Integrating information into our lives (part three)

In the past week, we’ve been exploring ways to integrate information we consume (like books, classes, podcasts, and more) into our lives.

I’ve been sharing this series in honor of my friends (Emily and Kathleen of the Being Boss podcast), who launched an incredible book last week!

Here’s the lowdown in case you’re just joining in: I’ve developed a method I’m calling Gather, Connect, Live to help us get what we learn out of our head and into our lives.

(If you missed the first two posts, here are the links to the first step, Gather, and the second step, Connect. You’ll want to read those first.)

Now let’s dive into the finale of this three-part method!

GCL Part 3 — LIVE

The Connect step was a big one—all about breaking the pattern so many of us have of consuming lots of information…but not really doing anything with it.

And this week, we’re going to break yet another pattern. One of not taking action.

Eep!

It can seem pretty simple to choose action steps. I’ll do this, and this, and this, and whee! But following through can be...a little harder. We all have a lot happening in our lives, and adding more can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Now’s a good time to stop, breathe, and remind yourself that a) you are doing this process because you want to bring positive change into your life, and that b) change takes time…but also work. And this? This is the work.

So here are some ways you can support yourself in bringing your action steps to life!

Make room and remind yourself.
If you decided to take a step like get a book from the library, ask someone for help, or write more about an idea or concept that came up for you, schedule time to do it—just as you would a yoga class or massage appointment or…you know…dentist appointments.

I recommend setting up a reminder as well. You could use your calendar’s reminder setting, the reminder app on your phone, or some other app that will email you or put a reminder on your phone when it’s time to do something (I really like Alarmed for this; it’s simple but effective for me).

If you decided to take a step like create an affirmation to review daily, start a new daily practice, or begin a new habit, I recommend you do something very similar. Choose the time of day you’d like to complete this practice and enter it onto your calendar, or simply add it as an all-day event. This will let you set a reminder for yourself each day to complete your practice.

You can also put up a physical reminder in your space. Putting a sticky note on your bathroom mirror, beside your desk, or on a kitchen cabinet is a classic. You could also create a vision board to remind you of why this practice is important to you. Seeing a visual reminder in your space will help keep this action step top of mind. (Note that I recommend moving your reminder around, maybe once a week or so—otherwise, it becomes part of the scenery and it won’t have the same impact.)

Of course, there are tons of apps for your phone that will prompt you to complete a habit, let you track your progress, and more. Or you can use a paper habit tracker; if you search for printable versions on Etsy, you’ll find a ton of them. It can take a little trial and error, but find what works for you and you’ll be well on your way to adding new practices into your life!

Team up.
Another strategy that works well for many people is finding an accountability partner. This person doesn’t have to be doing the same thing you are, but it’s helpful if the frequency is the same—that you’re both committing to doing something each day, each week, and so on. Knowing someone will be checking in on you can be a real motivation (especially if you’re an Obliger; if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out Gretchen Rubin’s concept of the four habit tendencies!).

Try an experiment.
When working on a new habit or practice, I recommend looking at it as an experiment. When you simply say to yourself, I’m going to start meditating daily, there’s an implied forever tacked on the end of that sentence that can feel really, really scary in your subconscious. Forever is a long time, and that leaves a lot of room for failure and not a lot of room for change.

Instead, try saying to yourself I’m going to meditate ten minutes a day for the next week and then re-evaluate.

I’m guessing just reading that made you feel relieved. You’ve set an end point: a week from today. And you’ve set a next action: re-evaluate. All that’s left to do is try your best to meditate each day. If it doesn’t work out, you can examine why and try again!

Be realistic.
You can only do so much in one day, week, or month. Be realistic about what you’re capable of, rather than trying to cram in all your action steps today (ahem…talking to myself here just as much as any of you!).

The point I’m making here is that deciding to take action isn’t enough. You also have to make it as easy as possible for yourself to take that action. Breaking old patterns (in this case, the pattern of not taking action on what you learn) is tough. Do what you can to keep your action steps top of mind and actually make progress!

I want to end by saying I’ve loved sharing this series with you. I have a lot of ideas about ways to encourage all of us to get the things we learn out of our heads and into our lives, so expect to hear more about this concept in the future!

Note: I’m considering creating a guide out of this series, with some supporting worksheets to help you take action. I’d love to hear from you if this is something you’d like to see!

And if you’ve used this process, or have more questions, I’d love to hear from you as well.

Cheers to getting out of our heads and into our lives!

With much love,
Erica


P.S. I'm sharing this series in honor of my friends, Kathleen and Emily, who launched a book this week! Being Boss: Take control of your work & live life on your own terms is now out in the world, and it's incredibly beautiful. I can already tell how much of an impact it's going to have on my own work and life.

I plan to apply the exact tactics you’re reading about in this series as I read the book, and I'd love for you to do the same!

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Also: If you did end up buying the Being Boss book, I know they’d love for you to leave a rating and review on Amazon! It really helps to have ratings in the first week of a book’s publication, so if you are enjoying it thus far, consider helping Emily and Kathleen make an even bigger impact with their wisdom.