Better Than Before - In Action

I mentioned a few months back that I've been reading Gretchen Rubin's new book Better Than Before. You guys - I have now read it twice, and I loved it. I don't often read books more than once (bad habit - I feel like there is so much out there I haven't read, so it feels like a waste to re-read!) but with this one, there was so much that I wanted to absorb and think about in my own life, it deserved a second read. I also read her book The Happiness Project a few times - and I'm thinking I may re-read it again this summer. But talking about how many times I read a book isn't the point of this post. The point is that I've been focusing on making little tiny changes in my life for a while. I don't love much more than I love moderation, and I truly believe that the best way for me to be healthy is to live a life of moderation. As part of this, I don't like to make big, bold statements and changes - I like to do things that are sustainable and that will not go away at the end of a week, or 21 days, or even a few months. 

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Gretchen inspired me to think about some of the little habits I've been trying to create (one of which I started before I even started her book) and I learned a lot in her book about how to stick with the habits I want to stick with - mostly by learning to understand what type of person I am when it comes to habit creation. I thought I should swing in and share a bit about what I've changed (and let's be real - it hasn't been that long, so I'm still working on making these permanent changes) - and maybe you guys can help me stay accountable. 

  • No Phone In Bed. If you guys follow me on Twitter, you know that I've started a "no phone in bed" rule for my nighttime routine. Historically, I would lay in bed and do one last check of email, browse of facebook and instagram, and maybe even some blog-reading. Now, I have created a threshold of my bedroom doorway - before I cross it, I check the next day's calendar and set my alarm, and then I simply plug my phone into the bedstand charger and don't look at it again until morning. And you guys - this is working! Travis helps enforce it and I've been falling asleep much faster every night.

  • Limit Drinking Calories During The Week. This one is a newer endeavor, but I'm really liking it. With the exception of my morning smoothie, anything I drink from Monday morning through Friday at the end of the workday is calorie-free. That means a rare glass of wine in the evenings (sad face) and no sugary coffee drinks at meetings during the week. In the last two weeks of this, I've had 3 work happy hours - THREE! - and I've stuck to water at all three of them. No one really cared or asked me why I wasn't drinking (they probably assume I got married and then quickly knocked up - don't worry, I'm not pregnant), and I felt way better about snacking on a slider knowing I wasn't also downing a beer. Let me tell you, though - come Friday after work, that cold beer or cocktail tastes extra special!

  • Take the Stairs. This one is so simple, but basically - if I can see the staircase, and I can see the destination, I take the stairs. I'm not digging around for exit stairways on my way to meetings, and I'm not taking 26 flights of stairs up to my desk in the mornings, but (especially) if the stairs are right next to the escalator, no more being lazy on that escalator. I'm a huge fan so far of those extra steps each day.

  • Schedule My Workouts. This one is huge for me. I tend to easily slack off when I have openings in my schedule, mostly because my schedule is typically so packed. When at home in Seattle, I want to lounge on the couch spending extra time with Travis since I rarely see him during the week lately - I don't want to go to the gym or even to a barre/yoga class, which used to be a love of mine. I learned through Better Than Before that in some ways, I'm an obliger - if it is on my calendar, and I feel like I am held accountable to someone (for example, if I sign up for a class, someone else can't), I will go. So I've been spending a few minutes every Sunday looking through Fitbit classes for the following week and signing up for the ones I can attend. Then I toss them on my calendar and all of a sudden, I'm sure I'll make it to a few classes each week. I'm so, so happy that this is working for me, because this travel schedule makes it easy for me to make excuses and skip the gym, which is NOT a good habit!

As you can see, these aren't huge changes, but they are meaningful ones that I can hold on to. Does this mean I'll never have a beer with friends on a Wednesday? Probably not. But it does mean that before ordering, I'll stop and think about it, and that's a really good place to start.

If you guys haven't read Better Than Before, I highly recommend you devote some time this summer to it! Next up in personal growth reading: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up!

Posted on July 15, 2015 .