clear head

How to start the school year right

clear head

How is it the end of August already? I’m trying to savor the last week by enjoying summer activities as much as possible like wearing matching bathing suits with my son. 🙂 (Click the link to see a picture of us.)

Every ending is a new beginning and for many, September is the other January. There’s nothing like the crisp air and the promise of new beginnings with a fresh school year.

That’s why I want to share a simple but powerful practice that has helped so many people hit the ground running come September.

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In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point he brought to light the idea of the broken window theory (although it’s been around since the early ’80’s). The broken window theory is fascinating and I believe it applies so much to our health and fitness.

It suggests that people on streets with lots of broken windows, graffiti, garbage, etc., are more likely to throw trash on the street, graffiti the walls, and overall have much less respect for the property on that street than if it were gleaming.

Think about it this way…

When you’re in a sparkling bathroom you’re way more likely to keep it that way, right?

When former Mayor Giuliani first become mayor of New York City, he went after the small infringements like meter skipping for subways, graffiti, and getting rid of the guys that washed car windows whether you asked them to or not.

He felt that if you attack the small nuances, the serious ones like assault, rape and murder would diminish.

He was right.

I’ve applied this concept to my life.

I have found that:

-When my office is messy, I’m not as productive, organized and on point.

-When my kitchen is messy, I order in food more.

-When my laundry is piling up, I’m less likely to exercise because I don’t have any clothes to wear.

-When I don’t have healthy food stocked up, I’m more likely to eat unhealthy.

That’s why I try to make it a point to not let the small things build up.

Seems like common sense but it’s not common practice.

For example, spending just five minutes every night cleaning and organizing, dealing with unread and undone emails/tasks, and doing laundry every week, as opposed to letting it build up can make a big difference.

THE PROBLEM WITH LETTING THINGS BUILD UP…

Is they become daunting! As tempting as it is to say, “Alright, I’ll do everything all at once…” it’s more effective and less daunting to do a little every day.

I find that when I stay on top of these small but impactful tasks, it allows me to do everything better. It makes staying consistent with my diet and exercise a bit easier too.

So, if you’re unsure of what to do for the next week or so, why not spend some time cleaning and organizing.

Here are some ideas:

-Are there any lingering tasks that you keep putting off?

-Is there any physical clutter (messy desk, closet, kitchen, etc.)?

-Do you have any online clutter (unread emails, invites, etc.,)?

Dealing with these small things can make a big difference. It allows us to start the other new year fresh. Otherwise, we have all these things we know we need / should do floating around in our head and it takes up precious mental energy.

We get a disproportionate amount of energy and peace of mind from taking care of these little things.

I hope you decide to try it out. Before you discount the simplicity of it …TRY IT! 🙂 Then see how you feel.

-Adam

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