Guest Post: The Planned Preoccupation Process

Today I have a special treat for you! My friend, Cori Casner from Planned Preoccupation, has agreed to share her process for ingraining new habits into her repertoire. With her process, she has reached her goals, repeatedly, and she’s going to share her process with us today. Here’s…Cori!

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Do you want to retire early; attend a meditation retreat; or learn to play an instrument? But are you overwhelmed by the idea of doing any of these things because you don’t have a 401K plan; never sit still for more than a minute; or own a kazoo? And does it make matters worse that you found time to binge watch Black Mirror, but didn’t have time to walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes? I’m right there with you, but with a little Planned Preoccupation I’ve found a way to make a change.

In the last 2 years I have used the following process to build 10 habits that align with the lofty goals I have for my life.

Identify your lofty goals

First things first, figure out what you want so you can build a plan for getting there. I wanted to give concerted effort to figuring out my passion in life. Honestly, I didn’t even know what that meant the first time I wrote it down, but I knew I couldn’t figure it out if I kept up my same old routine. Even if your goals are vague, they take on significance once you put pen to paper.

Brainstorm small changes

BrainstormingAnother lofty goal of mine is to lead a healthy lifestyle. To me that means being fit enough to walk for miles at theme parks, and managing my stress. The first habits I developed were adding more veggies to my diet and practicing daily meditation because those were small, healthy changes.    

Commit to a small change for 66 days

Target ReachedI use HabitBull to track my habits and their system defaults to a 66 day challenge. It’s more than enough time for a habit to become ingrained in your daily routine. It also gives you time to experiment. When I first started tracking my daily spending I tried out a lot of online resources until I settled on a Google Sheet that I could access from my phone or laptop.

And their Target Reached pop-up is oddly satisfying!

Create an action plan

I love reading, watching movies, and learning new things. When I tackle a new habit I tie it to things I already want to do. For my random acts of kindness habit my action plan included reading books on philanthropy; watching the Billions in Change documentary; and watching Ted Talks On Generosity.

If you can connect your new habit to things you enjoy it will keep you motivated and give you a new perspective on your goals.

Give yourself an incentive

The health and wellness benefits you get from adopting good habits is enough of a reward for some people. For me, I need a little extra push to stay on track. For my minimalist habit we implemented the KonMari method. Our incentive for finishing was a monthly cleaning service at our new house! That kept us motivated even when the steps in the process got really hard. 

A lesson that I’ve learned from following this process is the end game isn’t to build a routine that you do day-in-day-out for the rest of your life. We’re trying to change our default mindset. I don’t drink green smoothies for breakfast every day, like I did when I was first building the habit. But now, when I have a busy morning with no time to think I default to a green smoothie, where before I would’ve eaten a pop-tart.

Armed with a clear goal; small habit; timeline; action plan; and incentive you’re ready to give it a shot. So let’s quit talking and starting doing.

Rowing

The next habit I want to develop is rowing! Please share your new habit in the comments below, and if you’re looking for an accountabilibuddy you can find me over at the Captivated by Curiosity Accountability Group on Facebook.

This is a guest blog post written by Cori Casner, creator of Planned Preoccupation. Personal development, one habit at a time.

3 tools to get you through your mid-life crisis

Photo by Genevieve Dallaire on Unsplash

Maybe it’s my age, or my friends’ ages, but I run into a lot of people that just feel “uneasy” about where they’re at in life. They can’t quite put their finger on what is bothering them: their lives are “good” and “complete” and yet they feel discontent about it.

There might be different flavors of it, but essentially, my friends, it’s a mid-life crisis.

I’m definitely in this camp. The whole “what is my purpose?” question is enough to send me into a full on anxiety attack. “I don’t know what my purpose is! I’ve tried to find it and I still don’t KNOW.”

I think I’ve been suffering a mid-life crisis for at least the past year, probably longer. Fumbling along, trying to make whatever it is in my soul that is not happy, happy and complete.

I’ve read books and blogs on happiness, habits, purpose, and fulfillment. I’ve tried to be more reflective. I’ve tried making lifestyle changes. I’ve tried ignoring it. And although I didn’t buy a sports car, I did buy a house in the woods, so…

It hasn’t gone away, but it has gotten better. Significantly better. And I think these tools are the reason why.

Tool 1: Meditation

I know, this meditation thing is all over the self-improvement arena and you’re probably sick of hearing it, but seriously, nothing can calm my shit down more than 10 minutes focused on my breath.

When you’re in mid-life crisis, you spend a lot of time feeling “off”, like you’re supposed to be doing something really important, but you don’t know what it is. It’s kind of like a perpetual state of that nightmare where you have to take a test you didn’t study for. Gah!

Meditation calms you by letting you get some distance from your thoughts. It’s like pulling in a friend that can point out where you’re not seeing things so clearly or where your inner-voice is needlessly leading you to Dramaland. Perspective like that is invaluable when you need to figure out what you need to do to feel better.

So, even if you’re sick of hearing about meditation or if you’re doubtful it will work for you or not, try it anyway. And, keep trying it because the practice of meditation is where “the magic” happens.

Tool 2: Journal

Get to know thyself, friend. You’re in mid-life crisis because your brain and heart are trying to tell you something.

Meditation will help you shut up. Journaling will help you listen.

Feeling bugged about something and can’t quite put your finger on it? Write it out. Want to start working on some goal to see if that helps? Journal it. Want to find your purpose? Journal it.

Writing things down helps crystallize your understanding of yourself, which is key when you’re trying to figure out what the hell you need. So give it a go.

And don’t put a bunch of rules and baggage around this. Just do it when you feel the urge. No more guilt about not journaling every night before bed. This is not that habit. This is about healing yourself and using this tool when you need it.

And don’t get hung up on what to journal with. Pen and paper. An app. Whatever. Just let it all out.

Tool 3: Playtime

Remember when you were a kid and you did whatever you loved doing as soon as you had time for it? Maybe it was a game you liked to play. Maybe it was coloring or jumping rope. Whatever it was, bring that back. Do it. Make time for it.

Adults suck at playing. We’re taught that we have so much to do and don’t have time to play. Bullshit.

I’ve learned that if I don’t make time for play, my inner-self, or whatever in the hell it is, gets all upset and tries to bring me down. If I’m playing, I’m happier.

Make time for it. Make it a priority.

That’s it?

No. These tools may help you with your crisis, but if you’re not taking care of your health, it all falls apart.

Your health is the most important tool in this kit, but I didn’t list it as one because we all know we’re supposed to take care of ourselves. I didn’t want to give you a tool you already have because you would feel cheated.

However, if you’re not getting the nutrients, sleep, and exercise you need, you’re not going to feel right and all the meditation in the world won’t help you. So take care of yourself and see if that crisis you’re in doesn’t improve.

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New stuff!

If you missed my last post on accountability systems, I’ve created a new Facebook page for the blog where I put out smaller tips and ongoings.

I also created an accountability group for my blog subscribers, so if you’re having trouble sticking with your resolutions, be sure to join us there!