260 days without yelling, 105 days of loving more to go!
Dear Hurricane Sandy,
Please blow over, no pun intended. I’ve been tracking you for days so that I can know what kind of problems you’ll bring, when to expect your wrath and what I need in order to handle the situation properly, or at least the best that I am able. All this tracking got me thinking back to the first days of this challenge when all I did was track. So while I know you are going to be a pain in my a*s the next few days I do thank you for inspiring tonight’s post and getting me to finally write it as it has been an idea lurking in my mind for months.
The Orange Rhino
The similarities to tracking a hurricane and tracking my triggers for yelling are pretty remarkable. I would track, track, track my triggers so that I could be prepared for my own storm path; so that I could know what problems would cause me to yell, when precisely I would yell, and what I needed to have in the future to be ready, mentally, in order to prevent major “storm” damage. Guess what? All the tracking? It really helped me prepare.
Yes, storms brewed in the early days. OH DID THEY EVER. I think I texted my friends five to seven times a day saying “I’m gonna lose it” and they would write back “No!! Don’t do it! You can hold it together!” But after a few days writing down all the times I yelled or wanted to yell, I saw patterns. I saw that I yelled at the same times of day. I saw that I yelled whenever I felt rushed. I saw that I yelled whenever I had my blackberry in hand, if I had just had a disagreement with my husband.
Were the findings discouraging? YES. Because there were a lot of areas of improvement and because there were a lot of findings that I never would have guessed, like how much a simple conversation about “weekend plans” with my hubby could put me in such a mood that I would yell at any child for no reason.
But just knowing the triggers, knowing that there were easy things I could now fix and yell less, like putting out snacks the night before, and knowing that there were things that I could personally CHANGE about me, well, you know what they say. Knowledge is power. This knowledge brought me clarity. It brought me a path. I don’t the technical, PhD. Study, formal rationale for why knowing a problem and labeling it makes it easier, but in this case, it did.
As I tracked more I found myself yelling less and texting my friends for support less.
Maybe it was as simple as seeing all the times I yelled on paper? Maybe that just was so ugly it really scared me and motivated me? (I know that works for me with weight loss – if I track what I eat for a week. WHOA NELLY. Suddenly I realize how bad I was and I get back on track.)
I don’t entirely know the answer for why tracking is such a powerful tool. Again, I am not a professional. I am just a mom trying to figure it all out. I don’t why tracking worked, but it did. It worked wonders – just like tracking and preparing for a Hurricane. I now know the storm is hitting tonight and I am prepared, as well as I can be. I have alcohol for after the long days (haha), I have caffeine for the long days (haha), I have canned goods, flashlights, water and more. I tracked, I got informed, and I am prepared. This storm will not take me by surprise and I am ready.
So tonight, in honor of Hurricane Sandy, I share with you my best attempt at a “professional” Trigger Tracking sheet. It is pretty close to what I wrote down and how I handle the information. I am a dork. These attachments will make that clear. But they helped me. They were integral to my figuring out how to stop yelling. Because once I looked at the “data” and could figure out a plan, I attacked each trigger one by one. And as I yelled less, I felt better. So I attacked 2 new triggers. And mastered those. And it just grew and grew and grew.
DOWNLOAD these two sheets below to see how I tracked my triggers and got on the path of not yelling!
Trigger Tracking Sheet Example (this is my best replica of what I wrote down in the beginning)
Trigger Tracking Sheet (a blank version if you want to print and try tracking yourself!)