Mid-Year Goals Update (2017)

I made a pretty big deal out of resolutions/goals at the beginning of the year, so I figure it’s time to talk about how they’re going. First off, you should know that this isn’t a post to make you feel guilty! The beautiful thing about my yearly goals philosophy is that you can start or restart any time. For more on that, check out the original post.

I’m not going to talk about all of my goals (because that goes against the program), but here are a few.
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Layering Experiences to Achieve Peak Happiness

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.”

–Gretchen Rubin

I agree with most of Gretchen Rubin’s happiness and habits advice, but not this particular concept. Maybe that’s just because I’m bad at doing things every day. As a hard-core Rebel, I find routines and daily responsibilities stifling and unhappy-making. But I enjoy certain amounts of consistency and routine in my life. Obviously, routine and novelty conflict, so I’ve spent some time thinking through the right balance. Here’s the framework that works for me.

But first, a caveat: Gretchen’s advice works very well for certain types of habits. Something relatively mundane, like flossing, you can likely add into your daily routine with relatively little psychological backlash. My issue is more with lifestyle changes meant to create more happiness.

Layered Experiences

At the base of Gretchen’s advice is the idea that you need certain actions to become automatic in order to form a habit. That’s true, and it’s good advice (especially in an area like exercise), but we can extract a major benefit without having to do the same things every day. For me, the benefit of repeating certain actions comes in the layering of the experience, not the streak of daily accomplishment.

What is layering experience?

For me (and perhaps you? perhaps everyone?), Continue reading

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions: A Guide for People Who Hate Resolutions

8tjbrqgkfyu-david-marcuI have, for the first time ever, kept the New Year’s resolution I made. You can too.

If you’re one of those mythical unicorns who makes resolutions every year and keeps them, just stop reading. This isn’t for you. [But email me, ok? Because I’ve never met anyone like you.]

But if you’re like pre-2016 me and make resolutions you never keep or quit making them altogether because you know you won’t keep them, then I’m talking to you.

The Problem with Most Resolutions

Most resolutions fall into one of two categories.

  1. The Habit.
  2. The Virtue.

And resolutions in these two categories do not work for me and probably not for you, if you’re still reading. So let’s break down why. Continue reading

Links from Lyse: Mostly about Organization (also kids and teenage pregnancies)

Here’s a week’s worth of interesting articles, sorta themed, but not really.

  • Why Creatives Should Have Side Projects & Hobbies. If you’re wondering, this blog is one of several side projects for me. Yay that I did something right! How do you delineate side projects from hobbies? Do you have time for either?
  • 10 Unusual Ways to Make Your To-Do List Doable. I’m obsessed with to-do lists. I have lists for my home, this blog, books to read, games to play, my husband’s YouTube channel, and my family. And I just keep creating more.
  • Career Advice for Millennials. Not that different from career advice for anyone else, but still good advice.
  • Skip your kids’ games! This article makes me so happy. I’m very anti-helicopter parenting. So yeah. Skip your kid’s baseball practice and nap instead. He won’t have psychological problems, promise. (In all fairness, I think this idea should be taken with a grain of salt. But the concept is spot-on.)
  • Free contraceptives — good? Free contraceptives have cut Colorado’s teenage pregnancies and abortions almost in half. Although I’m saddened that free contraceptives are even necessary, I can’t be sad about a measure that reduces abortions.

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Quotes from my Notes #4

Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. -Voltaire

This is one of Gretchen Rubin’s favorite quotes, which I have now adopted. So often, we delay starting projects or habits until we can get everything perfect. But “good enough” is almost always better than “not at all” (which is what happens when we wait for perfect).

What quotes inspire your habits?

Healthy Habits = Happy

This is what I look like at work 98% of the time

This is what I look like at work 98% of the time

I consume a lot of health and wellness content, but sometimes I don’t put it all into practice. I’d like to sharing some of the healthy habits I’ve been able to implement as a sort of motivator for myself (and hopefully encouragement for you!). Please, please, please share your own tips and experience! I’d love to hear how other people are incorporating wellness into everyday life.

  • Lovely smells. In one of her podcasts, Gretchen Rubin talked about how we can use smells to make us happy. This plays out in my house several ways. First, I started burning candles ALL THE TIME. Ok, so that was actually because the house we just rented smells nasty. But having awesome candles in each room is nice. I’ve also become more conscientious about using well-scented lotions and essential oils. I tried non-scented and supposedly more effective lotions for awhile, but they’re just so sad….scents all the way for me.
  • Morning and evening habits. This is a combination wellness and productivity tip, but just about everyone agrees that morning and bedtime routines are really smart. I’ve slowly been adding healthy elements to both routines — doing yoga, eating, drinking a glass of water, moments of reflection, planning, and meditation. I feel much more peaceful, a little less sleepy, and I tend to be less hangry.
  • Speaking of hangry – how do you deal with food routines? This one I have not solved yet. I generally eat three meals a day and snack periodically in between, but I’m still hungry so often! And my meals are often protein-rich – lots of eggs, meat, peanut butter, and nuts. I’d love some advice.
  • Taking tech breaks. I wrote about this recently for a client and slowly started separating from my technology. I try (sometimes unsuccessfully) to get off my laptop for an hour or so before bed, to resist the urge to check my phone or email or blog stats ONE MORE TIME, and to spend less time mindlessly browsing. I’m definitely not perfect, but I’m making progress.
  • Moving more. I know that this comes up all the time, but it makes such a difference. I’m not doing anything hardcore (although someday I’d love to run to work!). I try to take a walk in the middle of a long work day (10 minutes in the nearby park), walk across the hall when I’ve been sitting for an hour, and stretch out when I start to feel stiff. I’m also doing yoga, as I mentioned, and some workouts, but the little habits make me feel better than the big ones, honestly.

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Links from Lyse

I read lots (and lots and lots) during the week, absorbing articles and videos from all over the place. At the end of each week, I’ll share a few of those with you!

  • Confessions of a Seduction Addict” — Spoiler alert! This article is written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (and many other books!). I have to admit, I was surprised to discover she was the author, because the article comes from her younger days, not her current enlightened and matured state.  Although I never practiced seduction as destructively as she did, I will admit to enjoying the process of making someone fall in love with me. Similarly, I also like the process of learning someone’s soul, which can lead to destructive relationships.
  • What is genius? Since I’m on a Gilbert kick right now, I also watched her TED talk on genius, which I found freeing and beautiful. It’s worth watching for everyone, but especially anyone who identifies as creative.
  • Do we need Shakespeare? Having just finished a year of studying Shakespeare in university, I have pretty strong feelings about this argument. But instead of ranting here, I’ll just link to another article (which I don’t entirely agree with) and let you hash it out in the comments.
  • Just this week I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s blog and podcast (also available on SoundCloud). Rubin researches happiness and habits, which she has written about in The Happiness ProjectHappier at Home, and Better Than Before. I have read The Happiness Project and really loved it. If you’re constantly searching for ways to improve your habits, want to become happier, or wish you were more organized, check out some of her material!

What did you find this week? Love any of these links? Let me know in the comments!