Up With the Sun

Good morning! I don’t know about you, but Fall is favorite, and October is most favorite. In the Bay Area, this is the best month of the year, especially in San Francisco. The temps are warm and perfect, the sky is that characteristic “Fall blue,” and of course we’re on the countdown to my birthday. Yay, birthday!

But today I want to break down what I’m doing for the “5 to Thrive” goals for the Last 90 Days challenge. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can catch up on my post from last week about it. Simply put, the Last 90 Days is a challenge to live the last 90 days of the year to your absolute fullest potential, kinda like a reboot on your New Year’s resolutions. Part of the challenge is to commit to introducing prescribed five habits daily, the “5 to Thrive,” which are:

pc: Rachel Hollis @ thechicsite.com

At first glance I was like, “oh, I kinda already do this. Should be easy.” But “kinda” and “actually doing it” appear to be not the same thing. And for me, it’s mostly because I haven’t set up the right environment for building habits yet. But for whatever reason, out of all five of these habits, the first one “Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use that time for YOURSELF” has been the easiest one to integrate so far.

Since last Monday, I have been setting my alarm clock between 4:30 and 5:00 AM (since I usually get up between 5:30 and 6:00 AM) which sounds absolutely crazy, I know. I can’t believe I’ve been so consistent with it! I think part of my success is coming off the September Whole30. My sleep has been fantastic lately, and I had already started waking naturally before my alarm clock, so my body and sleep schedule have not had too bad of a time adapting. And I have found that I really enjoy having that quiet spot in the morning!

At first I used that hour to just putter and ponder and drink my coffee while setting up my planner for the day, writing, or doing some aimless internet browsing. Then I realized, hey, I could be using this time for blogging! Duh. So now I’ve dedicated this space of time for my writing. I sit either at my desk or the kitchen table with my coffee and my WordPress page, and see what happens. It’s quickly becoming my most favorite part of the day. Especially when I get to use my new favorite seasonal mug. 

Of course it’s not perfect. On the mornings I have the kids, I can’t guarantee they’ll actually sleep the whole way through my “alone time” hour. Little Miss generally gets up around 5:30 AM anyway (ugh, I know, right?), and she is the lightest sleeper in the morning so the slightest sound will usually rouse her. And I still can get distracted by shiny things. Going down a social media rabbit hole or spending too much time trying to pick out the right meme can burn up my hour that seems almost too short on some days. But Life happens, and I’ve learned to not beat myself up or get too disappointed when it doesn’t work out the way I had intended. Tomorrow is another day!

I know it seems impossible to wake up so early. A couple years ago when the kids were younger, there was no way I could have done this! Having babies and dealing with the sleep deprivation during those young years really took its toll, and I needed every minute of sleep I could get for so long. But now that the kids are older(ish) and I have a lot more awareness over the control I have over my time management, I find that if waking up super stupid early is something I want to do, then I can do it! 

How about you, do you enjoy waking up early, or are you more of a night owl? If waking up early isn’t for you, you can always dedicate time before bed to observe “alone time” as an alternative!

Go make it a great day!

The Last 90 Days: Week 1 Recap

Howdy howdy! And happy belated Mean Girls Day, while I forgot to post about it I did make sure to wear pink on Wednesday.

So. The last 90 days of 2018. I signed up for Rachel Hollis’s challenge because I was just rolling off another Whole30 (yay!!) and was really feeling the buzz of keeping up with some intentional group personal improvement project. And from the outside it seemed simple enough to partake in. You pick up the passion and fire from those shiny new year, new you resolutions from January, incorporate Rachel’s “5 to Thrive” habits to incorporate daily, and commit to really visualizing and living your best life. She hosts a daily live stream on Facebook and Instagram (with her super adorable husband Dave) to give you the day’s challenge, answer questions, and do some kick booty tough love motivation to start the day. Simple enough, right?

Ha.

Here’s how I did for the “5 to Thrive” Daily tasks this week:

So … it leaves a little something to be desired.

But you know what? This is okay. I heard recently that “FAIL” means “First Attempt At Learning.” And trying to really dial in all 5 habits – while I normally can fit in 2-3 a day, I’ve rarely attempted all five! – is a logistical and motivational challenge!

So, what did I learn this week that I can do better next week?

