Rather than having highly specific goals and timelines for my life, I’ve always believed that hard work will somehow take me where I need to go. This leaves me open to new experiences but can also be overwhelming – sometimes the possibilities spin through my head so fast I can’t even figure out what to do on average weekend, much less feel confident that my more consequential choices are bringing me closer to my happiest, most fulfilled life. Over the past several months, I’ve realized I need to slow down, chill out, and be a little more deliberate in my decision-making. Here are a few strategies I came up with – I’m calling them my New Year’s resolutions because it’s still January. They’ll require some effort but cost nothing and only take five minutes a day.
1. Get out of bed when my alarm goes off.
During the winter months in particular, I’m like a rat in a pile of blankets each morning. When my phone wakes me up, I open my eyes just a slit and press snooze repeatedly until thirty minutes after I intended to get going. Breaking this habit will make for calmer mornings and hopefully lead to more productive, less harried days overall. At the very least, I’ll have time to make a healthy breakfast at home instead of eating a giant bagel from the caf or whatever crap we brought in for someone’s birthday at the office.
2. Stop doing things just to be done with them.
Since there are often so many books I could read, blog posts to write, and so on, I rush through each activity without taking the time to fully appreciate it. So I’m going to make more of a conscious effort to focus on what I’m doing and why. This will hopefully lead me to avoid waking up in ten years with no idea how I ended up where I am.
3. Meditate for five minutes each day.
I’ve tried a couple times to start a meditation practice after reading Dan Harris’s book 10% Happier (above) but haven’t been able to make it stick because I “don’t have enough time.” Not a great excuse for someone who spends hours every day watching Criminal Minds and tweeting inane things. When I’ve tried meditation in the past, it actually did help create a little space between me and whatever I’d chosen to stress out about at that particular time. So starting this evening, I’m going to make a few minutes for it once again.
P.S. – 10% Happier is a great book if you’ve heard about meditation but aren’t looking to become a practicing Buddhist. It’s an interesting combination of several stories – Harris’s career at ABC News, his experiences with meditation, and the history and science behind the practice. Here’s a link to it on Amazon.
Did you make any resolutions this year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section!