Yesterday I sat in a chair at my BFF's house and she said 'Listen, I want to bounce some ideas off you. I need to get to the end of the day and feel like I've achieved something, not just sat around all day.' I pointed out to Louise that having a four month old baby AND a two year old pretty much disqualifies you from feeling like you haven't achieved anything. Is everyone clothed? Fed? Alive? Brilliant. When you have two small kids, I'm a firm believer that that is a Job Done.
We pulled up the Mighty Pinterest and began to look at day planner templates she liked. We talked about the pros and cons of all of them, and in the end I said this: 'These are beautiful. I love templates like this. But do you think that finding the perfect template and the right pen will take longer than just writing on a piece of paper stuck to the fridge?'
We laughed together. Because we both know that I'm SO guilty of finding the right meal planner, correct blue pen, the right time of day to write a list that I can wind up not getting anything done. Mr S says 'JUST WRITE IT DOWN IN YOUR NOTEBOOK.' He's so wise, that one.
Louise decided she'd try and write three things to complete that day, derived from her Bullet Journal list.
This morning at about 7.30am she sent me a text. It was a picture of her journal that said her three important things and the comment 'Top 3 Must-dos for today. I've decided to tick them off before adding more. I'll let you know how I'm going at lunchtime. My obliger self is seeking accountability 😉' (Sidebar: Oh Gretchen, we love you so.)
As of lunchtime, she'd completed two of these three. See? Lists are magical.
My Top Thing
I decided that my top Thing to work on this week is my morning mood. I am a grumpy grumpleston before I've had breakfast, shower and coffee. Unfortunately for those lovely people I live with, there's toddlers to take to the toilet, breakfast for said toddlers to organise and this morning was a conversation with small toddler about not turning on the tap in the bathroom because big toddler was having a shower. When I grumped a 'Good Morning' to Mr S in the kitchen he said to me 'Uhuh. You have to be happier than that.'
This was a bit of a shock to me - I hadn't really thought that my morning mood was a) particularly bad or b) affecting anyone else. Huh.
So I turned it around. I realised that I want to greet my mornings with joy, not a grumble at a lack of sleep or thinking about a long day ahead. I had breakfast BEFORE a shower and coffee. I sat with my beautiful folks and we ate our breakfast together. I had a shower and did my morning chores. THEN I sat down with a coffee by the fire and chatted with the toddlers and checked Instagram. We put music on, I did some more chores. It doesn't really matter what I did, but that I did it differently to normal, and just like magic, different results.
Changing it up and slowing it down also makes me realise the things I'm grateful for. It was an instantaneous effect - as if doing things differently made me see everything more clearly.
Obligers and Questioners
My favourite author, Gretchen Rubin, discusses personality types in her latest book 'Better than Before'. You can also take a handy personality test over at her website.
I am a Questioner. Louise is an Obliger. I'm pretty sure Mr S is an Upholder, but with severe Questioner tendencies. I wasn't sure if I was a Questioner or not, so I researched it and took the quiz. (HA! Classic Questioner.)
- Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations
- Questioners question all expectations; they’ll meet an expectation if they think it makes sense
- Rebels resist all expectations, outer and inner alike
- Obligers meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves
She believes that just like any personality trait, your Habit Type can influence the ease and way in which you can form new habits. So, because I decided that changing my morning routine would make my family's morning easier I'm pretty confident I can stick to it. Louise employed me to be her outside accountability partner, because if she's decided that someone will ask how she's travelling with a project, she'll feel obliged to have followed through with what she said she would.
As I've written before, I loved every aspect of 'Better than Before'. Instead of other typical books in the social psychology/self help genre which talk about your limitations, 'Better than Before' kind of gently tells you 'It's ok to be who you are.' and discusses different ways to help YOU reach your goals. Awesome, huh?
Do you want to be involved and accountable with us?
Leave a comment here with how you'll turn it upside down and try something different and we can all encourage each other!
Full boring disclosure: Some links included in this post lead to Kindle versions of books I recommend. These are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via the links supplied here I get a teeny tiny kickback. I will never recommend products I don't already love and have tried myself. That would suck and I promise you, this blog is all about the non-suckiness of the world.