I've come to realize over the last few years that, as the fellow Kansas City native Gretchen Rubin says, "the days are long but the years are short." I don't want the legacy of my 20s to be that I spent them in front of the computer reading about other people's lives on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Reader. I want to live my own life.
Leo Babuata, the author of Zen Habits suggests the power of changing or learning one habit at a time. I know that personally, this makes me much more likely to make 12 true lifestyle changes a year (heck, I'd be happy if even 6 of them stick). By 'lifestyle' I literally mean anything in your life: fitness, dietary changes, practicing mindfulness, replacing one negative habit with a related but positive habit, praying daily, avoid gossiping, etc.
They can even be baby steps: eat one fruit or vegetable at every meal, go to church every Sunday even if you sit in the back and don't participate, or focus on doing 5 minutes of activity a day. Pick a habit or a goal (if it's a goal, make it specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) and really, truly, focus on living it out for 30 days. I love this! This way, instead of staring at a long list of things to do all at once, I can make a deliberate effort to work one change into my life over the course of a month. This requires more patience (I have a whole list of ideas on the back-burner) but I'm hoping it's actually worth it and leads to real change.
If you find some goals too overwhelming but you really want to make a change, keep in mind what Leo says:
You can create habits without goals — I define goals as a predefined outcome that you’re striving for, not activities that you just want to do. So is creating a habit a goal? It can be, or you can approach it with the attitude of “it doesn’t matter what the outcome of this habit change is, but I want to enjoy the change as I do it."So enjoy the habit change, in the moment, and don’t worry what the outcome of the activity is. The outcome matters very little, if you enjoy the journey.
Without further ado, here are my monthly habits. Feel free to follow along or even better, make some for yourself! If you blog about it, put a link in the comments so we can cheer you on.
December 2011Goal: get in the habit of doing something active 6 days a week
November 2011Goal: spend less time on the internet
Looking for inspiration?
-The Happiness Project (I definitely recommend reading the book first. The website can be a little overwhelming.)
-Zen Habits (just don't try to read them all at once)!
-Find a church. Join a small group. READ YOUR BIBLE.
-Spend a month asking yourself who you are, who you have been, and who you want to be! Where were you 1, 5, 10 years ago? Where do you want to be 1, 5, 10 years from now?