How Do You Find Your Formula Mojo?
I’m supposed to write a blog today. It’s a good time to knock off a few hundred words on my thoughts about how I’m living life these days because I have the day off of work and a little bit of time to myself. What’s coming to mind for me right now is that I just want you all to know that sometimes I forget things, misplace things, run late, and let my house go, feel overwhelmed, or feel like I’m just going through the motions. Because I tend to write more about the things that do work in my own personal formula, it doesn’t mean that I stick to it all the time or that I don’t just have days where I say “screw it!” I just want to lounge for a while and be brainless and completely unproductive. It happens. I swear!
Here’s a current practical example. I’m in a bit of a fitness rut at the moment. I recently had to be honest with myself that the two hours I was allotting each day were being squandered on meaningless things that don’t make me better instead of being what they were meant to be - productive, precious minutes just for me! Have you felt this way before? You have your formula set in a certain area of life, and yet one day you find yourself feeling like you’re going through the motions? I’ve identified a 3 step process to get my formula mojo back when I’m in a rut:
1) I need to be honest with myself before I spend too long in a formula rut. For me, honesty is an admission that what I’m actually doing wasn’t the original intent. For example, I have two hours each day set aside for my mental and physical well being. Last week I admitted to myself that I was just going through the motions, no longer allowing that time to be productive by working on the things that I know make me better. The workouts I was selecting were too easy, sometimes I was skipping the introspective journaling time I’m trying to commit to each morning, and sometimes I’d get home from my walk and spend the second hour surfing the internet or doing menial things that really should not be done in that precious, quiet, alone time. So step 1 is to be honest with myself that I wasn’t really utilizing that time wisely and in return I was feeling sluggish and unproductive and auto-pilotish all day long!
2) When I need to have a stern talking to myself in these situations, it can’t just be a conversation that happens in my head. I need to write it down! So last week, I grabbed my journal and jotted down my observations about how I’ve been behaving lately, how it was making me feel, and what I’d like to change. The notes were specific (of course) and ultimately ended in a plan that I was going to attempt to put in place the very next morning! My plan was prepared to eliminate time spent on “time wasters” like mindless internet surfing. Here’s the new and improved morning routine that I came up with:
a. 5:00 – 5:45 Walk my dog. He’s super old now and he’s super slow, but he still wants to go out each morning for a walk, so this absolutely remains as part of my routine. It’s not a workout for me because of how slow we walk and how many times we need to stop for him, but it does provide me with something I know is important to my well-being; being outside in nature when it’s quiet and peaceful. It’s also a perfect time to listen in on some podcasts that are of interest to me. Right now I’m really enjoying Working Mother Radio.
b. 5:45 – 6:00 Make my lemon water and quickly skim through emails. Yes, I cannot leave my emails and notifications until later in my day (even though I know many experts recommend not starting your day by sifting through emails). My small victory is not having to check my phone immediately when I get up, choosing rather to start my day with a slow walk and listening to some podcasts that are going to help me grow as an individual. But I do want to know what my day is going to bring so when I return from my walk, I pop on the kettle and then skim through emails and other notifications, only paying attention to the important ones. Here’s the key to a productive morning for me though, this activity needs to be limited to 15minutes!!! It’s so super easy to get sucked into Facebook or Instagram and I LOVE looking through pictures and reading others thoughts shared, but honestly, I feel very unproductive when I do that instead of the things that I know make me a better person (like writing in my journal and working out). So I’m making a committed effort to turn off the phone at 6:00am.
c. 6:00 – 6:15am Journal time. I don’t ever have a specific topic. Just the most mind consuming thought of the day gets jotted down in my journal. Often it’s something that’s going on with my kids or my husband and the rest of the time it’s thoughts about my own life – how are things at work? With YFFL? With my friends and family? It’s a way to check in with myself daily and get things down on paper. How jumbled it all gets in my head when there’s so much going on in life! It’s nice to write down on paper what really matters, have some reflection on it, perhaps come to some conclusions or perhaps not, and then move on with the rest of my day. This is a relatively new habit encouraged by my life coach, and I don’t think I’m quite having the deep revelatory moments that she describes having with her own journaling, but I’m still a newbie! The fact that I understand the importance of getting some of my thoughts out on paper to gain some clarity is certainly a step in the right direction.
d. 6:15 – 7:00am This is my time for fitness. I am slightly limited right now with what I can do because I’m confined to a yoga mat in my bedroom. True, we do have an entire fitness room in the basement with loads of equipment and videos, but I search out workouts that I can do upstairs now, quietly in my room (because the kids are still sleeping at that time) so that my elderly workout buddy who doesn’t fare that well on stairs anymore doesn’t have to go down the stairs each day. My boy Titan has been hanging out with me while I workout for 13 years. I choose to stay with him upstairs for now, not yet willing to give up that time with him just yet (I’m sure that will come soon enough). A few months ago I came across Lesley Fightmaster’s YouTube channel and did her 90 day yoga challenge (which, by the way is pretty advanced if you aren’t into yoga like me when I started). Now though, I’m ready to add more traditional exercises back into my routine, but they have to be things that can be done quietly and in a small space. Not asking for too much am I? A few of the working mom Facebook groups that I participate in suggested the app SWORKIT – so I decided to check it out. Basically this app allows you to customize your workout for length and type of activity. Are you looking to stretch, do yoga, do some cardio or improve strength? I’m still pretty new to the app, but I think the customization options are pretty endless. What I love about it so far is that I can choose a yoga video from Lesley’s channel, and then based on how long that video is; supplement my 45 minute workout time with a new random workout from Sworkit. It allows you to play music from Spotify as well while you are working out which is great!
3) At this point, I’ve jotted down what I don’t want as part of my morning routine and I’ve documented exactly how I’d like to utilize that time each day because I know the changes are going to improve the me I bring to the world each day. Step 3 is sticking to it! This isn’t as simple as just telling myself I’m going to stick to it (although my internal will power is strong when I have a plan in place that I’d like to follow). Since my problem seems to be mindless internet surfing, I’ve found I need to be strategic about keeping my phone at a distance when I don’t want it to distract me. And I remind myself daily how much better I feel after I’ve walked, written in my journal and worked out before I get in the shower versus just having a lazy morning surfing the internet and getting caught up on email.
I’d love to hear about your morning routine and if you have any apps that you use to allow you to stay fit in a small space! I’d also love to hear how you get yourself out of a rut in a priority area of your formula for living. What do you do to get your formula mojo back? Comment below to let me know so we can encourage each other to stick to the changes we are implementing that we know are going to make us better!