New Habits are Hard

Let’s be honest, I watched the live cast, made some mental notes, then checked out and went on with the rest of the day. Habits are tough to break without support and reminders. I need a better system to remember to drink my water, complete my Gratitude List, and to keep my guard rails on post-Whole30. I’ll be perusing Gretchen Rubin’s work on some strategies to get these new habits incorporated into my daily routine!

Motivation

Especially with getting up early in the morning, motivation for me starts to wane after a few days. Day 1 is like, “Hell yeah!” Day 2 is like, “Oh yeah, I’ve got this.” But by Day 3, I’m like, “Hmm. Do I really have to do all of this? Can I fudge a little?” Um, no. I’m pretty sure Rachel will give me a thorough kick-booty talk if I try to convince myself that 70% is just as good as 100%. So that’s where this blog comes in! I have to show up and report to y’all that I am the kind of person who embraces a challenge and sees it through. So I should, you know, do that then. Also, I know with my recent Whole30 that a huge motivation for me was to remember my “why.” Why am I doing this? Why is this important to me? I want to see how much I can grow by the end of the year, to see what I can do. I’m not going to truly realize my potential by making excuses and cutting corners!

Those are my big takeaways from the week: develop some strategies to help me incorporate my new habits into my current routine, and be mindful of my “why” so I can stay motivated.

Now go make it a great weekend!

She’s a Rebel?

Last week, I teamed up with my husband to complete 30 consecutive days of working out. I made it through two whole days, then dropped the initiative. When I realized that it wasn’t happening, I was super annoyed with myself. Really? Again? I even buddied up with Hulk and publicly announced it this time on the blog. Why was it so hard to follow through with a commitment like this?

When I first read Better than Before several months ago, and learned about the Four Tendencies framework, I assumed I was an Obliger. I have a hard time following my own rules and expectations, but I thought I was better at doing what others tell me. So I started planning my new habits around that framework, leveraging external accountability by getting other people or organizations to set my own expectations. But you know what? Even when I have a deadline, announce a goal, or rope in my well-meaning family to hold me accountable, I still don’t always follow through. What is wrong with me?

Then I realized … I’m a Rebel. I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I have to completely fly by the seat of my pants and my own motivation, which absolutely kills my plan-loving, spreadsheet-preparing, live-by-the-clock-and-calendar self. Because I only plan, spreadsheet, and live by the clock and calendar when I feel like it. And that right there just absolutely screams “Rebel” with day-glo glitter embossed highlighting.

Wow. I have no idea what to do with this information. Basically, there’s no way to get me to do anything unless I want to do it. Which explains a lot, actually.

Have you read Better than Before? Did your tendency surprise you?

As always, make it a great day (or if you’re a Rebel like me, make it a great day if you want to … or not … whatever, it’s up to you)!

Book Review Sunday: “The Power of Habit”

The most happiest of mornings to you! I’m continuing our fun little book review series with one of the most life-changer books I’ve read in a long time: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.

habit

Yup. This book is one of those life-changer books. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now, and I so wish I could have read it sooner. Duhigg reviews research related to how habits form, good and bad, and how some individuals are able to change or break bad habits while others seem to be doomed to a lifetime of smoking, overeating, gambling, or what have you. It talks about how every habit has a cue, a routine, and a reward. Several types of habits are discussed and how they fit this cue/routine/reward model, from habits owned by individuals, such as smoking, to organization and corporate culture. There were also many surprises that I didn’t think of before, like how radio stations use habits to take a song and “make” the public like it. So sneaky.

Let’s be honest here. I wanted to read this book because I thought it would hold the secret to breaking some of my bad habits. And I think it does, I just have to, you know, apply them and stuff. It’s still work. But it was also a really entertaining read on the different studies Duhigg reviewed and the stories profiled from individuals who either made their lives better or worse by adopting new habits, good or bad.

I plan on using the tricks discussed in the cue/routine/reward model to try and break some of the bad habits I know I fall victim to, such as hitting the snooze button instead of hitting the gym in the morning, or resisting eating when I’m not really hungry. I’d say it’s one of the most valuable books I’ve read recently for accomplishing goals.

I rented this book from the library, but you can easily pick it up on Amazon if you’re curious and want to check it out.

Okay, time to go out and enjoy this beautiful Sunday. Better go plan for the Easter Bunny’s visit next week!