Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Implementing Change in Your Life

I have two areas in my life that I'm really working to change:

  1. I want to do a better job of keeping our house clean throughout the week. We do a good job of doing our chores once a week, but we let things get cluttered throughout the week.
  2. I want to put forth a concerted effort to speak Spanish fluently, so I can communicate better with many of my students' families.

Unfortunately, I've made a habit of telling myself that I want to change these things, instead of actually making it a habit of doing them.

I tried to think back to times in my life when I have successfully changed my habits, and I realized there are two key components that are necessary for making a change:
  1. Delineating the specific actions that must be undertaken in order to implement the change: It's not enough to say "I want to exercise more." It has to be more specific like, "I want to walk 3 times a week for 30 minutes and do The 30-Day Shred twice a week for 20 minutes." If the goal is too vague, it's easier to make excuses, and it's more difficult to actually do it.
  2. Making it a routine with specific days and times: Again, it's not enough to say "I want to walk for 30 minutes 3 days a week and work out for 20 minutes two days a week." It's better to say, "On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I'm going to walk before work from 6:00-6:30am. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm going to do the exercise video after work from 5:00-5:20." If your schedule is variable, then you could try sitting down at the beginning of each week to plan out what days/time will work for that specific week.

Following my own advice, here's what my plan needs to look like:
  • Every morning before I make breakfast, I will put away the dishes from the night before. After dinner, I will spend ten minutes picking up the house.
  • Before going to bed Sunday through Thursday, I will spend 20 minutes working through my Spanish CDs on my computer. I will set the timer on my iPhone to keep track of how long I have been working.
With very specific actions and specific times, I feel much more likely to actually implement these changes!Numbered List

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Anonymous said...

Having to keep a space clean is tough. I used to be the most organized person in the world. Then I got older, met my fiance and things changed. My life got busy.

One of my goals is to get my room organized and clean before I get married next year. I will feel at peace once I've done exactly that.

For the new year, I decided to make a goal for myself. I figure if the goal takes me a month or longer to complete, then that is okay. I will feel happy inside. For the past several months I've been getting rid of items and reorganizing my closet. Slowly, I will get things done.

I love your piece of advice because you show a break down of what you plan on doing everyday. For me, I think that's what I should be doing too. Instead, of trying to tackle my entire room at once, I should start in small areas. Maybe, by next year I will be organized and ready by the time I get married! :)

Moxie said...

In my corporate HR job, we talk a lot about having "SMART" goals, and your post reminded me of this. People don't often apply the lessons they learn in the workplace in their home-life, but this is a good one for any sort of goal-setting and resolutions.

S - specific
M - measurable
A - achievable/attainable
R - relevant/related
T - time-framed

When you talk about the specific steps in your plan to make these goals a part of your routine, you were applying SMART principles, and that should definitely help you accomplish the tasks desired! =)

/end nerdy HR rant

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