Lets talk habits!
Our lives are full of thousands of little habits:
Wake up: Push snooze twice, roll out of bed, take a shower, brush teeth…
Exercise: Go to the gym, take the same class, use the same machines…
Work: Drive the same way to get there, park in the same spot, work on the same reports…
Family: Dinner at the same time, Monday is pasta, Tuesday is rice, Feed the kids, clean the kitchen, read some books, watch a show…
Some habits seem so inconsequential, in fact, we hardly even notice them. (I brushed my teeth this morning….didn’t I? I don’t remember it, but it is so ingrained in me….)
Essentially we are like a camera with the settings in automatic. I am assuming most of you who come to this site know what I mean. (I’m not the camera professional, but I’ve picked up a few things from having a sister who is). This isn’t a bad thing. I mean, my camera works just fine in automatic and my life seems to be going almost decently with out messing too much with my own settings. Or is it?
Last night at a quarter to ten, I could have been found throwing my pen at the wall and yelling “AHHHHHHH” out of frustration. I have been working on this writing project for so long and it is going no where. I have seen dishes wash themselves faster.
So as not to wake my sleeping baby, I retrieved the pen and started scribbling in my journal about all of my frustrations. I wanted to wrangle this problem to the ground, tie its feet together, throw my hands up in the air, and listen to the crowd cheer.
Obviously, I needed to get off the horse to do this. I started looking at my life critically and with an honesty sieve so fine that what ended up in my mind were all these chunky habits that I had thought were just inconsequential: the blogs I read that used to be useful but are now ways that I let myself waste time; the people that I surround myself with and how certain things they do influence me and my work because they change they way I feel about myself; the habits of organization that do or do not exist pertaining to my goal….All of these things that I do absentmindedly as if I was shooting my life in automatic–just letting the presets have control.
The thought occurred to me as I asked myself a hard question, “Could I really be strong enough, focused enough, resolved enough, to completely edit these things out of my life?”
It would take mindfulness about my actions. It would take honestly about some of my daily habits and their actual results. If I could add more positive habits to my life and delete the negative, it would be like shooting my life in manual. I needed to change the BALANCE and let more light in. I needed to change my DEPTH OF FIELD so that my goal was the object of focus. Then, with those things in line I could have control of my final composition. I could even be artistic!
After resolving to be more mindful of the little things, I was surprised at how much closer I felt to my goal. It was a good indication, as if I knew all along that it was I who had set up some obstacles along the way and that it was I who needed to remove them.
It is empowering to have self control.
It is empowering to not leave things to chance.
It is empowering to discover what shooting your life in manual can mean.
Lindsey Maughan is a mango enthusiast with a composite degree in modern and ballroom dance from BYU. She believes that when you read books you should take notes in the margins, that sandwiches taste better when cut on the diagonal, and that most mundane tasks can be improved upon with the right background music.
She lives with her tall, dark, and logical husband, and her almond eyed, airplane loving daughter in Hawaii. In April of this year they will welcome a second child, a boy, into the family. Both parents hope he will grow to love hiking, vacuuming, and Indian food.
Lindsey loves her jogging stroller, her ipod, good books, her journal, music, writing, dancing, cooking, yoga, and going on dates with her husband.
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