Alright, it is March 1st and that means it is time for another experiment. While I have always liked to experiment with things in my life I made a decision at the beginning of the year to get a little more formal about the process. I decided to take a couple of experiments every month and put them into practice every day for that month. So let’s do a quick recap of what has happened so far this year:
- No eating out
As a guy that does a lot of his business over meals, I recognize that I likely eat out far more than I should. I had also gotten into the lazy habit of eating out even when I did not have a meeting. It had gotten to the point that I was eating out at least once a day and often twice. I never did do a formal count but I likely ate out 45 times in a month. The point of this experiment was to limit my restaurant meals for business and eliminate them completely for personal.
Month End Result: Success – I did not eat out for business at all. I managed to reschedule any meal meetings to non-meals. I think I had a meal at the Georgetown in Canmore while on a weekend getaway (possibly twice. The shepherds pie is delicious!). I did not calculate the money savings but I am certain it is enough to buy a small jet plane.
Today: I am not as strict but I have eliminated lunch meals out on my own. I either pack a lunch or head home for food. I will continue to be mindful of what I eat, doing my best to eliminate my meals out.
- Writing a gratitude journal daily
This one is one I was a little skeptical about but thought it would be useful to try. I have read and heard so much about the power of gratitude. I was mostly skeptical that this experiment would add any value as I believe I am a fairly grateful dude anyhow.
Result: Success! I was able to maintain a Google Doc journal of a minimum of 3 things I was grateful for every day. It certainly became easier over time to recognize and actually feel gratitude for a multitude of things in my life
Today: I am still writing a minimum of three things a day I am grateful for. It actually flows very easy now and I find i often can rattle off 5 or 6 things very easily.
- No hitting snooze on the morning alarm
I am a master procrastinator. As Stephen Pressfield writes in his book the War of Art, I can even procrastinate procrastinating. I was also a master of the snooze button. When I sat down and reflected on that it dawned on me that I actually ‘procrastinated’ 2 or 3 times before I even got out of bed. This did not sit well with me. So I decided to change it.
Result: This one has been a roaring success as well. I find it easier to get up in the morning knowing that ‘snooze’ is not an option at all. I set my alarm for the time I actually need to get up and not early enough to allow a few procrastinations to start my day.
Today: I will continue to practice this one for sure
- 10 minutes of mindful meditation every day
This is something that I try and practice already. I realized though, that I wasn’t as diligent as I thought I was. I decided to add a schedule and a challenge to this practice to ensure I was actually employing this in my daily life.
Result: Meh – I realize I am not as disciplined as I thought I was in this regard. The reality is you cannot ‘force’ meditation time you have to plan for it. It cannot be something you ‘cram in’ at the end of the day. It was a good eye-opener to realize how much work I have to do on my practice.
Today: I will continue to practice this for the forseeable future.
So that brings us to March. I will continue to practice the experiments above but have added a couple more. March is a little more complex.
- Eating what I have in my cupboard
This one needs a little context. I waste a lot of food. I also tend to buy before I use. As a result I have about 12 bags of frozen veggies, 7 jars of pizza sauce, 8 cans of black beans, multiples of lentils, soups, pasta sauces, cereals, etc. So this experiment is all about utilizing what is in my household and not buying more food. The caveat to this is food staples like milk, meats (after I eat what is in my freezer), and bread (for kids lunches) can be purchased but nothing else. The idea is to try and live off what is in my cupboard for the next 30 days. It should be a lesson in being grateful for the food that I have and learning not to waste it.
I am going to employ the kids in this one as well. Though that might be tough as they may all of a sudden opt to spend more time at Mom’s. I will explain to them why I am doing it and see if I can get buy in.
- Remove escalating language
So this one is not exactly a ‘no swearing’ rule, but it is close. I realize that I say a lot of things that are somewhat inflammatory that tend to escalate negative moods rather than let them subside. For example, yelling “For Fuck Sakes!” to myself when the car in front of me is doing 10 KMH below the speed limit. Or anytime I catch myself saying things like “I’m fucking sick of this bullshit!” when my kids or someone in my life does something frustrating. Instead, I will practice reframing into “I really would prefer they did not do that. I wonder if there is a way I can assist in preventing that from happening in the future.”
So there you have it. A quick and dirty low down on my 2018 experiment.
Have you had any experience with any of the experiments I listed? What were your results? Are there any experiments you would like to see me complete in the future?