For the past several months I have been taking a class called “What One Person Can Do” so I can be re-certified. It’s free, worth three credits and taught by two guidance counselors. As far as I can tell, it’s a mish-mash of Deepak Chopra, new-age claptrap and plain, old-fashioned Power of Positive Thinking.

I do believe each of us has the power to change lives for the better. I love the saying, “Touch the future, teach a child.” I practice random acts of kindness randomly and I pay it forward when I have the cash. What goes around comes around, etc. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But we’ve had some crazy assignments so far. Here are some examples:

Look at yourself (with no makeup) in the mirror for one minute a day and write down what you see and think. Very visible pores. Pimples at my age! My face is friendly when I smile, a little sad in repose, my brown eyes not as big as they used to be. I see my father, too. The fat seems to be keeping the wrinkles at bay, but possibly that’s because I’m not wearing my glasses. I can live with this face, but I’m coloring my hair again.

Pick a chore you don’t like and do it with e.e.l.i.m. That’s energy, enthusiasm, like it matters. My chore choice? Getting the dishes back on the shelves. I don’t mind washing them, but I never seem to get them out of the dishdrainer. I told my husband that was what I was going to do for class, and he said, “I never knew you hated to do that. I’ll put them away from now on.” Bonus!

Love your toad. Select a habit that your significant other has that drives you crazy. Then make it okay for a week. There are several, but we must discuss them in class, so I did something G-rated. We’re talking crumbs in the kitchen. Crumbs everywhere on the counter and under my bare feet. My husband doesn’t seem to notice them. He’s not wearing his glasses either when he fixes that midnight snack. I’m just going to clean up and shut up. He has put the dishes away, after all.

Monitor your energy level during the day. I found I’m not much good until I have my tea, toast and drugs. Then I fool around on the computer in my jammies, reluctant to leave home. I’m up all through work, though— busy, multi-tasking, kidding around with kids. Then it’s supper and pajama time again. Fortunately my husband is just as tired as I am and doesn’t expect me to be a blonde-again bombshell. We’re giving our best to the public but not to each other. That’s something to think about.

How does this all relate to writing? I think it all comes down to accepting yourself for who you are, big pores and all, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, letting go and doing the best you can. You really only have control over yourself. Success is a journey, not a destination. So I’m going to enjoy life in the slow lane and keep on truckin’.

What time of the day are you most productive? What do you do to motivate yourself?

What does your toad do that drives you crazy?

Have you ever taken a class you thought you were going to hate but it surprised you?