It’s The Little Things.
I have Secret Knowledge about me. I love coffee (ok not so secret but bear with me.) I will tear myself away from my Mac to go make one. Also I tend to pace the floor a bit when I’m writing and need to think. These two things are very useful to know when I need to manipulate myself into doing something.
I’ve been bringing my workout gear downstairs with me every morning. Sneaky huh?
I know me. I’ll start writing a blog and get so focussed that I conveniently forget to workout, and then I’m starving and I can’t exercise when my knees are wobbly. Or on a full stomach.
With my Secret Knowledge of my pacing and caffeine habits, I know that when I turn around to pace about in my “office” or fetch a coffee, I’ll see my workout clothes.
I will, no kidding, even put my workout clothes ON my coffee machine if I have to.
Why, you ask, don’t I just put my workout clothes on before I come downstairs? Because I know me. I need that break, the putting-on of my workout clothes. It signifies a change in activities and I’ve already pulled myself away from whatever I’m writing, so I might as well.
There’s a fashion for micro habits at the moment, little, ity-bity habits that lead to big changes.
We live our lives on automatic most of the time, our brains are designed to be able to do stuff that’s familiar without using up all our brain juice.
Like driving, washing the dishes, brushing your teeth. Pacing the floor.
But when we’re stuck at home the simple, automatic structure of our lives goes down the toilet. It can feel a little bit like a really long school holiday.
If you have so much demanding work that you’re busy from the moment you wake up and find yourself working until the wee small hours… keep reading. (Ha! I bet you thought I was going to say this blog wouldn’t apply to you!)
Or it can feel like Boxing Day at Nanna’s. You’ve eaten all the yummy food, cleaned the kitchen twice, avoided the re-runs of the Queen’s message and done every puzzle in the house (and also explains the weird lack of traffic.)
If you’d quite like to dedicate some time in your day to something fun, good for you, or a bit more difficult than usual those micro habits might come in handy.
Create small morning rituals. Bedtime is good too. Want to read more? Try putting that book you’ve always meant to read on top of your fav mug. Or maybe you’d really like to have a tidy kitchen bench, so you decide you can have a hot choc in bed only after you put 5 things away each night.
You can stick them onto other things that you do still do automatically, like feeding the cat (to stop her walking on your face), putting your glasses on or making your first blissful cup of tea.
Schedule things you want to do into your day. Want to declutter something or learn to knit? Or start learning coding via the Lynda database on the Library website? Schedule it into your calendar or planner for 15 minutes. Set a timer. If you find you’re really enjoying it you can just keep going.
I’ve found that making new routines helps me to feel a bit more normal, they’re calming and they set me up for a good day, hopefully avoiding a jam and toast binge.
I’ve put a few excercisey things in my calendar. I tweak them when things happen like a call from a friend or a client books a video session around that time. The combo of that reminder popping up on all my devices, plus the workout clothes right in my face mean I actually do it.
I’d love to hear if you have any little tricks you like to use to get yourself to do something new. Just scroll down a bit, you’ll see the comments spot – tell me your secrets!
PS: Do you remember The Count from Sesame Street? If you’re too young go and find him on You Tube. I base all my evil laughs on him. He has THE best Evil Laugh ever. Thank you Jim Henson!