Five Practices to Try This Month
Happy March! With 7 days to go until daylight savings and 20 days between now and the spring solstice (not that I’m counting or anything), spring is in the air.
I find that the beginning of the month is always a good time to check in with myself — to take a few minutes to think about how things are going in my life right now. Not where things were, or where they’re headed, but where they are at this precise moment. Are things generally in sync, or is something out of balance (my answer this month: a bit out of balance)? What does my mind say, what does my heart say, and are these in conflict at all? And where, if at all, might I want to set an intention to shift something in the month ahead?
I encourage you to take a few minutes to check in with yourself today. And if you decide you have interest and room to try adding a simple daily practice to your life this month, here are a few ideas that have inspired me recently and may inspire you too.
Exercise for 40 minutes a day, every single day. Inspired by my friend Eric.
At the beginning of 2014 Eric decided that he’d try to work out for 40 minutes a day every day this year. And so far, he’s done it (I follow him on Strava, where he’s numbering workouts by day; today is 60/265). His rationale is that in past years it’s been too easy for him to make excuses and not fit exercise into his life. So this commitment makes it much harder for him to scrap a workout “just because.” And to be clear 365/365 — or 31/31 in March — doesn’t mean zero rest days. 40 minutes of yoga or stretching counts the same as a 40-minute tabata workout….you decide what’s right for you.
Eat the rainbow at lunch every day. Inspired by my mom.
My mom started using this “goal” with my kids last summer, and I’ve jumped on board too. They try to eat from the rainbow in a day, but since I’m not in a vegetable hating stage of my life, I try to do it in a meal. Squeezing the whole rainbow into lunch makes it easy to skip the basic chicken sandwich or spaghetti and beeline to the salad bar. And a bonus of eating a salad every day for lunch? No thinking required!
Send a hand-written card once a week. Inspired by my husband.
The season of life we’re in right now makes it easy to fall out of touch. Between work and family and the friends we naturally see regularly, it’s easy for relationships with far-away friends and family members to fade. Realizing this was happening to him, my husband decided at the beginning of 2014 to send a few hand-written cards each week. He bought a heap of cards and stamps and sits down for a few minutes many days to jot a friend a note. And I’ve seen it make a meaningful impact on the people around him. This is something we can each do once a week — sending a dose of love the old-fashioned way.
Do something to help someone else before you start your own work. Inspired by Diane von Furstenberg.
I heard Diane von Furstenberg talk last year, and much of what she said really resonated with me (I posted about it here). But one thing she said really stuck. She starts every work day by doing something to help someone else. This could be answering someone’s non-urgent question, writing a recommendation for someone, connecting a colleague and a friend, or telling someone how much you appreciate working with them. It only takes a few minutes, and is a great way to start the day with a mindset of giving versus taking.
Repeat a simple mantra every morning. Inspired by my childhood camp counselor.
We can all benefit from having a few simple sayings that guide our days and our lives. I learned one — Ragger’s Creed — at a very young age that I still come back to often, and I’ve picked up others along the way that help to anchor and give me perspective. The simplest of all of them is a question one of my favorite yoga teachers, Les Leventhal, used to ask in his classes. “How’s your breath? How’s your life?” Those two questions are so basic, but so clarifying. So whatever your words are and whatever they mean to you, think about saying them with intention this month.
And last but not least, may you find time for some simple pleasures this month — little things that boost your day. Here are a few of mine:
May this spring bring you growth, renewal and joy…
Thanks! I like how you gave an idea for each category. I’ve always allotted day (or two) of rest on my workout plan, but I like how you suggest that working out can be stretching or simply moving. Makes me want to up my game. Also, I do think it works to eat lots of greens at lunch. My aim is one at breakfast, three at lunch and two at dinner. But the lunch sets the pace, and it’s so easy to stick a salad and some guac into my lunch bag.
these are great ideas! i write a letter every week and it’s so much more satisfying than sending a facebook or email for long-distance communication.
Good for you! I think letter writing is an art — what lucky friends you have to get something handwritten in the mail!
Love these. I don’t think I quite so formally do this every week/month, but I do keep a little notebook where I have big “life” goals jotted down in the front. There is something quite soothing about checking in with those to make sure I’m on track. xox
Good read! Can’t seem to be in the right drame of mind to write or exercise though!
I love the goal of sending a hand written card once a week. I’m going to borrow that idea and put it on my list. It will help with my goal of developing stronger friendships.
Inspirational 🙂 thank you. Can’t wait to try these this month.