Last year, I posted a #weeklynudge each week on Twitter (search and you can probably find them), charting my various great finds and epic failures at nudging – changing minute details in regular behaviours that add up to bigger changes when you multiply their effects together.
For this week’s Self Curious offering, I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen to prepare you a tasting menu of nudgy delights. Chef’s suggestion is that you choose one nudge from each course, add it to your daily meal plan of habits for three weeks, and see where it takes you. If something really doesn’t agree with you, swap it out for one of the other suggestions.
Gratitude and Kindness
Write down 3 things a day you are grateful for in a notebook.
Choose 5 postcards from your favourite card shop and mail them to your friends with a kind message.
Leave your full coffee shop stamp card at the counter as a “pay it forward” for someone who needs it more.
Meal prep doesn’t have to be instagrammable or portable. Choose one recipe you love and make a batch for the freezer. You don’t have to have matching tupperware either; old ice cream tubs do the job. Extra tip: listening to a podcast while you prepare the food gets bonus you-time to boot.
Stick a piece of scrap paper to the inside of one of your main kitchen cupboard doors and write on there every time you run out of something. (PS – Keep a pen in your cutlery drawer for lists and a Sharpie for writing on tupperware freezer portions).
Buy stuff before you need it. You’re worth it, and you’re going to get through it in the end anyway. If it feels daft, just think of it as buying it for a friend who lives with you.
Space To Think
Get outside. At least once a day spend 10 minutes outside. Sounds easy, sometimes hard. Same goes for walking.
Try a mindfulness app or doing a YouTube yoga video once a day. Just try. You can decide it’s not for you after you’ve committed to it for a week.
Attach the practice of thinking about your breathing to a chore. Cleaning your teeth, doing the washing up, or watching the kettle boil are all good ones. Every time you do the chore, focus on breathing in, then breathing out. You might want to use a post-it in a key place to remind you.
Clean your bag out before you pack it for a trip. You do not necessarily need all the things you thought you needed last time.
Think about how you’re going to feel. It’s okay to change into tracksuit bottoms for a long train journey, or even just to head home after a stressful day at work.
Invest in the things that matter to you, whether that is a power bank for your phone, writing a reusable packing list for trips, or biting the bullet and saving for a great bag or suitcase.
Set a timer for 15 minutes and sit somewhere with a notebook and pen. See what happens. Repeat regularly.
Reward your efforts, not just your successes. You went from trying not to think about the gym to laying out your kit? That is great progress. Keep trying and thank yourself for your commitment and effort. Symbols don’t have to be expensive: a nice coffee, a bath bomb, a doughnut, or just taking the slow train to work so you can have a seat and read your book.
Allow yourself to spend a bit of time practising something you enjoy but are not good at. Examples: throwing M&Ms and catching them in your mouth, drawing, crossword puzzles.
Digital Detox (*credit below)
Use an old phone or alarm clock and leave your phone outside your bedroom when you hunker down for the night.
When seeing anyone 1:1, put your phone out of sight and somewhere you won’t hear or feel it chirp or buzz. And no, face down on the table is not a reasonable adjustment.
Do not take your phone into the bathroom. Ever.
Self Care 101
Complete an action every evening that serves future you. Examples: put a teabag in your favourite mug and fill the kettle; write a funny message on the bananas in your fruit bowl; put your dirty socks in the basket the right way round.
Rub your feet. I know, you’re reading this on your phone on the bus or with a brew at work and some girl’s just told you to rub your feet. Couple mins each foot while you’re watching TV. Flipping lovely.
Use your phone’s flight mode either for an hour in the evening or for one of your journeys to and from work if you use public transport and usually find yourself scrolling at this time.
Bon appétit! Good luck, have fun, and let us know how you get on with the nudges on social media.
* The second and third actions were suggested by the brilliant Tanya Goodwin on her recent podcast interview with Ella and Matt Mills. Looking forward to reading some of her stuff.
Claire Eadington geeks out on workflow management, performance and wellbeing.