Now is the season to change our Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda blues to Do-I-Did-I-Did-I’ve-Done-‘N-Did-That-Too (sung to the tune of Doo-Wah-Diddy by Manfred Man, of course).

For instance, I wanted to listen more and talk less in 2012. (Part of the whole “love better” goal.)

  • I shoulda. Listening isn’t rocket science.
  • I coulda, if I’d have just shut my pie hole.
  • I woulda, with a little discipline.

I just could not shut up for the life of me.  Obviously, I need to go to Wal-Mart for the Ears of Steel DVD.

A friend told me a story that offers the motivation to remedy my verbal diarrhea problem, but I hadn’t listened well, she doesn’t answer my calls (since I never let her talk), and I can’t find the story on the Internet.  Nonetheless, I’m going to share my flawed, paraphrased  understanding of her story, because it inspires me and I hope it will inspire you.

Once upon a time a female reporter enjoyed the prestigious honor of sitting between two extraordinary men at a banquet.  On her left was the most interesting man she had ever met.  He fascinated her with colorful stories of African safaris, world leaders he had influenced, and global events he had affected. Despite this man’s astounding accomplishments, her favorite dinner companion was on her right — for he was most interested — in her.

The man on her left:                                              The man on her right:

On a similar note, years ago I asked an author friend, “How can I become a better writer?”

Her answer? “Write.”

I expected something more philosophical and complex, like: “Climb a mountain, jump out of an airplane, walk in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway, contemplate the pyramids, then pat your head while making circles on your belly.”

“Write” is so simple, yet so hard.  I just cannot shut off my distracted mind for the life of me.  A typical morning at my desk:  “Did I forget to shave one leg?  Oh look, the neighbor’s on our front yard, bringing his adorable dog to leave a present. I’ll have to bring our adorable grandson and his potty chair (without the ‘catch receptacle’) to the neighbor’s yard to return the favor. Ouch! What’s that on my chin — a cactus sticker?…”

Sigh. It’d be easy to become discouraged.  But, my wise, successful friends stand as beacons of light. My Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda defeats of 2012 can be changed to Do-I-Did-I-Did-I’ve-Done-‘N-Did-That-Too victories in 2013 via profoundly simple solutions.  Hence, my annual to-do list looks just like a best-selling book cover/Julia Roberts movie title — only the list has different words — in different order — and there’s no one around here who looks like Julia Roberts.  Here it is: Drumroll please.


See. What’d I say?

In my hopeful zeal, I’ve even added a sublist — items that should improve my prospects of accomplishing the first list.  This list looks more like orders from Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) in Karate Kid:

Shut Up

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