Three for Three

Here we go!

We have the opportunity to hit the reset button the first of every month, the beginning of each new day, even the top of each inhalation, yet somehow flipping the page from one year to the next creates in us the need for an entire life makeover.

I get it. I’m in that boat. Every year. It’s the possibility of change, of an updated version of the me I already like with better features; more energy, an easier smile and less stress.

But are we just kidding ourselves? Am I just kidding myself? Again?

Maybe. Yet the exercise, the review, the hope seem like a really good thing, so I persist.

Nothing really ever goes exactly according to plan, yet we plan. This year is no different. But hopefully it is. Hopefully I will stop breaking promises to myself, stop lying to myself and trust that way more intelligent higher self within me. She’s inexhaustible and patient. She sits quietly by while all the crazy lower selves run around in circles convincing me that one more glass of wine is not going to hurt anything, that gluten is fine for me taken in small doses – like two or three cookies at a time – that sugar has been around forever so it can’t be all bad and that going for that walk tomorrow makes more sense than getting off the comfy couch right now.

She’s waiting. I’m ready to hang out with her now.

That band of lazy, chaotic pranksters needs to be put in their place. So, we, my higher self and I, are going to employ some different tactics this year.

Quick Reader’s Digest version of a familial backstory here that has led to this “new” system: My brother and I are a lot alike in our desire to be better, do better and take better care of ourselves. We want to better ourselves and the world. We chat ad nauseum about such things. And sometimes we actually do them. This year though, we decided to create a structure in which to give ourselves a better chance for success. And a way to hold each other accountable. It’s based on not a single stitch of personal research, it is instead based on our desire to improve and the subliminal messages of millions of hours spent reading the books, and listening to the podcasts of, those who seem to have cracked the personal best life mastery code. So here goes…

Three things in three months. Three for Three. To be repeated each quarter. Different goals each quarter, same system.

We each have a list of those practices we’d like to add in to our lives and a list of items or practices we’d like to eliminate. In addition, we’re both entrepreneurial so there are some business benchmarks we’d also like to hit.

We’ve learned through trial and [mostly] error that we’re not so good at this, and that attempting a clean sweep of all the bad and adding a dump truck load of all the good all at once is not only nearly impossible, but also not recommended. On the other side of the coin, choosing a moderate path just seems to find us wandering back into the same bad habits full of colorful excuses. And the ‘let it go and just be’ tactic trips us up as well. Although there is a component of that in this plan.

Let me explain. We need structure. This is a royal we so you’re included here. When we automate certain positive habits, we have more time for creative pursuits because we are spending less time stressing about what we should be doing. Think: brushing your teeth. You just automatically do that. As a kid you may have whined, bargained and drug your feet on the way to the bathroom sink, but now you get it and it’s a natural part of your day. THAT’S what we’re going for here.

To make it easier (we hope), we created three categories under which to place three of the changes we wanted to make in each three month time block.

  • Assimilate: Folding a good habit or practice into your day – pick one and commit to it for three months. Weave it into your life. Every day.
  • Eliminate: Choose one unhelpful habit or item, kick it to the curb and commit to its absence for three months. Every day.
  • Dominate: These are achievable business/personal goals. They differ in that there will be an end point; something measurable. Pick one commit to it for three months. Work it every day.

Here’s where I’m starting:

Assimilate: Morning practice. What does this look like? A combination of meditation, breath work and yoga. Some days it may be 10 minutes, others may be 2 hours. The time is way less important than the commitment to the daily practice.

Eliminate: I want to pick all the gremlins, but I am settling on alcohol. No one needs alcohol and when we hang out together we eat poorly and stay up too late. She’s fun and all, but we’re gonna take a break.

Dominate: Daily writing. Not journaling, but actual writing. Book pages, blogs, articles, etc. This is more on the personal than business side, but it’s been a struggle to get me to sit down and focus in front of my screen on the daily. Now it’s a priority. The measurable part? 1,000 words a day. Maybe that book will finally reveal itself.

The idea here is if the habit just isn’t sticking after three months I can let it go guilt-free and move on to the next three for three. If it sticks, great, it’s automated and it continues without much thought and I still move on to the next three.

The rest of the list? It’s long and includes things like no snacking, planting a food garden, 10,000 steps a day and consuming lots of water.

