When people talk about the importance of having routines it always seems like they set it up once and then continue to do the same things forever. Maybe it works for some people, but I tend to change things every now and then based on the season or what's going on in my life.
In summer I tend to my garden in the morning, but as the season ends I have all that extra time for something else. Right now I'm using it to walk the dogs a mile before work, enjoying the finally fresh cool air. What I eat for breakfast also changes -- while I do the same thing over and over, what it is will change once or twice a year as I find new things to try and love.
My point is that what is working great for you one month, might not be in your best interests the next one. While making good, healthy habits is really important, simply changing them (instead of just dropping them) can be a great way to keep in tune with yourself and keep yourself interested by switching it up every now and then.
The 5 things I have recently changed are not all proper switches, but some are more set to the side to make extra time for similar habits. For example, not being an Amazon affiliate anymore doesn't have a new equal switch, it's more like a decluttering to free up my mind for writing without any pressure. By eliminating things that don't feel important/in my best interest anymore I can focus more on the things that matter to me at this moment!
1. I got a normal calendar to replace my bullet journal
I love my bullet journal -- how customizable it is, how I can add a tracker or special checklist, how I am organized in all the ways I need to be with it.
But the problem is that sometimes (quite often, actually) I'm not in the right headspace to set up the pages for the next week/month. Which is why I try to set it up two weeks at a time, since I'm drawing it up anyway, but even so there were many weeks where I didn't set up the week until Wednesday or skipped a week or two altogether.
I know that this fall/winter will be tough emotionally, so to ease my to-do list I bought a pre-made monthly calendar spanning all the way to December 2023. This way I can write things in immediately and never have to feel guilty about being behind. While I do miss the weekly spread a bit, I couldn't find a layout that works for me and this one has two full pages of checklists and notes for each month so overall I'm happy with it. And if things get less hectic my bullet journal is right there waiting for me to start it up again. :)
If you're interested, it's the Simplified 2022-2023 Monthly Planner from Zicoto.
2. I deleted all my Amazon affiliate links
When I started this blog all the advice said to become an Amazon affiliate. If you're recommending products anyway, why not throw in a link and monetize it?
While good in theory, it does add extra time and work for each post and you also need to sell a LOT in order to actually make money off of it. When you only make a few cents per product sold, I never got to a point where it justified it. And it made me feel a bit like a failure when I got the "you didn't earn enough this month to get a payout" emails.
So I decided to stop doing that altogether! I deleted all my affiliate links (but kept the product recommendations like the planner above -- I still stand behind them!), closed my account with them, and it's like a little weight was lifted. Now I truly only write for the enjoyment of it and to send helpful advise to my readers.
Photo by Kyle Glenn
3. I changed my daily step goal from 10k to 7.5k
Through my work's health insurance I'm part of a program where you get money from hitting daily step goals -- one of them is the classic ten thousand steps. With a desk job I wasn't hitting it all that often unless I went hiking, even with walking my dogs on breaks.
So I decided to adjust my expectations of myself and change my FitBit goal to just 7,500. I read an article that said that after that many steps the health benefits kind of peter out (except from extra calories burned), 7.5k is a great goal to have. And it is so much easier to hit! I've been achieving this goal every day of September, and funnily enough I have gotten over 10k half of those days without even trying.
Now I get that boost of accomplishment every day and also that push to walk more during the weekends, because it seems I either walk 17,000 steps or don't leave the house at all, haha. Now I have a better medium which keeps the dogs happier and encourages me to get fresh air if I'm having a crafting/chilling day.
4. I stopped dyeing my hair
For the last five years I have dyed my hair everything from my classic purple to green, midnight blue, and red. I really love it, but right now I do not have the mental energy to spend time on it. Even though I only dye it every 6 weeks to keep it fresh, it's still quite the process and of course the maintenance of using cool water for my hair, dealing with bleeding of certain colors, and the occasional dyeing mishap.
Hot showers are also very calming for me, so being able to fully stand under the hot water for a long time is a huge perk of going natural. Of course I still have some bleached areas left and I can't wait to have my fully natural healthy hair back, even though I half expect myself to go dye it immediately when I reach that point -- it has happened before. ^^'
Photo by Micheile dot com
5. I stopped posting accountability posts
Already in May I wrote about re-evaluating goals and how I wouldn't have it as a monthly "chore" to post an accountability post anymore. And once that pressure was off, I actually did write two more. But I don't think it's right for me anymore. It was great in 2021 when it was a pretty calm year where I could focus on self-improvement, but this year has had some really serious things happen and I'm better off focusing on self-care and doing the daily habits that make me feel good.
It also kinda cluttered up the blog page, since I wasn't writing a lot of other stuff. It can't be the most interesting thing for people to read either, since it was mostly for my own accountability. Now I can focus my energy on other topics. :)
Challenge: look at your current habits. Are they serving you where you are right now, what you are dealing with? Is it seasonal and it's time for a change? Should you adjust them or stop doing them completely in favor for something else?
Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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