From the moment our hand swipes the side of that alarm clock in the morning to the time we tuck ourselves back under the covers at night, we are constantly on the move.
Parts of our days, we rely on routines. Whether it be to conserve mental energy or to make our desired behavior a bit more likely, many of our days are stamped with the imprint of similar ones from the past.
Other parts of our day can be a bit more spontaneous. Take a detoured route home, interact with new people, or try out a new Apple Cider vinegarette dressing. These parts of our day are refreshing reminders of the vigor of life and the autonomy of our decisions.
Between following schedules and adjusting to the unplanned parts of our days, we begin to realize how easy it is to lose sight of some good old “me time.”
Why do hopes of meditating, exercising, and contemplating so easily remain nothing more than good intentions? We are obviously aware of their positive effects. No doubt we know this because we have experienced them.
The problem is that change is hard. When we’re well-rehearsed at spending our days doing X, Y, and Z, it is difficult to find time for C or D or any other arbitrary letter of the alphabet.
Having said that, what should always be at the forefront of our minds is that we are amazing beings. Our abilities to adapt, change, and carry on are truly profound. All we need are a few tools to leverage our ability to thrive.
Shrink The Change
Chip and Dan Heath wrote a book called, Switch. It is about how to change when change is hard. They break it down to very simple and sticky ideas, one of which being shrinking the change.
This makes the decision to act less daunting. We do this when we layout our gym clothes the night before or begin the task of reorganizing the house by focusing in on one room at a time.
This is exactly what investing 1% of your day in yourself is all about – taking a desired behavior and making it seem less intimidating and more doable in our minds.
When Bill Parcels ran training camps for the New York Giants, he would establish a clear set of goals that were within immediate reach. “When you set small, visible goals, and people achieve them, they start to get it into their heads that they can succeed.”
If you commit to the idea of 1%, you put your desired actions in immediate reach while not scaring yourself off with lofty goals.
1% is a tiny sliver of your day. Fifteen minutes. Nine hundred seconds. You can do it!
And it is not just the fact that you can do it that is so great about investing this tiny amount of time in yourself. It is that day by day you will be chalking up a bunch of small victories in the wins column. And wining feel good.
Think a hot streak is limited to hitting 5 consecutive shots from the three-point line? When we continually elicit feelings of accomplishment, even if is something as tiny as finding a few new yoga positions, big things occur.
Now we have momentum and a foundation to grow that 1%. No matter what hairy audacious goal you have for growing yourself, break it down, and ask yourself what can I do for fifteen minutes today to start progressing towards it?
Make It An Awesome 1%
Now that actions for growth seem a bit more manageable, how are we going to maximize the use of this time?
Shake Things Up
Say at work you spend your 15-minute coffee break at the downstairs Starbucks playing catch up on your daily emails. Now that you have committed 1% of your day for yourself, you use that time to create some positive action and hold the door open for visitors as they come in. Your esteem is boosted with some daily altruism, and you can still get a whiff of the rich aroma of coffee beans every time you pull the door back for a stranger.
Routines are wonderful. They make it so that we do not have to make a decision. But if we repeat what we do every day, eventually, we are going to adapt, and the joy that it once gave us will fade.
Keep things fresh and be spontaneous! One day a week – do a new distinct act of kindness. Have a conversation with a stranger. Buy the person behind you in line a cup of coffee. Use the cashier’s name. Be creative and shake things up!
‘Teenager’s girls’ definitely had the right idea when it comes to keeping a journal. The act of writing allows us to overcome our inhibitions by venting and letting go of our emotions. It allows us to unburden ourselves and move past our troubles.
Don’t know what to write about? How about keeping a gratitude journal. We tend to express gratitude after times of distress. When we get sick, we are all the more grateful to be healthy, but why not express gratitude more regularly in the absence of distress.
Not just because it is the up and coming hip thing to do, but also because meditation has some amazing effects! It gives us psychological rest through reduced respiration levels and increases awareness through increase blood flow.
Meditation is an ancient practice. There is a reason why it has been around for ages. If you are planning on using your 1% to meditate, here is the lowdown:
– Observe the present moment impartially, with detachment, without evaluation.
– Do not be too focused on achieving
– Be patient; allow things to unfold in their own good time.
– See everything as if you were seeing it for the first time.
– Let go.