Oh man, just sitting here to write makes me feel so good. Anyway..
As I have begun settling into a new reality and needing to adjust my daily routines and schedules, I have come to conclusions about back when The Hook Nook was rolling at a hundred miles per hour and was feeling like well-oiled machine. I have been able to delve into what made those seasons blossom into what they were, and compare them to seasons where things may have felt a bit more dull and slow. In addition to my own exploration into these things, I happened to finally pick up and begin reading my copy of Atomic Habits by James Clear. It has not only taught me new perspectives about the importance of small and minuscule habits, but also has proven to me why different seasons of my career has looked different.
I've always known that I am a creature of habit. Not necessarily in my day-to-day decisions, but in my preference towards familiarity. I never really explored why I had these types of predictabilities, until recently. Being able to problem solve mentally consuming things, helps alleviate that space for something else. I've learned that if I am able to have relative predictability in certain aspects of my life, it allows my mind to have enough bandwidth to work with more "heavy" or "complex" things. Over the years, I've unknowingly made these habits to help assuage my mental space and curate opportunities for expansion:
- Buying the same brand and color of sock for over a decade so all of my socks match and no time is spent trying to find matches, or throwing away singles resulting in waste
- Prioritizing creativity (reading, writing, crocheting, etc) in my weekly, or daily, schedule
- Having a relatively predictable daily and weekly schedule to eliminate time spent thinking of how to spend white-space time
- Keeping up on household chores so my mind can stay focused on tasks-on-hand instead of overthinking all of the other day-to-day things that still need to be done, in addition to extra tasks to help me achieve my goals
- Keeping an ongoing to-do list to keep my distractive mind focused when it tends to get sidetracked with rabbit-hole tasks
- Always buying extra nonperishable products so I'm not scrambling to run to the store when I'm out. It has always been beneficial to me to keep at least one extra of commonly used items stored in cupboards to eliminate stress of needing to run an unexpected grocery store trip
There are SO MANY different things I've learned that I do often that, in my mind, have been "solutions" to problems, but in a bigger picture, they are alterations in my habits that allow me to function at a higher rate of efficiency than I would otherwise. I didn't quite realize the significance of these small decisions and how they impacted my life in much larger ways, until I ceased those intentional habits and lived in survival mode. Once my mind bandwidth has cleared out space again and I found myself leaning back into the things that *I* enjoy or make me feel good, this is when it all started to make sense.
As I'm working through Atomic Habits, there is one thing in the first couple chapters that really made an impact for me, and that was the explanation for the title itself. When I first read the title, I imagined "atomic" meant "big" (think, atomic bomb) and I went into the book with that perception. However, the author has intention to mean "small", like an atom. A small and minuscule thing that is part of a much larger creation. It's incredibly fascinating that if we make small and meaningful changes in our lives that might not seem like "huge" or "monumental" wins, these changes all add up to something much more profound and life-changing. How flipping cool is that?!
Years ago I got tired of trying to find matching socks, or losing one sock from a pair. It was insanely frustrating and ended up costing me time in the mornings just to simply FIND A FREAKING SOCK. Eventually (I think it was around the age of 18/20, I acknowledged that my favorite socks to wear were the K.Bell socks from Costco, and they come in packs of all black. SO, that's what I did. I bought the pack that had all matching colors so I didn't have to waste time or energy trying to find matching pairs. When it was time to buy more socks because some had gotten holes after awhile, I decided to buy the same pack so my old socks AND my new socks would match and everything was just... gucci. Sorry, I had to pretend to be one of the young, cool kids for a second.
I know this is silly, but imagine if I continue finding ways to problem solve my smallest struggles so my mind had space to truly process and work through larger issues? Now we're talking!!
So, I am putting this out there that this is what I'm going to try and focus on. I want to make the efforts of living more intentionally again, accepting who I am and what *I* might need to be efficient, even if it's different than someone else. Here are some things I'm going to try and start implementing:
- I want to wake up at 6am everyday again. Before the divorce, I loved this. I was able to wake up early before everyone else and enjoy my coffee in the quiet hours of the morning before the day consumed me. I had tried waking up at 5 some mornings, but learned it was just too early for my everyday. I tried 7 for a bit, and felt that it didn't give me enough time to just "be" before I was being pulled in million directions. So, I want to treat myself to those soothing hours of the world waking up and watching the sunrise - simply because it makes me happy.
- Writing is something that I've ALWAYS enjoyed. I remember it was Mr. Strickling's class in 7th grade that opened my eyes to using words for myself, instead of just consuming words from others. In high school I took a creative writing course as well as AP Composition and truly loved how words could express different emotion, and even the change in one word can affect the entire sentence. Each day I want to bring writing back into my routine, no matter how much or little it may be. I'm hoping to hop on here and share a bit more about my day, my thoughts, my realizations, my experiences.. not only to share with you, but to help me tap back into the routine of writing and the enjoyment of playing around with adjectives and verbs once again.
- On the same wavelength as writing, reading has been my personal escape and, at times, coping method since I was a child. I'd develop good relationships with the school librarians and they'd let me borrow way more books than was allowed, because they knew I was going home and reading all of them within that two week deadline before they were due. It's been so wonderful opening up books again and tapping into the minds of other humans. Whether I'm reading a novel, an autobiography, a personal development book, or whatever it may be, it's opportunities to expand my perspectives of not only writing styles, but also the experiences and passions of others which can, in turn, motivate and encourage me to follow the things that are immensely important and enjoyable to me.
- A lot of my life has come with major life changes and experiences that were outside of my control. Unfortunately, due to this, I developed an eating disorder through my teen years that still sticks with me when I am not mentally well. It was apparently my body's way of creating control when I had none, which led to me becoming physically nauseous, and sometimes ill, when I would attempt to eat. If you've followed along with me the past several years, you've seen me at my lowest. Many people would meet me in real life and make comments about how "small" I am (in addition to only standing 5'2'') which only led to further insecurity about my eating issues I battled but didn't speak out about. So one of my new habits I'd like begin is to simply just snack. Even if it's a few almonds, or some dried mangoes, as long as I am able to put something in my body, my body will begin to recognize and receive it differently, and hopefully reconfigure it's relationship towards food during those critical moments.
These are just a few of the things I have on my list, but are some of the most prioritized. I read that creating goals alone without a plan to reach those goals, only offers a temporary celebration once (or if) you are able to meet that goal. However, if we focus on the habits and problem-solving skills that help us a achieve our intended goals, it can create larger changes in ourselves that allow those goals to become expected reality. The outcomes will come no matter what, but it's what we do on our way there is what makes the outcome either positive or negative. I'm shooting for the positive.
It all boils down to our involvement in the curation of our reality. If we are willing to put forth even small amounts of effort, we will be able to reap significant rewards. On the other side of the coin, if we place no importance in engaging with our physical (and mental) reality, we are choosing to succumb to what's placed before us, as it happens, instead of creating premeditated measures to help ourselves move through those waves with less resistance. I'm really excited to see how these small efforts will ultimately affect my efficiency, happiness and success over the next few months, and even years. It can only be good if I believe it will be, right?!
If you want to get your own copy of Atomic Habits by James Clear, you can purchase on Amazon here! This is an affiliate link and a portion of your purchase will help me continue being able to do the things I love and share them with you!! Thank you for your support!
LET'S DO THIS!!!!