Clutter has been the focus on my mind lately, clearing it out from everywhere. I have discussed clearing the clutter from the home, the head, and the heart. So how do we keep the chaos from entering in and taking over again? My answer? Consistency is key. Know, the biggie – how to be consistent.
I’ve put together my top tips to keep the sanity – super helpful for the holiday season as well!
Keep your eye on your why
Before you even start coming up with any consistency in your life, you need to address what you want to have as constants. What habits do you want to form, and what habits do you want to eliminate? If your nighttime routine includes a big bowl of ice cream and Netflix, then maybe you need to ask yourself why. Do you feel like it is a good use of your time? Do you feel like the bowl of ice cream (or some other sweet) every night is worth the sluggishness you feel in the morning?
Speaking of that sluggish-ness, what is your routine in the morning? If your consistent ritual is to hit snooze five times and then live on coffee out of an IV, do you really want to keep this? Why are you doing it?
What is your goal – what do you want to get out of your day?
What is your purpose for getting up every day?
Are you at your best in a caffeine/sugar/insert bad habit coma every day?
Pick Your Battles
Going back to what is most important and setting an intention for the day, how about those ever present battles that crop up? Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is cued in to our perfect agenda, and I’m convinced children have sensors that go off any time you think your day is mapped out perfectly. Leave it to the threenagers to throw that out the window and immediately flail into a tantrum of how all the clothes are too itchy.
Sometimes a battle can turn into a knock-down-drag-out fight, and sometimes the battle can take over. I have been guilty of “one-upmanship”, where the fight to get the last word in takes over the actual issue at hand. There are times where the fight is having you. At this point everyone is so fried with tears and tantrums that you’ve forgotten what the initial issue was about.
And so I’ve learned to pick my battles. If Clara wants to draw in her bed at night because she can’t get to sleep, that’s a lot easier than forcing her to lay with her eyes closed (you can lead a horse to water…but you can’t make her sleep). If Juliet decides today is a t-shirt, dress, shorts, skirt, fairy wings and rain boots day, it’s better than a battle that results in her not having a voice and me listening to her wails.
We also set clear boundaries and those aren’t crossed. They are for safety, for ease, or for overall family happiness. We stand firm, and when we say it, no means NO. But when the battle is a high emotional outburst for something that isn’t that big of a deal, we choose to let it slide – with children and with adults.
Life is more than a confrontation. Let it flow and enjoy the ride!
Here is a biggie:
Oh how I love this! We all have the same hours in our day, and we all are capable of putting parameters on how our time is spent. That is called living with intention and not simply living in reaction. There will always be things that crop up to throw us off track.
What are your priorities? What is essential that you need to do every day? Or just today? Let me give you a big tip:
Your top priority is not in an email or on TV.
Look at the people living in your own home – start there.
How can you prioritize what needs to get accomplished today?
- Hint – lay this out the night before. Bookend you day by ending it with preparations for the next morning. (Nathan and I make sure we have our stovetop espresso maker all ready to go and dishes all cleaned so we can start the morning with coffee and cleanliness).
- Lay out what has to get accomplished the next day – deposit those checks, go to the grocery, or finish that business proposal. Make sure you have your to-do list laid out of what is an absolute must that day, and then be realistic about what you know you can accomplish. Include in these goals the emotional and social side.
We can get so stuck in the tedious tasks that we lose sight of the relationships and our own well-being in the process.
- In the morning, take a deep breath to bring in the day. Stretch, do some yoga poses (I love yoga with Adrienne or Candace – they have some excellent morning wakeup routines).
- Give your loved ones a hug and tell them “good morning”. Start your day out with love. Cheesy, yes – important, even more so.
- Time-block. You might think that sounds a bit drill sergeant-ish, but when you put parameters around what you are doing, you don’t slip into time getting away from you. One thing that takes double the time you planned for, and you can have a whole day spiraling downhill. Be realistic on your time, and stick to it. If you have any time left over after you’ve completed something, you can easily add in what you ran out of time for.
Ignore your feelings
What? Ignore your feelings, you say? Okay, not entirely. But don’t let that monkey mind take over. The monkey mind is a powerful thing:
Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.
I’ll add in negativity and complacency as two more monkey antics we all deal with. Don’t let your whiny voice jump out and tell you it’s too hard. If you want to exercise, set a reminder on your phone and do it religiously. Don’t allow for excuses or cop-outs. This is me talking to myself here, as I’ve consistently put off the 100 pushups a day my husband is challenging me on. Stopping now…and BOOM. One hundred and five pushups! Before you think I’m superwoman, I broke those down to 15 reps at a time throughout the day. The day is only half over – who knows how many I can do if I stop and allow for those little breaks!
When it comes to developing consistency, don’t let the whiny voice jump out.
You can do it. Your biggest enemy is oftentimes in your own mind – so if you “don’t feel like it,” ignore that and keep on going. You have to break past it to develop an new habit.
Catch that wagon – if you fall off, jump back on!
Baby steps are important in developing consistency. If you go too far overboard, time-blocking your day and setting insane goals (like 100 pushups? Come ON Nathan!), it will be easier to fall off that wagon. Create a plan and commit to following through. And if things don’t go as planned (you have a sick child, a work deadline to meet, or a crazy emergency) give yourself some grace. Falling off the wagon doesn’t mean you can’t get back on. Don’t give up. It’s worth it to practice intention and create that lifestyle of happiness and ease instead of just hoping it’ll appear one day.
Shoot for consistency in the things that matter most.
Create habits that help to eliminate the chaos of reaction.
Now that my work day is completed, it’s time for me to head out to the beach with my girls and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day. That is what my “why” is all about!