Day 8 of 28 Days to Simplify My Life a la Pinterest: Reset Your Habits

In another tip from her post, The Time Jar: 5 Time Management Tips That Will Change Your Life, Ruth of Living Well, Spending Less says:

“I read another book recently called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business that has also greatly impacted how I structure my day.  One of the many interesting points the book made is that our brains are wired to form habits.  These habits can become good or bad, but once something has become a true habit, a different part of our brain takes over and we begin to perform that particular habit on autopilot.  This means we no longer have to use mental energy to perform the task, which leaves our brain free to focus on getting other things done.

I used to get frustrated with myself because it seemed like I would start out my day so well, but at the end I would just fizzle, with no energy left to put towards any sort of productive endeavor.  After reading this book, I realized that because my willpower in a given day is limited, the more good habits I create for myself, the more willpower and energy I will have leftover to use towards other things.

I decided to make a list of the things I wanted to do automatically every morning.  My list included drinking a glass of water, planning my day over a cup of coffee, having personal devotion & prayer time, then writing for at least 90 minutes.  After several weeks of doing this every day, I finally stopped thinking about it.  I would find myself in the kitchen drinking my water before I was even fully awake.  It takes almost no effort to get my day started off right, and at the end of my writing session, when I take a morning break, I still feel refreshed and ready to conquer the rest of my day.”

I find the idea of limited will power interesting. I had never really thought of it that way. I definitely know I have limited resources, and I can’t force myself to do everything on my To Do list.

The morning isn’t the issue for me. In the morning, I have to get out of bed. Things get moving pretty quickly in our house most mornings, and while I’m definitely the slowest one to roll out of bed (or usually close to the slowest), I still have to get up right away and get started. There isn’t much space for new habits in the morning, as my morning habits consist of some work, usually (checking the social media streams for different businesses; or checking emails for my different jobs); making coffee; and getting breakfast for myself and sometimes other people. I’d love to add yoga into the mix but for the most part, I think that it’s best if I just leave that for another time of day. In the past week, I have added the habit of setting an intention at the start of each day, and I like that and want to keep it up. I’ve also started drinking a jar of water kefir before I have coffee, and I’ve found that that makes me feel good as well.

So, today, I thought about some other habits I’d like to build, that wouldn’t just stress me out more; and when I could build those habits.

One time of day when I tend to be a bit lost, and have time but not a lot of reserves, is after I’ve picked up the kids from school. I only pick them up three days a week, so it’s not like it would be a daily habit, but maybe I could meditate in my office for five minutes right when we get home. Even on the days that I don’t pick them up, I tend to be around home and winding down right around 3 pm.

So in closing, I will continue and/or start the following habits:

  1. Set an intention for the day (before getting out of bed).
  2. Drink a jar of water kefir (right when I get up).
  3. Meditate for five minutes in the afternoon (around 3 pm).
  4. Write down five things I’m grateful for (before dinner).
  5. Choose my outfit for the next day (before bed).

I’m excited about tomorrow! I’m going to finish reading Slaughterhouse Five so I can start Day 9 of this experiment: Read Walden by Henry David Thoreau! I even own it! And I’ve never read it! But The Paleo Mama recommends reading it as one of the tips on her list, 72 Tips to Simplify Your Life, so I took that as a great nudge to get going on it.

Check out the Pinterest board for this series.

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