Lately I’ve been analyzing everything about myself. I mean everything, from career to hygiene to hobbies. I think it stems from a feeling that something is wrong and I’m not sure what it is. My life seems in disarray (although it’s really not that bad). There is a lot I don’t have control over, which is probably causing higher levels of anxiety.
I’ve always struggled with handling anxiety so I’d imagine my brain goes into a high alert status. After some processing I’ve decided that part of the solution is solving the problems that I don’t have control over. For some of them, it means doing something differently or minimizing responsibilities. For others, it simply means coming to grips with my lack of control.
I wonder if it’s a part of some kind of quarter life crisis or else some sort of natural life phase. In fact, I’m positive that has something to do with it, although I’m sure my discontent in several areas of life is what really brought about this level of introspection.
It seems logical that the first step of progress should be determining what areas I’m really having trouble with. I briefly worked through a Wheel of Life exercise on Google Docs (courtesy of Jenny Blake, Life After College) and came up with a pretty solid list of things I can actively change that I perceive will make me happier. It will be pretty interesting to find out whether making the changes will actually improve my happiness.
The only to find that information out is to make the changes and see how it goes. So, much like a thousand bloggers before me, I’m going to challenge myself to actively work on these items for one month and see how it goes. At the end of the time allotment I can analyze how the different elements have affected me and whether each one is something that I want to continue.
I suppose that what sets this challenge apart from the dozens of others I’ve read in the past is that I’m attempting to make a bunch of sweeping changes rather than just one at a time. I think it will be an advantage because I clearly won’t be able to forget what I’m doing since this will be a fairly all-encompassing challenge to my daily routine.
So, the items that I’ve identified as weaknesses are as follows:
- Cleanliness – It stresses me out when there is clutter everywhere, so it would only make sense to not produce as much clutter.
- Hygiene (specifically dental) – I’ve never had good dental hygiene habits and have a mouth full of fillings to prove it. My teeth are fairly sensitive now and I have a lot of concerns about the road I’m on if my bad habits continue (although it’s too bad I can’t undue the damage that is already done).
- Focus on side business – I often find myself burnt out after work and come up with excuses to not get things done. If I don’t put in the work, then it won’t be successful.
- Getting enough exercise – I’m sporadic about exercising even though it’s something that I enjoy.
- Waking up early/on-time – I’m frequently “late” for work (although they’re pretty flexible and I don’t get penalized or anything, I just have to work later before I can leave) and it starts my day in a bad mood. Plus I think it causes me to lose time that I could otherwise be productive with.
- Television watching – I use it as a time filler. If I don’t have something specifically on my mind that I want to do, I become a de facto couch potato. I don’t enjoy most of what I watch so it just becomes time down the toilet.
I know enough about myself that simply saying I should improve these things wouldn’t be enough to sustain my motivation for more than a day or so. What I need are firm rules that I’m not allowed to violate and consequences if I do violate them. So, here are the rules:
- Put things away after I use them.
- If I see an area that is cluttered, I will de-clutter it at that exact moment.
- Brush Teeth, Floss, Rinse with mouthwash twice per day.
- Consume no soda or candy.
- Do a minimum of 2 hours of work on side business everyday.
- Get at least a ½ hour of exercise everyday.
- Wake up at 7am every weekday, even on days off.
- Watch TV only for special events or for dual processing (while doing something productive)
Consequences: If a rule is violated, I will have to proclaim it publicly on this blog and also not be allowed to check my adsense stats the following day.
Today is the 16th of May so I will hold these rules in effect until the 15th of June. I’ll keep you updated.