twitter or Pinterest or Google+. I'm simply trying to regain a healthy life balance.
- Stats: I love food and I love to cook, but the whole point of food should be about expressing love. Too often, I find myself getting distracted by worthless measurements like the number of comments, the click-rate, the number of subscribers, frequency of tweets, or the number of Facebook likes. But that stuff is pointless because it has nothing to do with love - it's purely narcissistic. So it ends now.
- I'm not looking at my Feedburner or Google Stats. I'm not checking the number of followers of page views. I will not count comments.
- There will be no reciprocal commenting and no "follow backs". No more feeling-guilty-because-someone-left-a-comment and jumping-over-to-"pay back" the favor.
- If I love a post (or if it sparks my interest), you'll hear from me. And if you love a post of mine, I hope I'll hear from you. But I don't love everything I read and I know you won't love everything I post either. So don't feel compelled to drop me a comment if I've left you one. And don't expect me to leave you a comment if you've left me one.
- Recipe Development: I want all the food I share to be thoroughly tested with reliably repeatable results - and so far I think I've succeeded. But I need to devote more time to original recipe development. Did you know I've been working on a chocolate cake since January? And the recipe still isn't ready. Did you know I've been working on chocolate chip cookies since September? And only yesterday did I finally decide it's ready to share.
The point is, recipe development can take months of testing, tweaking, and retesting to ensure results are reliable and repeatable. And to find the time, I'm going to have to restrict my participation in blog-hops and challenges. This saddens me because I love so many of them, but rather than letting guilt overwhelm me, I will simply be honest about my limitations. Sorry - I love the many awesome blog challenges and those who run them - I just can't participate frequently.
I will be focused on developing relationships, both online and with personal friends and family. I will still be reading your blogs and dropping comments on posts that inspire me. I will be still be hosting Made with Love Mondays, featuring my friends as Tuesday Tutors and highlighting my favorite food finds in the Friday Food Fetish series.
Hopefully as I re-prioritize, I will become a better cook, a better writer, a better blogger, a better boyfriend, a better son, a better brother, a better friend - a better person, I guess. And my success or failure in any one of these areas will ultimately be driven by one thing: love, not guilt. So goodbye guilt.
I've got new priorities now.