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There’s always hope

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Dickens, Tale of Two Cities.

Well, Hello 2020. As I watch the evening news, I am sometimes even more shocked than I was the day before at things that have gone down. I’m not going to even mention all of the situations we have dealt with this year – you know what they are. No matter your opinion or beliefs, every single person in our world has been affected by some circumstance this year. Many of them have been public things – that have changed the way we live. Many have been personal things – and everyone’s story is different.

As I listened to my morning Limitless call, one of our owners, Steve Campbell, sounded a little melancholy while remembering when he first came to the US, and was uncertain about when he would be able to return to his home in Canada. I think we all are feeling like that. When, and if, we return to some semblance of normal, what will we do then? What have we missed? Who have we missed? We most certainly will be changed one way or another.

Minnesota Governor Walz is shutting our state down again. We are going back to mid-March when we were introduced to this “new normal”. It’s necessary. The Midwest is exploding, not unlike the natural disasters we have dealt with all year – Hurricanes, Fires, Floods. Our future is very uncertain. I know everything will work out – or not. And I am trying very hard to remember that the sun still rises in the morning and sets in the evening. The holidays are coming – they may be different than we experienced in the past, but those of us that are able to have family around us – real or virtual, are some of the most blessed. I pray for those with empty chairs around their tables.

Can you see this little keychain on my bag? It’s to remind me that there are amazing things on the horizon in 2021. Will we be able to make our Hawaii trip? Not sure, but we must have things to hold on to. If nothing else, to give us the Spring of Hope.

Habit Stacking – the Art of the Bag Drop

I started tracking my habits a few months ago. I had given myself some daily “gotta-dos” – and found that a paper tracker worked pretty well – unless I wasn’t at my desk. Then I found that Evernote has a good checklist – that could work, but the best way I have found to establish new habits (and track them) is to start “habit stacking”.

An article I found talked about the Bag Drop method. i.e. – the minute you get home and drop your bag, let that trigger your workout, or starting dinner, or having a glass of wine – oops, maybe not that one. So I started adding to my list to see if this would help me do the absolute things I wanted to accomplish each day.

Since I work from home (and am a night owl), I try to get myself up at about 8 am, mix up my iced tea and take my vitamins, glance at Twitter, then ready myself for my daily 9 am call. Then I would get distracted and sometimes still be at my computer putting out fires until noon or later… So much for my Tai Chi, my daily walk, drinking my water, and other tasks less work-oriented. That’s when I started stacking.

Right after my morning call, I do my call follow-up which triggers 20 min playing Tai Chi. That warms me up for walking – so I get my shoes, phone, and water, and head over to meet my walking buddy. It’s a stack – and I am not “done” until that is over with. Of course, I will sometimes have an appointment or other obligation to take care of, but that is a conscious decision – not just a distraction.

I have found by having this routine, I don’t change my mind about my commitment to move – or to meet my workout buddy. It’s my schedule – and I’ve already allotted the time to it, so it happens. This, along with a few other fun things – like rewarding myself with listening to a podcast or book – or treating myself to a new nail polish or other bauble.

According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits:

Habit stacking increases the likelihood that you’ll stick with a habit by stacking your new behavior on top of an old one. This process can be repeated to chain numerous habits together, each one acting as the cue for the next.

~ James Clear, Atomic Habits

For instance, your morning routine habit stack might look like this:

  1. After I pour my morning cup of coffee, I will meditate for sixty seconds.
  2. After I meditate for sixty seconds, I will write my to-do list for the day.
  3. After I write my to-do list for the day, I will immediately begin my first task.
    – and so on…

Habit stacking allows you to create a set of simple rules that guide your future behavior. It’s like you always have a game plan for which action should come next. Once you get comfortable with this approach, you can develop general habit stacks to guide you whenever the situation is appropriate. Make sure your trigger is specific and clear and you will be on your way to getting things done!

Hi, I’m Terry. I AM an artist and entrepreneur that motivates and helps people to live a life without limits! I choose to help all men and women be their best at every age. Whether that’s with physical improvement or just more confidence – I’ve done it and you can too! I have seen myself transform from a tired, mid-life mom to a vibrant, joyful, ageless woman. Let me help you find your Limitless!!