I read an article somewhere (BuzzFeed? Mashable? FastCo?) about all these apps that will help you organize your life in 2015. There were the typical scheduling apps, diet apps, fitness apps, and whatever else apps. But one that I actually downloaded was called Coach.me. (I’m not paid to support these people; I just wanted to tell you about it.)
Coach.me is an app where you set goals, how frequently you’d like to achieve them (daily, weekly), and reminders. You choose from a huge set of pre-entered goals, but pretty much everything has been thought of for you to add to your list. You choose how often you want to achieve that goal, and then you set a reminder from the app. Then, you go out and achieve the goalz.
It’s hard to write, “Launch my start-up” on an app like this. But, if you know the steps it takes to get to your bigger goal (launching a business, a better marriage, losing weight, writing a book), then you can make incremental, regular mini-goals to help achieve those bigger ones (put in 2 hours toward start-up every day, say “I love you” and mean it every morning, pack my lunch 5 times a week, write 2 pages every day).
My current goals on the app include the following:
- Read before bed: Sean and I have been reading “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up” by Harriet Lerner little by little every night before bed. It’s broken up into 1-2 page snippets of thoughtful commentary on how to listen, how to speak to one another (or not speak, if the situation doesn’t call for it), what serves as effective criticism, etc.
- Homework for 1 hour: I set this one to be achieved every day. Small steps toward larger goals. Last semester, I spent too much time worrying during the week, and then flooding my weekends with homework. I didn’t want this semester to be the same stress mess. By making myself do at least 1 hour of homework every day (sometimes at work at lunch, sometimes when I get home from work on nights when I don’t have class), I feel less stressed even if I know there’s still the bulk to do on the weekends.
- Eat a vegetable: I am usually ok about this (except maybe on a weekend when I binge on Gushers and waffles), but I feel accomplished marking off a health goal every day. It’s a sort of self-confirmation thing, an e-high five for doing something I know I should do. The check on the app when I mark it off is the mini-reward for treating my body the way I should.
- Tell Sean I love him: Sean and I are actually really good at saying “I love you,” but I wanted to remind myself to take the time to STOP. Look him in the eyes. And say “I love you.” And really mean it. Not just the habitual “Iloveyou” in passing and at the end of phone calls.
- Write 3 positive things about today: In essence, to practice purposeful gratitude.
There have been many studies that prove that actually writing down positive thoughts or things you’re thankful for perpetuates more thankfulness.
One group wrote about things they were grateful for that had occurred during the week. A second group wrote about daily irritations or things that had displeased them, and the third wrote about events that had affected them (with no emphasis on them being positive or negative). After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.
Thankfulness begets thankfulness. And, also, I’ve reasoned that when I have a bad day or just have a bad attitude, I can look through all the positive things I’ve written to remind myself that things really aren’t as bad as they may feel in that moment.
I admit, that by the end of the day, it’s sometimes a little hard for me to think back on the positive things that happened (especially if I’m just out of traffic). Other times, I feel like writing the same thing over and over. But I try to find positivity in both the big (Having a job with a great company and working with funny, laid back people who also like me and my work) and the small things (mac and cheese when you’re starving).
So, I encourage you to take the extra 5 minutes it takes to sit and think about the GOOD that happened in your day. You can write it in a notebook, or even on the notes app of your phone for a time when things don’t seem to go 100% awesome.