I’m hoping along the path of this journey I will stumble upon my keystone habit; that one habit that shifts everything and all those lists and plans simply fall into place. I’ll keep you informed.

How about you? How do you plan to love yourself back to health this year?

 

Naked Soap

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Now that I’ve counted and culled the bathrooms and linen closet it’s time to consider what’s left.

If I am truly using this exercise to be more  conscious of my purchases and choices then I need to spend some time contemplating what I’ve discovered.

As far as the above mentioned spaces are concerned I’ve identified three categories:

  1. Items used, that get used up – toilet paper, make-up, shampoo, etc.
  2. Decorative items – art work, decorative containers, superfluous things
  3. Items used on a continuous basis – towels, rugs, robes

I want to take my time to think about all three of these, but it’s that first one that is the most worrisome. Are there better choices? For me, for the environment? The answer is almost always yes.

Let’s look at some of these things up close and personal:

Nail polish remover. I would not need nail polish remover if I did not paint my toenails. I would not need nail polish either. And really probably not cotton balls. The only other reason I use cotton balls is to apply witch hazel on bug bites.

Soap. I have been transitioning from body wash and pump-style hand soap to bar soap recently. I have so many handmade soaps that I’ve been using for decoration that it seems silly to be buying plastic that will likely not get recycled when I can use something that will disintegrate with use over time. On a side note, I can also purchase this bar soap without any packaging which reduces waste even more.

A note to those concerned with bacteria and using the same bar of soap as someone else to wash your hands: in the nicest way possible, get over it. It’s soap, the more you use it, the cleaner your hands will get. We have created over-sensitive immune systems with all our anti-bacterial craziness. It has its place, but the general home bathroom isn’t it. Be brave. Unless you’re a doctor, then please sterilize your hands. And warm them up too, please.

Toothpaste. I’m not ready to make my own toothpaste.

First Aid. I feel justified in keeping the hydrogen peroxide, alcohol and witch hazel on hand. They last a long time.

Waste I know I will produce:

  • Toothbrushes – would electric be better? Are there compostable types?
  • Make-up containers – to be fair I use three items plus lip balm, I’m pretty low maintenance
  • Toilet paper – sorry, not sorry, gonna keep using this
  • Shampoo bottles – surely there is another option, refillable somewhere?
  • Razors – Larry does have an old fashioned one, I however do not
  • Lotion bottles – as with the shampoo, there may be great alternatives to uncover
  • Deodorant containers – crystal? Cream? Investigating

I can keep it to that and investigate other options. I can do better. In the investigation, ingredients and business practices will be taken into consideration. I love buying products from people I know. I have a face cream, lip balm and soap from various friends. I know there are good companies out there with sustainable practices and I intend to find them. I’ll be sure to share.

Speaking of friends, I have one who is a Zero Waste advocate. A serious one. She has built a whole non-profit business around it. I so admire the work she is doing and has done and she continues to inspire the choices I make. She is a big part of the inspiration behind this year long project. She has tons of suggestions on her site if you’re working on minimizing your stuff.

The second group of items is easier to work with. I don’t need any of them, they are there by preference. Some will stay, some will go. I’ll use Marie Kondo’s method of holding each item and asking myself if I love it. In the bathrooms, there are maybe a dozen of these items tops and most of them were purchased at vintage shops or given to me as gifts.

The third item in the list could use a little attention. For some reason, I have quite a few hand towels. I think I will replace those with washcloths in each bathroom, that just seems more practical. The hand towels can go to Good Will or better yet, a veterinary clinic.

The towels and rugs I use I’ve had a long time and feel pretty good about those choices. All cotton, soft and durable, when they wear out they’ll go the way of the hand towels.

All in all I feel pretty good about my progress. More investigation is called for into those items that are in containers that I keep purchasing. There are some great mindful companies out there using innovative packaging with exceptional products inside. I intend to find them and share.

Keeping the nail polish for now…It’s Florida, by feet rarely hibernate inside shoes. And I’m on the hunt for a biodegradable toothbrush option. I’m sure there’s one out there.

[Photo was taken at Lucky’s Market, my new obsession. Naked soap, miles of bulk foods and affordable organic veggies.]