Trade in your resolutions for this one thing
“Making my bed is dumb.”
I was VERY opinionated about making my bed as a child.
“Why spend all that time fixing it up, when I’m just going to get in it again tonight and NO ONE is going to see it anyway?”
In what I can only attribute to childhood genius, I even went so far as to use my sleeping bag at night and then throw it in the closet in the morning. Voila! I never had to make my bed and I never got in trouble for NOT making my bed.
The years went by and adulthood required me to give up the sleeping bag trick, but I still refused to make my bed.
I “thought” it was a waste of time.
I “thought” it was impractical.
One marriage and three kids later – my bedroom was a mess.
It seemed that unmade bed was a magnet for unfolded laundry, backpacks, Legos (that’s always fun to discover at 3am) and everything else that didn’t have a home.
And a certain percentage of my kids had a habit of wandering into our room in the early morning hours carrying blankets, pillows and stuffed animals. I didn’t mind the morning snuggles, but I did mind the morning mess of bedding and toys.
In fact, it drove me nuts.
I wanted to get in bed without having to move the laundry pile first.
I wanted a Lego-less night of sleep.
I wanted ALL the stuff out of our room.
So, I decided to take drastic action.
I decided to…make my bed. I know, it sounds anticlimactic. Maybe you were thinking I was going to move my family to a tiny home and sell all our earthly possessions.
Nope. I just started making my bed.
But a crazy thing happened. After few weeks of this “highly impractical, waste of time habit” I discovered that the simple task of making my bed made a HUGE difference in my day and my home.
Since my bed was nicely made, I stopped dumping things on it as I walked through my bedroom.
I bought pretty baskets for my kids to put their blankets and animals in – the morning mess was gone. I kept my night table tidy to match my tidy bed. I kept the couch tidier because my bed and night table were tidier.
One thing led to another and the next thing I knew, my room was consistently clean. (Let’s be real. Clean-er.) It felt peaceful. I could get in my bed at night and if everything else went wrong that day, at least knew I’d made my bed.
I know what you’re thinking…
“Wow. A post about making your bed? That’s all you could come up with? Tsh, you need to get better writers….”
Stick with me…
According to Charles Duhigg’s book, The Power of Habit, psychologists call these Keystone habits. One small change that initiates a domino like effect impacting everything around it.
We change our lives the same way we build a bonfire. Start small until it catches and add to the flame bit by bit.
If you want to make 2016 your best year yet, focus all your good intentions on one keystone habit, and let it grow from there.
If your current resolution is to be healthier, instead of forcing yourself to run 30 minutes a day (and hating every minute of it), focus on the keystone habit of taking pictures of whatever you eat. Simply being aware of what you are eating will change when and how you choose to eat.
Building a simple keystone habit that’s too easy to quit guarantees you’ll reach your goal. Yes, it’s a slower process, but let’s be honest – most people quit their New Year’s Resolutions by the end of February anyway. Slower is better than never.
Researchers at Duke University have determined that up to 40% of what we do every single day is habit. Upgrading those habits one by one, starting with a keystone habit, is the most effective way to create lasting change.
What do you hope to accomplish in 2016? What doomed New Year’s Resolutions can you trade in for a keystone habit?
Keep a food journal? Wear a fitness tracker? Write a one sentence gratitude journal? Track your spending in just one area?
Or maybe….make your bed?
I challenge you to share your habit in the comments. I know there are many who love the idea, but struggle to come up with a habit to focus on.
Let’s inspire one another by sharing our ideas….and make 2016 our best year yet!
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