Give it a name


When I was a kid, my dad seemed to have a nickname for everything. For years the lawnmower was known as Big Red. When he asked us about our friends, he'd their shorten their names and add "the" before them, so Gina and Jody became the Gin and the Jod. He nicknamed the places we shopped and the places we worked. My brother was Skippy for a time, in reference to his lawn-mowing style. To this day I still call my mom Little Mama, the name Dad created for her; he is Big D. All these nicknames drove us a little crazy, but they also added to an atmosphere of play in the house.


When I went to college, I was friends with a group of friends who rented a house together, the House of CHAMS - Caroline, Heather, Alyssa, Mary and Samantha. Having one word to describe it rather than saying each of their names was fun. And it made it memorable (I graduated over 20 years ago!).


On the podcasts Happier with Gretchen Rubin and Happier in Hollywood, Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft talk about the fluency heuristic, which is the concept that if it's easier to say or think something, it seems more valuable. Alliteration and rhyming are great ways to do this. I've heard them use the term power hour as a strategy to knock out dreaded or procrastinated tasks in - you guessed it - a dedicated hour. Elizabeth and her writing partner Sarah talk about seasons of sacrifice, times when work is more intense and therefore other priorities have to suffer for a bit.


Last week I took a much-needed vacation day. Often my PTO days are used for speeches or family obligations, but this day was just for me. I read, I slept, I had the house to myself. For the week leading up to it, I called it an obligation vacation. This helped me remember my intended goal to do things I wanted to do, rather than those I felt I was obligated to do.


Right now, I'm on a sugar strike. I'm passing up cakes and cookies and candy, because I found I was way too often saying yes. So I've started saying no, in the hopes of fitting back into my pants. Having a name for it is helping me stick with the plan. Or maybe I'm deserting desserts?


Want to make a task, a goal, or a mindset feel more special, more fun or more memorable?


Give it a name.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined."

    - Henry David Thoreau