We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.
ROALD DAHL, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Time inevitably makes me think of change, aging, and how I want my future to be different from my past and present. My daughter, Grace, just started 1st grade and my 2 year old is talking in full sentences. How did this happen so quickly?!
Today I am going to talk about how to use time to create the life of your dreams using habit hacks.
The human brain and body are designed to live IN time. So rather than fight against Mother Nature let’s work with her. Below are 7 TIME habit hacks that will gain you a clear and sharp mind, dynamic relationships, and intention inspired actions.
1. Link your desired habit to an already existing habit (pick a trigger.)
For example, you want to keep a tidy kitchen. This tip encourages you to link a habit you already have that takes place in the kitchen… making tea with your new desired habit. So, your impulse to boil some water would be the trigger for tidying. For the 5 minutes it takes to heat your tea water you would be sweeping your floor or washing dishes, or emptying the dishwasher.
2. Batch your habits
For example, you want to take your medication every day. Batching this habit with giving your kids their vitamins, and your dog a treat will help you remember to do all three. (Just make sure you don’t accidentally give your dog a kid vitamin by mistake!)
3. Set aside time to worry
For example, you want to create a habit of getting more sleep. While the intention is valid and you are going to bed early you just can’t seem to turn your mind off. (I know lots of moms who struggle with this.) Several hours before bed you will set aside some time to worry, plan, strategize… Creating this habit will allow you to relax in the future. When your mind tells you that it can’t relax right now because it has to ______________ (worry, ruminate, remember, think about…) you can remind it that you have set aside a designated TIME to do this and NOW is not that time.
4. Schedule your habits rather than set goals. In other words, put it on the calendar.
For example, you want to workout 5 days a week. If this were just goal you might join a gym and expect that that will get you to work out. But if you are anything like me, that’s not enough. You need to put your habit on the calendar so it is more likely to get done. (Go, do this right now, I’ll be here when you get back.)
5. Ride the wave of inspiration when it hits you.
For example, you want to write on a weekly blog. This habit encourages your to act upon the energy of your inspiration NOW (and rid it to the end of its course.) When you do, you’ll find that you can create more meaningful posts in less time because you are being internally/divinely guided. When you make a habit of “following your bliss” time begins to stand still. Acting upon your inspiration will also enhance your ability to relate to your kids because this is how they live every day.
6. Use the Kaizen method to make incremental improvements- daily or weekly.
For example, you want to take a family vacation for the Winter Holiday. The Kaizen method teaches you to be very, VERY specific. So, rather than say “I want to take a vacation with my family.” Say, “I want to go to Idaho to visit my in laws with my husband and two kids on December 16th. Be specific about dates and numbers, and give yourself a deadline so you can work backwards. The next Kaizen step is to break it down into big steps first. In my example, that might mean I need to decide how we are going to get to Idaho, what we want to do when we get there, and who do I need talk to about our trip (Dog sitter, neighbors, babysitter…) And the last Kaizen step is to use baby steps. In my example that would mean putting todo items on my calendar so that they actually get done (see tip #3.)
7. Accept your current NOW experience and have compassion for yourself when your intentions don’t manifest into actual habits.
For example, you want to make more time for your relationship with your partner by having regular date nights, but it just isn’t happening. Rather than shame yourself, I invite you to notice what is happening right NOW- become mindful of your body and thoughts. Next, open up for connection with others who might be feeling the same way. Acknowledge that you are not alone in your struggles. Then, be kind and gentle with yourself when intentions don’t manifest into tangible habits. And lastly, return to tip #1 if and when you are ready.
(Note: Research shows that a self-compassion practice is intensified if you add a gesture of tenderness. A recent client has had great success with putting her hand to her heart and saying to herself, “I’m feeling really stressed out right now. I’m not alone, other moms feel this way too. I’m OK, I’m going to get through this. What do I need right now to meet my own needs? Do I need to lie down? Take some deep breaths? Or eat some protein?”