Have you made your bed today?
It’s this time of the year when you get serious and start thinking about how tough (or amazing) your 2016 was and how to make your 2017 (even) better than this. The tool: New Year’s Resolutions. I confess, I’m doing exactly the same thing. But, as you might know, I’m trying to fight with my “taking myself too seriously” issue (I’m making progress: Reading a chapter “Rule Number 6” in The Art of Possibility helped; having a friend who keeps calling me “You self-centered idiot!” with a smile on her face is helping too). I thought that maybe all this stuff with the New Year’s resolutions is a bit too serious. No matter whether you do them or whether you say they can’t work (and therefore you might be too serious about ignoring them).
Therefore: How about taking it more lightly in 2017?
Here’s what I plan to make my resolution for the next year – and if you like it, maybe you can join me.
Here it is: I’ll make my bed every morning. Every day. The very first thing in the morning.
“Is that it?”, I hear you ask. Yes. That’s it.
Before you dismiss it as a joke, let me explain. First of all – it was not my idea. I’ve heard many successful people recommend this. Examples: Stephanie Brush (District 95 2016 Table Topic Champion), Jocko Willink (US Navy SEAL) and Tim Ferriss (the guy who interviewed Jocko).
I’m already doing this for the past few days. You can call it cheating. I call it preparation. Here’s what it looks like:
My alarm clock is set to 6:00. When it starts playing the wake-up-Lukas-song (Too Old to Die Young), I switch it off, I lift my head up from the pillow and arrange the pillow it as if I was making the bed. I slip out from under the blanket and get out of the bed. I turn the light on, take the blanket – and make the bed (I never said it will be complicated, did I?). When I’m really slow, the clock shows 6:02 when I’m done.The first achievement of the day (and in 2017, a check in the “New Year’s resolution) accomplished. In three minutes or less.
Here’s what it can do for you (sharing my experience – but again, it was not me who had those ideas first):
- It will give you a sense of control over your day from the start (no matter what happens, you can make your bed)
- Achieving this one thing gives you confidence in achieving anything else you decide to
- It will make your grandma proud (or uncle, or whomever you can impress by being orderly)
- Makes a nice “Full Circle” when you fall tired onto your bed in the evening
Eating healthy, exercising every day, reading one book every week, that’s all nice. But how about, for once, you don’t take the New Year’s resolutions that seriously and go with one simple thing that 1) you actually have a big chance in succeeding at and 2) will give you confidence in everything else?
The magic is: If you keep up with making your bed for the whole January (I know it’s easy – but as I told you, that’s the pont!), you can think about your “optional addition”, “February” resolution. And unlike most people whose feeling about the New Year’s resolutions is “everyone breaks them anyway”, your experience will be: “Actually, I was able to keep up with my New Year’s resolution for one whole month. I’m ready for more!” Then, if you’ll be smart (you will be smart, won’t you?), you’ll add one more achievable thing that will make you one bit better. At least one push-up after you make your bed? Sending a random nice message to one of your friends? Look up one new word in the language you are learning? Check for example mymorningroutine.com for inspiration. You can go on like this for the whole year – adding one useful bit every month, ultimately building 12 powerful habits in 2017.
Now back to the original point: By the usual approach of doing New Year’s resolutions – that is, creating a list of things we’re not doing now, but want to start doing from January 1st, we are setting ourselves up for failure. That results in (more often than we want to admit) abandoning our New Year’s resolutions altogether. Usually already in January. Isn’t that a missed opportunity? How about doing something that can actually work for you?
By the way – you too can cheat – and can start preparing even before January 1st. Tomorrow, when you open your eyes, remember: The first success of the day is within reach.
In 3 minutes or less.