As I said in the first baby step post, this month, I want to highlight 31 ways to baby step your way into a more mindful and healthful life. Some of the tips will be advice already stated or implied in previous posts, while some will be brand new. This post provides the fifth and an explanation. The idea is to start at the beginning and accumulate as many mindful and healthful habits as you'd like to sustain by the conclusion of the month. It's similar to that icebreaker where you're in a circle of people and you need to repeat all of the members' names in order... it's a challenge, but you'll feel great at making progress and it'll help you see how far you've come from the 1st to the 31st!
Have you ever felt like you don't understand how some people do it? How do they get so much done?! I know I've thought to myself, Where would I even start...?! (And as loopy as this sounds, I've even considered that some coworkers must be vampires...)
Baby Step # 5
Finding the time to achieve your goals
Part of the reason some of our goals seem so challenging is not necessarily the goals themselves, it's the actual doing of the goals... we might have no problem working out or flossing or not pressing the snooze button, but putting them into place and making them a priority each day can get tough. Like we discussed in Deciding to Make a Change & Realistic Goal Setting, we need ways to set ourselves up for success. A great way to do that with nearly any goal is to find the time. And by "find the time," I really mean "make the time."
People who workout or make homemade food or clean their own homes or walk their own dogs or visit their grandmothers regularly don't have more time than you have. We all have the same amount of time and we each decide how that time will be spent. Just like in every other decision you make in life, when you choose one thing you are inadvertently (or deliberately) not choosing something else. And because , as the following post suggests, everything you do is a choice, you need to be honest with yourself regarding the choices you make and how you use your time, particularly if you feel you "don't have the time" to __________ (whatever it may be).
Some ways to find/ make time are to start by evaluating what you currently do with your time. This is similar to the concept of a food diary, but instead of servings and calories, we're concerned with minutes and hours and tasks and activities. Once you've figured out how your time is spent, you can then begin to evaluate whether this is how you want to spend your time. Setting an intention for your day/ week/ month/ year/ life is something I've started doing from my yoga practice and it truly helps keep me focused on what I feel is a priority in my life. If you want a few questions to help get focused and get started contemplating your time usage, check out this Make the Time post.
You will, inevitably find some tasks, activities, or even time-sucking habits to ditch. In that case, you can, like changing any other habit, begin to transition out of the one and replace it with something you think suits you better.
Here are some ideas for habits and activities to cut (* please note: this does not mean these are not necessarily worth doing ever, but just a list to examine and possibly apply to your own life):
about work/ commute/ family/ coworkers/ weather/ really anything
- WATCHING TELEVISION
consider picking one absolute favorite and watching only that each week--maybe a show or your favorite NFL team...
- SURFING THE INTERNET
though I am always thrilled to get new readers and love getting comments, if you find that you're spending (or even "wasting") too much time online, perhaps you should select your favorites websites/ blogs/ social media outlets and give yourself a time limit each day
- IRONING (AND THINGS LIKE IT)
this might seem silly, but I have gotten by for years without stressing too hard about ironing; if you spend hours each week doing this, it might be something you can cut or at least reduce
- PARING DOWN YOUR CLEANING ROUTINE
I am not suggesting you maintain a messy home, but if you vacuum once (or more) a day, consider every other or every third day; likewise, if you dust/ sweep/ do laundry each day, think about a rotation (or delegation!) to free up a little time
again, I am not suggesting you up and quit your job, but I am suggesting, as has been said so often, "No one on his deathbed ever said, I wish I had spent more time on my business" (Paul Tsongas). Your work can wait, and if it can't, think about whether it's the type of work you want for yourself and your family
- CUTTING OR SIMPLIFYING YOUR HAIR
in September I chopped my hair off (check out that post and before and after pictures here)! Although I admittedly look a little better without makeup with long hair, the insane amount of time I have saved has been worth having to get ready each morning...
For example, I used to spend between 10-15 minutes brushing wet hair out and 10-15 minutes dryng my long hair! That's 20-30 minutes now free for WHATEVER ELSE I WANT! And I have loved my new "free" time!
Other ways to make time for yourself, but without specifically putting anything on the chopping block:
- GO TO BED EARLIER
this is a tough one! However, if you find yourself staying awake just to clean, Google things, watch YouTube videos, or check (and recheck) Facebook, your brain probably wouldn't mind a little extra shut eye...
- ESTABLISH & MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE
obviously this is only so possible, but to whatever extent it works in your life, you might find that a schedule helps you to feel like you know where your day/ week is headed; this, in turn, can help you ease into positive changes to better yourself
- TEAM UP WITH YOUR FAMILY & FRIENDS
by doing things that have to get done as a family, you get to spend time with your family and friends and get important tasks completed
- lunch dates to catch up-- you've got to each anyway!
- family raking/ gardening/ garage cleaning party!
- family food prep or dishes/ laundry/ cleaning/ grocery shopping with a helper (Danny and I sometimes split up and each take a mini cart to be done super fast!)
- discuss meal ideas for the following week while you're all together so it's not just your responsibility to come up with the menu later
- workout together--go to the park and get active, go for a walk or hike, take your pet out together (we've even started inviting dog lovers on our dog walks to spend more time with people we love)
- SNEAK IN A FEW FITNESS MOVES
check out this post to see four easy ways to sneak some fitness into your morning routine!
What is one thing you could consider swapping out for a more productive/ positive habit for the new, healthier, more mindful you?
Or what suggestions do you have for other readers to contemplate?
Labels: Go Ahead--Try It!, Life, Mindful Baby Steps