Personalized home organization
Entrepreneur, mom, & wife
It’s still the beginning of the year and we are all figuring out what habits will serve us best in 2023. As you’ve assessed your resolutions or goals for the year, try to decide which habits work best for you and your life right now. One habit I am working on right now is doing a yoga flow first thing in the morning. I have seen the benefits when I do it, but I am working on being more consistent.
Why should we have habits? You can live your life without them, but it will make it much harder, even if you’re not a schedule person. Creating habits during your day will ease your decision fatigue. We only have so much decision making power during the day. If you use it all up in the morning, it will be harder to make good decisions in the afternoon. So, when you haven’t created a wardrobe habit of what to wear, you use that decision making power in the morning rather than saving it to make healthy choices at dinner. When you haven’t decided what breakfast to have that morning, you use that power in the morning rather than saving it to remain calm while you child is having a meltdown. For me, I have to save a lot of decision power for the afternoon when my kids have less of it and are prone to meltdowns.
Habits save you time and energy. I just addressed how it can save you decision making energy, but it also saves a lot of time. When I already know what I’m going to wear in the morning, it saves time for picking out clothing. When I already have an evening skincare routine, it saves time when I’m ready to go to bed. Saving time is a huge reason why I have habits. They make it easier to get through what I need to so I am able to stay present and focused when playing with my kids and have more time to relax after they go to bed.
Creating habits during your day of things you like to do and things you want to do make your day more enjoyable and save that decision making power for the afternoon and evening when you need it! Now that we’ve talked about why habits are important, let me give you some tips for habit changing strategies to help you create new habits where you want to. These are all from Gretchen Rubin’s book Better than Before. I love Gretchen Rubin and her books about habits and happiness! If one habit you’re working on is reading more, I would definitely add her to your list!
One concept she talks about in Better Than Before and subsequently The Four Tendencies is the concept of the four tendencies. They are upholder, questioner, obliger and rebel.
Knowing your tendency can help if you’re trying to create a new habit. It lets you know if you will follow through on the habit on your own, if you need accountability, if you need to make sure it makes sense to you or if it needs to be part of your identity. If you’re interested in knowing your tendency, take the quiz at gretchenrubin.com/quiz.
For those of you that are upholders (🙋♀️), creating a new habit is typically on the easier end. You need to decide to do that habit and commit to it. It helps me to have a time frame, like I’m going to try this for a month and reevaluate. Normally after some time, I decide whether it’s something I want to continue.
If you are an obliger (or upholder that tips towards obliger), the strategy of accountability can really help you start new habits. Instead of working out at home alone, you may want to enlist a friend to workout at the same time with you or sign up for a workout class.
When considering accountability, it doesn’t always have to be a person holding you accountable. You need to consider what works for you. For some people, the calendar can hold them accountable or money spent on something. I hate spending money on something and not using it so money is a big accountability partner for me. If there is a habit I’m having trouble with, throwing some money at the problem typically solves it.
You can also have an accountability partner. Knowing someone will check in on your and check in on your progress may help you create your habit. You could have a step tracker competition with someone and both try to reach a specific number of steps. Or sign up for a class with someone that you wouldn’t want to leave at the class alone. One thing to consider when picking an accountability partner, sometimes spouses don’t make good accountability partners. They might be too close. Just something to consider!
The next strategy is to schedule your habit. It doesn’t help to just know that you want to do a new habit, you want to decide when you will do it. Saying you want to drink more water is great, but not helpful. When will you get your water drinking in? For me, I start the day off with a glass of water (with lemon if I’m on my game). Then, I fill up my 40 oz water bottle and aim to drink that during the school day. When I get home, I fill it up again and try to drink most of that (sometimes tiny humans steal some too which is okay). But my main goal is that glass of water in the morning and the 40 oz during the day. My water cup lives in my car (which I spend a lot of time in) so it is easily accessible. Plus, I am trying to pick up my phone less in the car so picking up my water bottle is a lot better for me!
