Quick one today. A few days ago I baked my first ever loaf of bread, and although it was flat and a bit undercooked, I knew I was entering a new era in a small aspect of life. It’s very early in this culinary expedition, but the storebought bread phase of my life seems to be over. Making my own was easy and fun and way cheaper.
In this last quarter of 2013 I’ve quickly strung together a few of these kinds of “changes to go” — the ones you can make in a short amount of time, yet can apply to the rest of your life. My sixteenth experiment is quickly turning me into a daily reader. And after struggling for years, my writing process is a lot more structured and efficient, and I think the product turns out better too.
Last week I warned against trying to do too much at once, but I’m really on a roll with personal growth and I think I can fit one more lasting improvement into 2013 before the box is sealed. I’m not worried that this one will dilute my other efforts, because it’s very simple and it takes no time at all.
Before the end of the year I want to learn to stand up straight. I have a tendency to slouch. My head just pokes forward by itself, only because that’s where the involved muscles feel most at home. There’s nothing addictive or gratifying at all about slouching, I do it only because it doesn’t occur to me to stand up straight. As soon as I do, I feel better, healthier, more confident and for some reason even a little smarter.
In cases like these all you need to make a change is a way of remembering to do a particular thing differently. My mother has reminded me to stand up straight several times a year for thirty years now, but that’s not enough.
My girlfriend offered a simple and seemingly foolproof idea for remembering to stand up straight, and it will be my seventeenth experiment. I’ll just put little stickers (the dot-shaped ones you see on the spines of library books) in places where my eyes will naturally fall throughout the day: the end of my hallway, the corner of my laptop, the tiles behind my sink. Whenever I see one I’ll remember what they’re there for and I’ll stand up straight. Soon my muscles will prefer to settle into a more upright place.
I can’ t believe I didn’t think of something like this before. A few years ago I wrote a post about doing this to remember to be mindful, but instead of stickers as a trigger I recommended using doorknobs, so that you remember to be mindful whenever open a door. It worked so well I still do it.
I figure in two weeks I’ll be well on my way to establishing a new default posture, but I’ll keep the stickers up until I am certain I don’t slouch anymore. I’ll report my findings in the new year.
As usual, I welcome anybody who wants to join me. Why not get one more “level-up” in before the end of the year, if it’s something simple. Posture is just one possibility. It just has to be something that is super easy to do but also easy to forget to do. Report your progress in the comments of the experiment log.
Photo by Cordelia