Friday, May 31, 2013

Four Lessons: 30 Days to Higher Performance Through Nature

30 days.  30 minutes.  Every day.  Did you do it?

Well, I managed 20 days out of 30 of dedicated nature time.  The days I connected, regardless of the weather, were more productive and higher energy days.  When I did not get out in nature for more than one day at a time, I felt a decline in my energy, which resulted in procrastinating or self limiting thoughts.  Thankfully, I'm aware of my human-ness and knew what I had to do.

I started combining my nature time with other commitments and values.  So, I went outside to play with my youngest daughter instead of playing inside, walked a trail with a friend instead of having coffee at a coffee shop, took a walk instead of going for a drive to soothe the baby, or sat on a bench to read instead of in a comfy reading chair at home.  And I got it done!  But it was not only 'done'...

In the beginning of this challenge, I wanted to spend 30 minutes every day connecting to nature without other distractions.  This just wasn't happening at this time of my life.  So... I had to let go of that commitment I made and be OK with letting it go.  Surrendering... hard to do, hey?  But I did.  And as a result, I was able to replace that heavy feeling of guilt (from not following through on my original intent) with a feeling of gratefulness that I CAN spend time with my family and friends in nature and I'm actually connecting with people while IN nature.

It takes 21-days of commitment to something to make a habit change.  I took on a clean eating lifestyle change at the same time I took on the 30x30 challenge.  I was very successful in my clean eating habit changes and moderately successful in my nature challenge.  Why?  Sometimes we make our goals too big or take on too many things at once.  The lesson I keep getting in my life is push yourself just the right amount outside your comfort zone.  If it's too much, you won't do it .  If it's too little, you won't grow.  Was the nature challenge too much outside my comfort zone?  No way!  But taking on two habit changes at the same time while also being the most busy I've been in my business since its inception last Fall and taking on two other online courses... yeah, that was just a little too much.  And... when you have choose, you'll do what you've MADE most important (whether it really is most important or not).  For me, eating clean meant less inflammation in my body, which meant less pain.  I made that commitment stronger.

So, here are four tips for making change in your life:

First, get clear on what is most important and why.  In the case of this nature challenge, I'm perfectly clear that nature is incredibly important to me and the challenge has made this even more clear.  The REASON for that is because it makes me mentally and physically healthy and strong.  Why is that important?  Because I want to be around to enjoy life and my loved ones for a long time... being ACTIVE - and I need physical and mental strength to do the things I want to do.

Second, determine if the challenge or habit change fits into your life at that time.  It has to fit into your schedule... be part of your life like brushing your teeth.  If you can't fit it in, determine if you can let other things go.  Do you value everything that is on your schedule now?  Do you REALLY value what you want to take on?  Do you REALLY want to change?  Hindsight being 20x20, I know I could have made changes to my schedule and I could have gotten out there those 10 days that I did not.  However, something stood in my way.  Some days it was laziness.  Some days it was procrastination.  Some days it was simply because I had too much to do and didn't put emphasis on getting outside to connect.  Knowing these things brings me to the next tip.

Third, tweak.  I am not giving up.  This really is important to me.  I value it.  It makes me perform at a higher level.  It makes me feel good.  I want this in my daily life - no matter what.  So, I'll tweak.  I'll find something in my current schedule that can go (no, not blogging!)... possibly my morning Facebook time... yes, that could go.  And I'll be more aware of when I AM lazy or procrastinating and I'll just continue to do better.  Continuous improvement is the key to long-term success.

Fourth, get an accountability partner.  My husband was mine, BUT it was not a formalized arrangement.  He encouraged and supported me without me giving permission for him to do so.  You need to have a clear and formal understanding with your accountability partner that when you are not doing what you said you'd do, they need to know and have your permission to use three motivational methods (things that motivate YOU) that will help you follow through.

The best thing that came out of my experience is this:  I enjoyed nature 20 times over the past 30 days.  Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees.  Getting out into the trees helps you see the forest.  I'm celebrating!

Pomroy Consulting Inc. helps leaders and managers of organizations, communities, and groups lead change, have meaningful relationships with stakeholders, and intentionally create cultures using mindfulness and best business practices.

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