The steps on the road to self improvement:

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A while ago, when I wasn’t as busy because of sickness and had been spending a ton of time in prayer, I was hyper focused on self-improvement. And let me tell you, It’s a lot easier to improve yourself when your life is at a standstill. I had a ton of time to think about my bad habits and how they formed. I was able to come up with lists of good habits I wanted to create, and since I wasn’t doing anything else, they were easy to make time for. But when my life picked back up I dropped a lot of the work I was doing, not because it wasn’t important, but because I was so busy that things were getting forgotten, or I simply didn’t have the time to chart it all so I lost some of my accountability.

Life happens like that, it comes through and sweeps us off our feet and it takes us sometime to get them back under us.

My life hasn’t calmed down any, in fact, it’s gotten busier. I’m starting a new treatment plan for my Lyme Disease, Chris and I are planning a wedding, and we’re buying a house. A lot is happening, but I’m starting to feel the tug to revisit that list of good habits I wanted to create, because after all, being busy isn’t a very good excuse for not bettering yourself.

It’s harder than it should be to get back in that zone. It’s hard to think about good habits once a day and it’s even harder to make time to form those habits. So what is a girl to do? It seemed much more black and white when I was bedridden.

  • Make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Want to be a morning person? Want to do more small acts of kindness? Need to pray more? Struggling to nourish our body correctly? Make a list of all the key traits your best self would have. If you need to make smaller points with steps you need to take to make it happen add those. Once you have it in writing you have a goal to reach.
  • Carve out time to review your daily goals and report on your steps to self improvement. Maybe you keep a journal with boxes to check off like I do, or maybe you keep a list on your phone that you simply scroll through, either way, taking time to remind yourself what you’re trying to do and seeing if you’re producing results is a good start.
  • Don’t focus on everything at once. It gets so overwhelming if you do. You’re not going to be able to pick up ten new habits at once. You’re not going to be able to stop all your problems cold turkey, and that okay. Pick the ones that our most important. Prioritize your list. What do you really want done now and what can wait till your farther along this journey. Sometimes we need to make progress before we can even start to look at the details. That’s perfectly normal.

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Adding Good Habits vs. Removing Bad Habits

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Bad habits die hard, it’s universally known. I’ve never met someone who had an easy time getting rid of a habit, they become part of our wiring, and undoing that isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s one of the main reasons that people give up on getting rid of them. It can seem just too difficult, and I get that. I’ve given up on a few of mine as well. I’m not exactly proud of it, but they felt to hard to change.

Is there an easier way to get rid of them? It’s a question that a lot of people have asked, and nobody really has an answer too, but there is an argument for pushing your bad habits out simply by forming good habits, but that too can be complicated because good habits are also hard to form. It takes time and repetition to create the wiring that all our other habits have. It requires forcing yourself to act and getting down right angry with yourself when you don’t want to. It requires self-discipline.

But is it the better alternative? Is it even true that you can push your bad habits out by replacing them with better habits?

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Retraining your brain: We’ve taught ourselves that mindless activities can take the place of hobbies

20180716_202856.jpgIf you’re like me you might be making a big push to spend more time on your hobbies and less time wasting time. I know a lot of people who are doing this, because after all we are in a digital age that runs on wasting time. Instead of going for a hike you’re rewatching a show you’ve seen before on Netflix, or worse, you’re wasting your time scrolling through Netflix for something to watch. We mindlessly scroll and we know it’s a problem, so a lot of us are trying to fix it.

But adding our hobbies back into our lives often feels like a chore. I talked about how going from a mindless activity to a mindful activity often seems like hard work, and I think we can agree just by how hard it is to talk ourselves into doing the things we love.

We love them, it should be easy, but it never is. So we add it to our to do list, we force ourselves to do them. Maybe that’s the only way to break the cycle, to make yourself get up and act. Maybe it’s harder to channel motivation to do it in a more natural way. Maybe it takes some time to build up the excitement you used to have. But if it lasts for more than the first two weeks you have to really look at why these things still feel like chores to you.

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