I bought How I Changed My Life in a Year by Shelley Wilson a couple of days ago — and I've already finished! Shelley blogs at My Resolution Challenge and in 2013, set 12 New Year's Resolutions. She focused on one goal a month, blogging about it as she went. She was already satisfied with her life — she has 3 children and enjoys her career as an holistic therapist — but everyone has unfulfilled goals and lists of things they want to try. Shelley wasn't expecting to change her life, but that was the result!
I love this kind of book. It charts Shelley's progress, but offers plenty of inspiration and advice for readers to follow their own goals. It reminds me of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, another book I enjoyed which has a similar format (which I wrote about here). I'm left feeling pretty motivated...
The book also fits in with a theme that keeps cropping up in my life recently: making time for what is important. It's no use bitching about wanting to do something but never having the time. It's up to you to set goals, divide them into 'chunks' small enough to fit into your life and manage your time effectively so that you can do what matters to you. After all, most of us can fit Friends reruns (or other TV programmes) into our lives, so we ought to be able to fit in getting fit or learning a new language.
Shelley's book reminds me that we are defined by what we do every day, not what we do once in a blue moon. Writing is a good example — how many people have you met who say 'I quite fancy writing a novel one day'? Are these people you think of as writers? Or are writers the people who find time to work on their novels/poetry/short stories/essays/whatever inbetween work and childcare and studying and walking the dog?
I've introduced 5 minute wonders into my life. These are tasks that take 5 minutes or less, but which accumulate and make a difference. It doesn't mean I won't ever spend more time on any of these tasks; it's an easy way to ensure I do something towards my bigger goals. My current 5 minute wonders are yoga, push-ups, squats, Italian and meditation.
I've been trying to do more yoga and resistance exercise, but running has been my focus so strength and flexibility get left behind. 5 minute wonders are a way of fitting in something — anything — so that I'm actively working towards my goal. I hope to build up momentum and do more of these things, but I'm not going to stress about it. Ditto for Italian and mediation. Stressing about meditation would be pretty crazy anyway!
It's a fun way of bringing more kaizen into my life (I blogged about kaizen here and here).
I keep track of my daily actions in a page-a-day planner, so I simply list my 5 minute wonders beforehand and tick them off. I might not do them all every day, but I'm happy as long as I hit 3 out of 5. Try it and you might find these little seeds grow into big life changes.