Friday, June 11, 2010

Checking off my list

In case you missed them from my previous post, here's the list I made last week of my 10 Personal Commandments:
  • Act how I want to feel
  • Accept others for who they are
  • Don't keep score
  • Say "thank you"
  • Practice active listening
  • Get outside everyday
  • Lighten up
  • Do it now
  • Get enough sleep
  • Choose happiness
I have been working on my daily checklist to see how well I am doing at following my own rules (yes, it's an actual checklist that I mark everyday; I need a way to hold myself accountable). When do I get credit for each one? Well, since the point is for me to actively think about making changes (and I realize that I am still learning and not perfect), I give myself a check if I find myself stopping to think and applying one of my resolutions at any point during the day. So, maybe I didn't say "thank you" at every opportunity during the day, but if I did specifically remember to do it at some point during the day, then I give myself credit.

So far, I'm averaging about 80% per day. Which isn't bad. But, considering my criteria of having to do each thing only once per day, I really feel like I should be able to achieve 100% more consistently.

I'm having a really hard time with "Get enough sleep"- I have done that less than half the time. Sometimes, it's a good excuse, like I was out on a date with my hubby, and then got up with the baby in the morning and let the hubby sleep in. But, most of the time, my excuse is something along the lines of we have to finish this marathon series finale of LOST because I can't wait one more day to find out how it ends! Luckily, we're hitting the end of television season and I don't have any new shows planned for watching during the summer season. Hopefully I can start to do a little better with getting to bed at a good time.

I'm also not doing as well as I expected with my resolve to "Get outside everyday". I don't know why this is so hard for me, except that there always seems to be something else that is more important, like running errands or cooking or cleaning. Maybe I need to set aside a certain time of each day to go for a walk? Or maybe I need to plan a weekly schedule at the beginning of each week, with new places to visit?

The ones that I have done well are "Act how I want to feel", "Practice active listening", and "Choose happiness". Three of the most important ones, so now I just need to work on doing them more consistently throughout the day.

Oh, and I found some help with my commandment to "Do it now". Once again, from Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project: her One-Minute Rule. It's simple: if a task can be done in a minute or less, it must be done immediately. Coming in from the car: instead of throwing my jacket down next to my purse, hang it up immediately. Sort mail and discard junk mail as soon as it comes into the house. After finishing up a snack: put the bowl in the dishwasher. Checking email: if it'll take less than a minute, respond immediately. Make the bed in the morning. Put away my shoes. Wipe off the bathroom mirror. The idea is that all of these little tasks get taken care of right away, instead of building up until the whole mess seems unmanageable. And theoretically, this will leave extra time for some of those bigger tasks that there's never enough time for. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's working for me yet, but it's an interesting mindset. I think if I started with a clean house, this might work a little better, so I'll have to get back to you next week, once I've had the chance to get some cleaning done.

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