There are few times within a span of a year that really energizes everyone and promotes personal growth, change, and that gives us that nudge to reflect on life and figure out what direction to take next. I’m talking about the New Year! It can really be a daunting task, jotting down all those “resolutions”, feeling that social pressure to lose weight, get out of debt, to stop bad habits, or to create new ones. What if I told you there is no easy answer or solution in doing this. Nothing worth while is easy though. You are not alone if you’ve ever vowed to start working out every morning only to find yourself hitting the snooze button 3 or 4 times before barely making it out the door in time for work. I’ve been there and trust me, it all comes down to creating a discipline that you practice. It takes dedication, commitment, and most of all hope. Hope plants the seed of change.
In the last few years I have spent a great deal of time researching how successful and creative types structure their daily routines. I too have found myself wondering where the day went, how I spent the last 5 hours watching episode after episode of house hunters. I have a house, I already went through that chaotic and exciting time in my life. What am I gaining from watching this show at this stage?! How could I have used my free time better? My point is, without a plan, a strategy of sorts, a road map to your dreams so to speak, these resolutions in your notebook that stare at you have no fighting chance of really working.
Let’s back up a minute, I highly encourage you to daydream, to imagine, to reflect and write those resolutions down but how can we fully commit to something if we don’t know how we are going to really integrate them into our busy lives? As a designer, I would have to break down projects into tasks and then prioritize what I needed to get done in a given day. So for instance, if I were re-designing a living room, I would first measure the space, then write all the items needed for the project, then I would create a floor plan, then select the furniture, then put the furniture in the floor plan, then scheme fabrics and trims, and so on and so on. This is the same concept of breaking down a seemingly large project into a smaller list of tasks. Setting a goal and then breaking it down to decide how you are going to get the goal accomplished is a very powerful skill set. This method can be extremely helpful in your personal life. Trust me when I say even the simple task of writing your goal down and jotting down ways to make it happen is even better than just daydreaming about it. Try keeping a small notebook in your purse or near you throughout your day. It’s amazing how much we store in our minds and clutter ourselves with recalling all of this information. Writing it down on paper is beyond helpful! This is a tip I learned from a time management course led by a successful entrepreneur.
One thing that used to stress me out was meal planning. Newly married, I found myself wanting to create a routine of coming home and cooking healthy meals for my husband and I. In the midst of working through paperwork at the office I remember trying to come up with an idea of what to make and then having to run to the grocery store after work to buy the ingredients. We were lucky if we ate dinner by 8:30! Not a good practice when trying to be healthy and sustain a stress free life! Now I plan my meals. It makes life so much easier and now I avoid the overwhelming urge to order take out or get something quick and unhealthy to eat. Once a week I sit down, jot down recipes to get me through the week that I know how to make and what I need. I then take inventory of what I already have to make it so I know what I need to buy. Once you start doing this you develop what I call “go to recipes” that you can make with your eyes closed. On the weekends is when I experiment with new recipes so I don’t get in a food rut. Check out some of my favorite recipes to get started!
So let’s get back to looking at your daily routine and how you can keep those New Year’s resolutions working for you! All successful people swear by having a routine and a schedule in their day. Routine and being a creature of habit is actually a good thing, it provides stability and it makes it easier to get things done that you might otherwise put off. I am not talking about the wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed routine sprinkled with the forever growing list of to do’s to manage a household and raise a family. I am talking about a fulfilling life that allows you to reach your full potential and be fully engaged in your life and with the people you are around. With this you will experience peace and serenity and feel ready to take on the world! In order to reach a goal and get started at making your resolutions work for you let’s take a closer look at your daily schedule.
Ever watch the show Supernanny? Where the household is so chaotic and there is no schedule. When Jo comes in to intervene she gets them on a timed schedule that she writes out for the family and within days the whole dynamic of the house shifts into a positive and energetic one. The parents’ pressure lifts and things really begin to turn around. Let’s create that same schedule for you for 2016! It can be simple things that seem small but over the course of the week can make all the difference in your attitude and what positive things you attract in your life. Ever wish you had more time in the day to do something for you, why not make it happen?
James Clear has a fantastic article on creating new habits and sticking with them. I highly recommend that you check out his post http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change. It has a simple method that incorporates a 3-step pattern, a reminder, routine, and reward. I love this article for so many reasons, one of which is that it gives you examples of how to incorporate life changing practices into small moments throughout the day. For instance, if you wanted to express more gratitude in your life, instead of writing in a gratitude journal which works for some but not everyone, he suggests practicing gratitude daily as you sit down for dinner and saying one thing you are grateful for. In the course of the next few days, I challenge you to read that article and make those lists, and create your schedule. Then I challenge you to follow it, I promise you are going to gain so much from doing this and it will become easier and easier.
I wish you a very Happy & Healthy New Year and hope you create 2016 to be your year to lead a better and more joyful life!
Please remember we are in this together and I welcome you to share your 2016 goals with me!