Yesterday I swept out my garage in the morning. It’s amazing how quickly the dust and dirt accumulates in that space. Then I swept the kitchen. We have a new dog (our pandemic addition), doubling our canine count and apparently our dog hair production. In the evening, I sat on the front porch for my final Zoom meeting of the day and couldn’t help but notice the cobwebs and old blossoms accumulating around the bench and front door. Sigh. I saved that cleaning for another day.
It struck me that just like debris seems to accumulate around my house, debris accumulates in my lifestyle. It’s a slow creep, but little things start to show up. A bit more liberal with snacks in the evening after dinner. A bit less attention to getting enough vegetables. Even a bit less focus on staying connected with my wife.
Does this happen to you too? I suspect it does. And just like our homes need a periodic sweeping and dusting, our lifestyle choices would likely benefit from periodic assessment and repair.
A few ideas
To leave you with something practical, here are 3 ideas you might find useful as part of a periodic lifestyle cleanup:
- Create a healthy “do this” list. It’s easy to get focused on all the things you are supposed to avoid. Try creating a list of 3-5 healthy things you want to get done each day. Mine would include exercise, eat at least 3 servings of vegetables, eat berries, think of something I’m grateful for, and read the Bible. If I hit those four, it’s probably going to be pretty healthy day.
- Identify your top 2 “creepers.” Creepers are those bad habits that seem to slowly sneak back into your life. Being on guard against these can help you keep yourself on track. Mine are late night snacking and eating added sugar. I know I feel best when I avoid both, but with 2 bakers in my house and everyone on lockdown, I’ve been going off track more easily.
- Develop a morning routine. In all my training programs, I discuss the power of intention setting. If you set a target at the beginning of the day, and you write it down, studies show you are more than twice as likely to be successful in your follow through. You can learn more about morning routine here.
Perhaps you can pick one of these to work on this week. With a little attention, you can clean any accumulating debris out of your own lifestyle and get back on track with your healthy choices.
Maybe my mom was right when she said it’s best to do a little cleanup each week.
Dr. Topher Fox