Do you ever feel like your life is more chaotic than peaceful?
Yeah, me too.
When I decided to have five children, I also signed up for a measure of disorder and chaos. It comes with the territory.
The house is never as clean as I would like it to be. There are usually piles of clothes that sit for a week before finally being either folded or put back in the hamper because nobody can remember whether they are clean or dirty. There is a never-ending supply of dirty dishes. Fingerprints on windows, screens, walls, and appliances are abundant. The stacks of school papers and mail get out of control in a hurry. Sometimes I forget to pay the piano teacher on time because I am running between three different after school activities in the same afternoon. I can hardly remember who needs to be where, let alone who needs to be paid. Most days I cannot even remember how old I am, which may actually be a good thing. Either I have early onset dementia, or I am spread excessively thin.
Back in January, I set one New Year’s Resolution – to simplify my life in order to minimize chaos and create time for the things that matter most. Although I have made some strides in the right direction by creating a capsule wardrobe and making several trips to the local Goodwill with a car packed full of donations, I still feel like I am merely treading water on my quest to simplify.
I do have a confession to make, however. I am not very good at setting goals. I have all sorts of ideas about what I want to accomplish, but they usually do not make it out of my head and onto a sheet of paper. That means that instead of making progress on my goals, they often remain theoretical – good ideas with no plan of action.
Admittedly, that is not the best way to accomplish anything in life. For real results you need a plan.
We have all heard the adage that it takes 21 days to form a habit. While some experts debate about how long it really takes, the idea that consistently doing something makes it easier to do makes sense. In that spirit, I have created a workable plan to simplify my life, minimize stress, and allow for more peace…21 days at time.
It all comes down to mastering a simple task by doing it consistently for 21 days, conquering another small assignment during the next 21 days, and continuing to add something new every 21 days until you are well on your way to creating many good habits.
Sound intriguing? Consider joining me on this quest.
I am starting today with the simplest task ever…making my bed.
I love how I feel when I walk into my bedroom and see a tidy bed instead of a mess of sheets and blankets. It instantly makes my room feel less cluttered and more inviting. It is such a simple thing, but I often don’t take the time to do it, mostly out of laziness.
Admiral William McRaven’s, in his May 2014 Commencement speech at the University of Texas at Austin, said this:
If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.
I love that! Little things do matter. He has a host of other great advice, too. You can (and should) read the rest of his address here.
However, for now, I am simply going to make my bed before I do anything else in the morning for the next 21 days. I hope that it will be mostly automatic by then, at which time I will add another task to my daily routine that will also encourage simplicity and order.
Would you like to join me? If so, leave a comment here and commit to 21 days of making your bed first thing in the morning. That’s it…just making your bed.
Together we can minimize chaos and create space for more peace in our lives…21 days at a time.
Are you in?