I've had the intention to write this blog entry for several weeks now. It's been rolling around in my brain and I've been acting on the thoughts, but I want to write it all down, too, because it's been a very a-ha kind of experience for me and I feel really fortunate to have had the lightbulb moment that set some positive action in motion in my life.
I have a tendency to just muddle my way through life.
I'm kind of lazy. I try not to be. I always have a to-do list with about a gazillion things on it. I can be productive, I just don't always choose to be. I make a lot of excuses. I'm a terrible procrastinator, and I've adapted and learned to work well under pressure. But working under pressure doesn't make me happy. Making excuses doesn't make me happy. Procrastinating doesn't make me happy. Being lazy doesn't make me happy. And darnit, I want to be happy!
Sometime around the end of 2012 I was contemplating possible resolutions to work on in 2013 but *shudder* I hate resolutions. They always seem to result in giant flopping failures about 4 days into a new year. So I was determined to adopt some positive habits but I was resisting the urge to actually call them resolutions. And I feel like goals should be specific and measurable, so just adopting positive behaviors didn't really even fit into the goal category either. I didn't know how to quantify or classify the improvements I wanted to make. But I knew I needed to make improvements.
I knew that I needed to be more consistent in the act of saying my personal prayers. I knew that I needed to be more consistent in reading the scriptures. I knew that I needed to spend quality time with my kids. I knew that I needed to move my body more (and more often). And eat more fruits and vegetables. And drink more water. And the list of SIMPLE but beneficial habits that I knew I wanted to adopt kept coming to mind. But they're all things I've known for... well... forever, that I should be committing to habit, but I've never been successful about tackling them all and doing them all consistently. Like any of my former New Years resolutions, the act of trying to adopt new habits intimidates me and overwhelms me to the point of abandoning the effort within a few days.
I make excuses. I procrastinate. I'm lazy. And the habits never fully take root.
And then it came to me.
There's no reason not to....
I considered this little epiphany and applied it to some of those habits I've wanted to establish but have never successfully and consistently managed to do.
There is, quite literally, no legitimate reason that I can come up with to not say a prayer to my Heavenly Father each night before I go to bed. Too tired? Excuse. Don't want to get on my knees? Excuse. Worried about spiders or critters on the floor? Excuse. (C'mon. I lived in Hawaii. This was an honest excuse that I've used myself! LOL) Nothing terribly exciting about the day to say "thanks" for? Excuse. Nothing terribly important to ask for help with? Excuse. Feeling guilty about a choice I made and don't really want to own up to it? EXCUSE (and perhaps the biggest reason I SHOULD be on my knees...) There is simply no reason not to pray at least each night before I go to bed.
There is, quite literally, no legitimate reason that I can come up with to not open my scriptures and read a verse (or more!) each day. Tired? Excuse. Read it before? Excuse. Left scriptures in my church bag? Excuse. Something else I'd rather read at bedtime? Excuse.
There is, quite literally, no legitimate reason that I can come up with to not intentionally move my body for at least 20 minutes a day. Woke up late? Excuse. Cold outside? Excuse. Bored with workout routine? Excuse. The "day got away from me"? Excuse. Don't have time? Excuse. Don't want to get sweaty just for a quick workout? Excuse. Every single "reason" I give myself for not getting my butt out of my office chair or off the couch to intentionally move my body is just an excuse. Twenty minutes is NOTHING in the grand scheme of my day. I waste way more than 20 minutes in the day. There's no reason to not convert 20 of those wasted minutes into moving my body in some manner.
I kept applying the idea and managed to come up with no legitimate reasons to not add a few positive habits into my life. And I came up with a lovely little list of "no reason not to" habits to adopt daily, weekly and monthly. (Some of these are personal and church-specific, but the concept is universally applicable.)
There's no reason not to ... pray daily.
There's no reason not to ... read scriptures daily.
There's no reason not to ... have intentional one-on-one contact with each of my children daily.
There's no reason not to ... intentionally move my body (some form of exercise) for 20 minutes daily.
There's no reason not to ... drink 64 oz of water daily.
There's no reason not to ... eat fruits and vegetables daily.
There's no reason not to ... wash my face daily.
There's no reason not to ... write down a few things I'm grateful for each day in my journal.
There's no reason not to ... have Family Home Evening weekly.
There's no reason not to ... dance hula weekly.
There's no reason not to ... practice my ipu heke beats weekly.
There's no reason not to ... play the piano weekly.
There's no reason not to ... contact my parents and grandma weekly.
There's no reason not to ... read my patriarchal blessing monthly.
There's no reason not to ... read the Ensign monthly.
There's no reason not to ... do temple work monthly.
There are other things that I know I could be doing routinely, and there are no legitimate reasons not to do those things, either, but I'm not ready to abandon all my excuses quite yet hehehe. I'm not aiming for perfection here. Just improvement. And these simple things are the improvements that I want to prioritize. I anticipate adding to my list when these things are so natural and routine that I don't have to remind myself to do them any more. And I antipate improving on these habits as time goes on. Because really, is there any legitimate reason to not pray morning and night? Or to not intentionally move my body for 30 minutes instead of 20?
Now just because there's no reason not to do all these things doesn't mean I won't stumble across a legitimate reason to skip something one of these days, I'm sure. And I'm sure I'll occasionally make excuses or allow excuses to get in the way of me doing them all. I'm not perfect. That's life. But I'm happy to report that I'm making a lot of progress since shifting my mindset and identifying these habits to work on. I'm happy to have done all the things on my daily list daily since the beginning of the year. And I'm happy to have consistently done my weekly list weekly.
Simply put, I'm happy!
Happy habits, happy me.