As we are on the cusp of everyone rolling out their grand plans and words of the year (my favorite!) and goals and schemes of To Do and Not To Do lists (including myself) I’m reminded of the quiet and sometimes forgotten small goals and little wins.
A few years ago I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, where she told about realizing that she was often cold in her own home, not warm. I realized right then and there, at that very moment that I, too, was cold in my house! And I had been for a long time. I never wanted to turn the heat up too much, especially on winter mornings (which accounts for a good percentage of my life), so I would function in my house while being cold and didn’t even realize it.
Being perpetually cold made me grumpy, it caused me to rush through tasks so I could sit down and snuggle up, and my family had to bear the consequences of a cold, grumpy, hurried mom.
I decided to make it a priority for me to be warm in our home so I made a few tiny changes.
- I figured out if I made it a point to close the door to my office every evening, it would be warm and toasty when I woke up in the morning.
- I bought some cute and pretty sweat shirts, you know, with lace and stuff, not an old team sweatshirt with holes in it. My sister now says that “decorative sweatshirts” are my trademark. I hate to look frumpy all the time but I was SO COLD! Decorative sweatshirts for the win!
- I bought some warm socks. And wore them!
- I let myself turn up the heat. Did you know that ONE measly degree can make the difference between cold and warm hands when computer writing is your job?
Figuring out I was cold and making a few changes to be warm was such a victory for me. I know it sounds crazy but it’s made such an impact on how I feel about even getting out of bed. And guess what. Right now? I’m warm!
The Impact of Little Wins
For years I had a bigger goal of wanting to get up earlier so I could have some alone time to read and write while my family was in bed. It wasn’t until I allowed myself a little extra comfort in my house that I realized it was easier to get out of bed when I knew I wasn’t going to be freezing all morning.
Here are some other things besides being warm that I’ve realized become stepping stones to me being able to meet my bigger goal to get out of bed earlier:
- having good coffee in the house
- using a milk frother
- prepping for a good breakfast (why does a good breakfast make me feel all pampered? my new favorite, Shauna’s Breakfast Quinoa found in her book Bread and Wine–you can make most of it ahead of time–I’m currently eating it while I’m writing this and it took less than 5 minutes to prepare).
and any one or two of these things really help make getting up early enjoyable and doable.
Recently I’ve noticed another tweak I need to make so I can better meet my goal of having time to read and write in the morning.
I love a cleared off table and even though we’ve lived in this house for four months, I don’t have a true place for my morning companions. I often hurriedly put away my pens, highlighter, journal, Bible and whatever books I’m currently reading all in different places–in one drawer here, this one doesn’t fit in that drawer so I need to put it back in the bedroom, my favorite pen rolls under the sofa so I tell myself I’ll get it later only to forget about it for three weeks. You get the idea.
I’m making life difficult for myself.
I’ve noticed that every morning I have to hunt and gather before I can simply settle and be prepared to read. It’s a self-inflicted deterrent to reaching my goal. I’m now working through different ideas to see what works best to keep all my morning stuff together. I’ve moved an extra little side table in the room so I can keep my morning stuff on it without cluttering the coffee table and I may try to put my morning companions in a woven decorative bag to house my little routine in one pretty and easy to find place.
Sometimes the little wins lead to bigger wins.
Instead of focusing on huge daunting tasks, sometimes I just like to be aware of how I’m making life more difficult for myself and making tweaks on the ground level. It’s surprising how those little things can often lead to bigger things.
Do you ever make life difficult for yourself? What little things could make a difference for you?