I can rarely resist a good listicle. Show me 25 ways to make moving easier or five dance moves to melt the calories away and click, I’m hooked. We’re all in a constant state of change, hopefully for the better but sometimes we can get stuck, and not even realize it. In the day to day frenzy, you might repeat the same behavior over and over again and barely be cognizant of why you’re doing it in the first place.
Due to a more than mild case of hypochondria and many years of intense mindfulness and meditation, I’m thankfully very in tune to my environment. I had three realizations this week, nothing transcendent but powerful enough that I stopped long enough to realize whether I needed to change my behavior for the better. I call it my mini life hacks for a better tomorrow.
Life hack #1
I don’t need to tell you how important having breakfast is, and although I make it a point to eat something every single day before going to work, it doesn’t always happen. I used to regularly skip breakfast when I was in college and coffee alone could sustain me until the early afternoon. Now, not so much. I had two days where I intended to eat some cereal before leaving but got caught up chatting with my husband before work over coffee so I left for work with pretty much an empty stomach.
That simple change in my daily routine actually had some pretty significant downstream effects. Both days, I found myself at the coffee shop late in the afternoon, scone and half-caf latte in hand. Once I got home and had the delicious dinner my husband lovingly prepared, I was still not satisfied. So two bowls of Captain Crunch later and I finally had my fill. I basically overate in the afternoons and evenings simply because I skipped having a little bit of food in the morning. Not an ideal situation. So just do yourself a favor and eat something: a banana, granola bar or one of those egg sandwiches from the drive-thru if you must, your body will thank you later.
Life hack #2
Speaking of coffee, my delicious golden nectar. It’s no secret I’m a coffeeholic so I typically have two, three cups a day. There are few things in life I viscerally enjoy more than cupping a warm mug of freshly prepared coffee and taking in the distinct aroma. My morning routine consists of two cups of coffee before leaving for work, something I dreadfully missed when I was off coffee for months back last year.
Yesterday I had an errand to run before heading into work, so instead of taking the time to sit down and sip my coffee slowly, I took it to go. For one reason or another I barely sipped it as I made my way into work and it was only once I was at my desk that I began drinking it in earnest. This was about an hour and a half later than my usual time. Boy, did that time change make a difference! All of a sudden, I could actually feel the caffeine working. I was focused, alert and a lot perkier. The coffee actually did its thing.
Several studies have shown that waiting to drink coffee after you’ve been awake for a while is a much better way to reap its benefits but until you actually do it, you won’t know just how marvelous that little time difference makes. Try it and be amazed as I was and this is coming from someone who considered herself fully desensitized from the effects of caffeine due to such overwhelming coffee consumption.
Life hack #3
This final life hack is related to implementing the 90% rule I wrote about a few weeks ago. The first few weeks it was hard to consistently remember to think about whether I truly wanted to go to a particular event, or if I should take on an additional commitment. I hadn’t built the habit into my life yet, although it was important to me to figure out a way to fully implement it. What did I come up with? Well when I had some free time, I wrote a word document that reads “Are you 90% excited to do X, and looking back on X in one year will you be glad you did it?”
I copied the same phrase over and over and printed out the sheet, and then cut out each sentence and placed it in different places. I have one in my purse, my wallet, on my desk at work and at home, on my fridge, my notebooks, and even in my car. It might seem like overkill but learning how to prioritize and make time for myself amidst the many different things vying for my attention is one of my top goals for the year.
Sometimes it’s the small things that really can make a difference if we pay attention long enough. Here’s to a lifetime of noticing the little things and constantly changing for the better!