And so what I want do is offer you three tips for self-improvement for September. And they’re three habits basically. And these three habits I’d love you to take on for 30 days. And they’re very simple. They won’t take you any more than about five minutes each, of course you could spend more time on them if you wanted to and that would be ideal.
But if all you got is 15 minutes and you can do it for 30 days, I guarantee that if you do this for 30 days, you will notice a vast improvement in your life in many areas that you never expected.
Now this is kind of like not trying to hit the nail right on the head with a hammer. This is kind of going in the back door. So what we’re doing is setting the conditions in place in our life, that will just naturally lead to self-improvement. So it’s basically setting the table if you like for the meal, rather than cooking the meal, alright? And that way everything’s ready and it just begs for improvement. So here we go, are you ready?
The first and probably one of the most important tips is for five minutes, breathe and move every day, breathe and move. How do you breathe and move? Well, the thing that works the best is synchronizing breath with simple movement. And the one that I like is what I call the three, four breath. So it’s to the count of three you breathe in, to the count of four you breathe out. And in about five minutes, you can probably do that 20 or 30 times. So if you’re in a standing position it’s simple, just breathe in two, three, breathe out two, three, four. Inhale, two, three, exhale, two, three, four, and so on.
Now I love to do that in my kayak there right behind me. In summertime of course, when I’m here in my place in Northern Maine, I go out in my kayak every morning. And so the first 10 minutes or so that I’m kayaking, I do that three, four breath. And I do it this way, one, paddle two, three, breathing in, one, two, three, four, breathing out. And I do that sometimes for up to half an hour, and it’s amazing what that does.
Now, the idea is to get the heart rate a little elevated and to get the respiration rate a little elevated. So you need to be a little vigorous with it. The way I showed you here raising your arms up you can do that a little more quickly, a little more vigorously if you want. But breathing and moving, that’s the first thing, that’s number one. So do that everyday in the month of September for 30 days.
Number two, this may sound weird, but make your bed every morning. Now you think I’m telling you to make your bed because it’s a neat and tidy exercise, not at all. You’re gonna make your bed as a mindfulness practice. And there’s research to show, which I won’t go into here, that if you make your bed every morning, your life changes. People who make their bed in the morning, actually enjoy a lot of other things in their life, that people who don’t, don’t enjoy. So if you want to look that up google it, it’s a fascinating read. What happens to people who make their bed in the morning and how does their life change?
But here’s what you do, this is what I want is a mindfulness practice. So here’s the opportunity, as you make your bed, shouldn’t take any more than five minutes max, probably two or three. As you make your bed you watch your mind. And you notice all the stuff that goes around in there while you’re making the bed.
For example, why am I doing this? It’s stupid, it’s a waste of time. Notice that, oh, there I go thinking this is stupid and a waste of time. There goes my impatience, you may even put a label on it impatience. I’m trying to get on with other things.
Or it might be, oh my God, now I’m seeing the sheets and I’m gonna have to wash the sheets, and I’ve got so much to do. So worry and anxiety that triggers when you’re making your bed, right? So you’ll notice all these little things.
Or it might be the opposite. It might be, wow, this feels so good, I’m gonna feel so great getting here tonight. Getting into this already made bed, joy and anticipation, right?
So whatever it is, just notice it. And you don’t have to do anything with it. The whole thing with mindfulness is just be aware of what your mind is doing and notice it, say hello to it and let it go. You don’t have to fix anything, nothing to fix or change.
And then finally, this is one of my favorites. The last thing you do, you’ve moved and breathed, you’ve made your bed. And now you’re gonna put your hand here, right here on the center of your chest, and you’re going to close your eyes for a moment, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself this question, what really matters in my life today?
And don’t think about the answer, let the answer come from inside. Let it come from that inner knowing that we all have. What really matters in my life today? Just ask yourself that question and see what comes. And it may be the same thing comes up day after day. It might be a different thing and it doesn’t matter what it is, just notice it, notice it.
And then the next thing is choose one thing, just one thing that you can engage this day that will put that into practice. For example I might say, loving my family is the most important thing. So I’m going to make some little act of love and kindness to the family member that I first meet today. I’m going to do something that lets them know that I love them. Or whatever it might be for you. That’s just an example. You’ve gotta go with what matters to you. It’s important that it’s genuine and authentic and that you take some small action.
So there we got it. The three tips, the three habits for the month of September for self-improvement. Number one, breathe and move. Number two, make your bed every day. And number three, ask yourself what really matters in my life today, from the inside.
Good luck with that, and I’ll see you at the end of the month and hope your life has changed for the better.
Join us in sharing how its going for you in the comments below.