The other reason scheduling works so well is it blocks off time that you want to create a habit. If you want to get up from your desk on go on a 30 minute walk, block it off in your calendar. Then, you can let people know you’re not available at that time and it’s already blocked off (unless they want to join you for your walk).
In my life, I schedule anything. If it isn’t on the calendar, it doesn’t get done. That includes any habits that I want to incorporate. Currently, my habits just join a routine on my calendar. I have a solid morning routine, after school routine and evening routine. There are some changes in there when we have activities after school, but those are on my calendar as well and our home routine only changes a bit.
One of my favorites is the clean slate strategy. These are times in your life when something starts new. There are times on the calendar like new years, a birthday, new school year or summer time. Many times, there is a schedule change that helps spark that clean slate feeling. There are also times where you have personal changes like getting married or divorced, new baby, moving, new job or new school. These times can also spark the clean slate feeling.
For these clean slate times, I like to take some time to think about how I want my life to look. This gives me time to think about what habits I need to create that life.
For 2023, I am really working on simplifying my life. Some new habits I have created are not scheduling every minute of the day (leaving some blank space to do whatever I want) and simplifying my cooking. Now, I have a meal planning habit and easy cooking habit. And simplifying my cooking means I have a similar grocery list every week!
Even though 2023 has already started, it’s not too late to use that clean slate energy to create some new habits to support your vision of your ideal life.
The strategy of pairing is a great one when you have some cornerstone habits in your life. From my example before, I always drink coffee in the morning. So now I have paired drinking water first. Since I really want my cup of coffee, I finish my water pretty quickly so I can get to my coffee. In pairing, you can choose to pair something you want to do with something you don’t want to do (but should do). I also pair watching TV with folding laundry. I don’t enjoy folding laundry, but it has to get done. When I do it while watching TV, I am in a much better mood about it. And, it is typically a reality show my husband doesn’t want to watch.
You can also pair a new habit with something that is already a strong habit. Brushing teeth is a typically a strong habit for a lot of people. If you’re trying to floss more, a good pairing would be flossing before you brush your teeth at night. I, personally, would not go to bed without brushing my teeth, so I would have to floss first and have to floss every night to get to brushing my teeth.
Once you start pairing more habits you want to do with things you already have a habit of doing, you are creating a habit stack. These habit stacks are what becomes routines. Routines are habit stacks that you do automatically. If you’d like to create routines in your life, starting to pair and stack habits together will create those routines that you will do automatically and not require any decision making energy, freeing up that energy for times when you need it!
The last strategy that I’d like to highlight is the strategy of convenience. When your habits are easier to follow through on, you’re more likely to stick to them. If you want to eat healthier, make sure the whole foods you’d like to consume are prepped and ready to go. Take some time to meal prep and cut up fruits and vegetables. Prep easy healthy lunches so you grab what you’d like to be eating, not just what is convenient.
If you want to start working out, make sure you have your clothes ready to go in the morning. Block the time to workout on your calendar so nothing else can get in the way. And, if you need it, create time to shower and get ready afterwards. When you have every step blocked off and you know you have time to do the whole process, you’re more likely to follow through!
One of my favorite ways to help my life look how I want it to is create habits that support it. I have three kids. Much of my day is not in my control. But, when I make the most of the time I have, I am able to use that time in a productive way, not just scrolling instagram and getting lost in the feed! And, when I do have my kids, we have habits that support our home and life to keep everything running smoothly!
Want to create a decluttering habit to simplify your life? Click the link below to get our decluttering checklist.
Then, calendar the time to declutter either once a day or once a week. Pair your new decluttering habit with your favorite podcast. Grab an accountability partner (email me and I can be that for you!). And schedule a donation pick up or time to drop off donations to make it convenient to get items out of your house!
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Wildely Organized 2024
Based in Houston, TX, Wildely Organized offers compassionate, professional in-home organization services that empower families to live functional lives in a space they love.
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