This year I started two new habits, and they both greatly simplified my life. One was modifying my morning start while the other was ceasing a habit that really didn't serve me in the overall scheme of things. But removing the second one, I had several more hours a week to achieve the first, and consequently both fill me with a sense of more time and space in my life.
Because of more time and space in my life, I feel calmer, less reactive, and most importantly much more in line with the person I want to be. It's a relief of sorts.
One of our big challenges these days is that we feel time poor. We don't feel we can get into "good" habits because the other things crowd them out. We cut our sleep short, there's no time for a run, it seems faster to get sushi than to make food at home.... we make choices for convenience but they often go against who we want to be long-term. That underlying feeling that you're going through the motions of life is usually a sign that your daily decisions aren't completely in line with your values. One of the starting points -- and challenges -- for each of us to look at the ways we currently spend our time, and see which ones really bring us joy.
I read a study last year that said the average person spends 16 hours a week on their smartphone. It looked at how we spend our leisure time now vs. pre-2007, (pre-iPhone). For those of you reading this who were old enough in 2007 to recall, what did you do with your free time before you had a mobile phone? Did you read books more? Did you play computer games? Walk? Spend time with friends? What were your anxiety levels like then compared to now? What would you do with 16 extra hours of free time every week?
This rang true for me. I checked the screen time function on my phone: 12 hours average per week. What could I be doing with that time if I weren't on my phone that much? Imagine having 12 extra hours back in my week....sometimes habit formation is just as simple as taking stock of where you are and realising that you're spending your time in places you don't intend.
It's not just the phone where I fritter my free time, but that's an easy example. Now that I've shuffled around some of my priorities, I just feel much more like things are as they should be. I feel more like me again. I offer this post as a gentle nudge to you.
What do you wish to simplify? Where are you frittering your time away? If you were to log your day in 30 minute increments, would you be pleased with what you saw? If you answer yes, then I recommend really logging one day to see where your time goes. If you answer no to this, then what is the simplest first change you can make?
What does mindfulness look like on a daily basis?
How can you infuse it in your day to enjoy yourself more? There's many articles here, and you can join hundreds who get these sent straight to their inbox (link in footer).