Z is for Change

Do you ever know what you want to say but can’t seem to get the words out of your mouth (or in my case, on to the page)? It seems to be happening to me more and more often these days.

For example, I have been trying to write this blog post for days!

I know that I want to tell you about Zorro and how he wasn’t always the swashbuckling hero. I want to tell you about how he found a mentor who helped him to achieve his own goals. I want to tell you about how he trained to do great things starting by creating a small circle and then defending just that circle. I want to tell you how you can use this principle in your own life to accomplish your goals.

But, I sit and look at the computer screen. I type and erase. I type and erase. I type and erase.

So rather than tell you about Zorro, I have decided to tell you about me.  Last week after reading about how the Zorro principle of small circles can be applied to  life and acheiving our goals in The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work (affiliate link) by Shawn Achor. I began to apply the principles to my own life.

The idea is to start small. Create a circle of change and defend it!

Make small movements toward your ultimate goal. As many readers may know, last year around this time I became ill (ending with major surgery in December) and although I was fully recovered by April, it still took a long time for me to regain my strength (and I’m still working on stamina). During this time I fell behind on little household chores. Eventually those little things felt so big I didn’t want to face the challenges. As things tend to do the list of things to get done continued to grow and eventually it seemed so large it seemed futile to tackle even the simplest of projects. But I decided to tackle one small project each day.

I drew a circle around one small project!

My first project was to replace a light bulb at the back door. I completed the project and patted myself on the back! The next day I drew another small circle around one project (to take my loppers and cut a limb that was  ‘in the way’.) and again congratulated my accomplishment.  And on and on, so forth and so on each day. As the days passed and small projects were completed (and after all the congratulations I bestowed on myself) a week had passed and I felt good! I was starting to feel that my list wasn’t nearly as daunting!

One week of applying my Zorro Small Circle Principle has made a huge difference!

Let me warn you, once to start to tick things off your list, you’ll just want to do more. But beware of expanding your circles too far too fast. For example one of my circles was to clear a portion of my desk that becomes the dump land. Things I don’t wish to deal with right now get dumped there for later. Once I cleared that area (i.e. made it my circle) I was obligated to  defend it and keep it free from reemerging as a dump site (it’s been over a week – and it’s still clear and organized). I was so thrilled with my desk accomplishment I was tempted to expand the circle to my whole office – but I have resisted because I need to be able to defend the ground I gain.

Trying to defend too much before it becomes a habit is a recipe for disaster. So, take it slow Joe!

My circle of home improvements continues to expand and I am defending my desk against all enemies foreign (other people) or domestic (me).

What circles of change will you draw today?

My challenge to you for the month of November is to create your circles of change. Perhaps you will join me! Here are the circles of improvement I have set forth for me:

First circle: Eliminate gossip from my life. I’m not saying this is really an issue for me, except in my own home with Jenn. Actually, I’ve never considered it gossip, I’ve always just thought of it as a discussion. However, after reading a blog post yesterday (one I can’t relocate today) I have decided I need to eliminate it from my repertoire.

Second Circle: Continue Shouting “Don’t Quit”. Encouraging others has brought me so much joy and happiness that can’t help but continue.

Third Circle: Continue my home improvement a day project! I hope that by the end of the month I’ll have worked up to cleaning out the frig 😐  (ironically November 15th is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day)

Fourth Circle: Keep walking! (More on that later this month)

Fifth Circle: Be Thankful. It is very easy for me to see only what I don’t have or what is missing or wrong. This month I am making a concerted effort to see and be thankful for what I have! One thing at a time!

What about you?

What circles of improvement will you commit to for the month of November? I’d love to hear about them.

About Gayle

Gayle is a Social Media Enthusiast and Consultant with Biz Buzz Social Media Marketing; co-owner of Glynne's Soaps; a dalmatian rescuer; genealogist and member of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR) and of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC); a Cubs Fanatic; hopeful bagpiper; purveyor of positive; and a curious seeker of life.
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5 Responses to Z is for Change

  1. Donna Emery says:

    You can’t know how long I have been struggling with depression. It is not something one really talks about. You know that I work a twelve hour rotating shift. As I mentioned to Jenn yesterday, I also have a physical problem that will not go away unless I have surgery and after a year, eight steroid injections later, I am no closer to that end. The anti-depressant medication just makes you eat and It doesn’t do anything for your mood. In fact you feel worse because your clothes no longer fit! I spend many days sitting like a ghost in this house so far from civilization with so many chores that need to be done and I am physically and mentally not up to the task. So, I tell you all this to say I am going to try your idea. I am going to challenge myself to draw a circle around one this this week and get it done. I am asking will stand with me and keep me accountable? I am also going to let my sister know of this idea and she can encourage me. Thanks for sharing

    • Gayle says:

      Depression is it’s own special challenge. I too had a bout after my surgery. I wasn’t bouncing back like I thought I should. I know you know, activity will help. I also know is is difficult to make it so.

      Taking the first step is the hardest and I have full faith that you can do it!

      Of course, I’ll stand with you! I make a great cheerleader – sans the outfit 🙂 I’m cheering for you all the way!


  2. Ben Webb says:


    I thoroughly enjoyed your post! As a long time perfectionist, it is easy for me to get caught up in the nitty gritty of things. I often take on too much and wind up getting frustrated that I am failing to keep up with my obligations. That’s why I particularly enjoyed how you said we must be aware that we don’t expand our circles to quickly, that it is a matter of defending what we have already accomplished. What a insightful thought! We must allow ourselves the time to change and grow so that we can accomidate bigger circles. Wow that is liberating! Thanks Gayle!

    • Gayle says:

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      I have severe trouble pacing myself, I always think I can do it all and do it right now. I’m definitely the hare and not the tortoise…but I’m trying to learn.

      Stop by anytime.


  3. Pingback: Time Change is Harder than moving Hands on a Clock | Gayle Tabor

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