Today, I'm going to share with you one of the articles I wrote in response to a Getting Unstuck coaching group, member's forum question.
Thanks to Sandy G for asking the Question:
"My hours and days vary week to week, so it's hard to get a routine going for myself, which has always been hard anyway. Any suggestions for me?"
I know everyone's case of difficulty with morning routines is not like mine, but I'm going to get real personal here and share my excruciating struggle with implementing a morning routine and getting dressed every day so that I could be on time and prepared for my days.
Plus, it was incredibly stressful and frustrating because I could barely think in the AM, and I could never find things. I went through dozens of outfits and accessories trying to decide what to wear. Just thinking about it now makes my stomach hurt.
So in hopes of "inspiring you" - not "telling you how you should do it" - here's what finally worked for me.
And by the way, I still continue to tweak and fine-tune and improve...I need variety like I need air to breathe...so don't think this is "fixed" in any way...or that I do it 100% consistently.
It took time and energy to create this "routine" but once I experienced the results, it became so automatic to me that it actually took me a while to put into words what I do!
That, my friends, is why it's worth all the trial and error, all the mistakes I made along the way to evolve this system. It WORKS FOR ME! I hope this inspires you to take the time needed to identify and meet your "special needs" too.
Here's what has helped me get better at "routines" like getting dressed every day ....
- Focusing on the positive result I will get.
My negative self talk changed from something like this
"Why do I have to go through this every single freaking day!
Why can't I just getup and get dressed like normal people? I am so defective.
Why can't I make a decision? If people at work could see me now, no one would want to work with me. Why is it that I can manage a million dollar budget and create a training program in record time, but I can't dress myself? This is ridiculous. I'm calling in sick...I can't do this anymore. This should be simple, I am so crazy... I can't stand myself or stand to talk to anyone today."
The downward spiral of this kind of thinking combined with a bad PMS day, or a loss of a relationship, or some other life situation, would be enough to send me to bed for days with serious depression. Resolving my fundamental self-care issues has changed my life DRAMATICALLY. I get depressed MUCH less frequently and it only lasts a short time. Like NORMAL people!
Here's what my more positive self-talk sounds like now.
"I'm so glad I finally figured out how to make this easy! I wish I'd known I had ADD earlier, but I'm so glad I know now. I'm not defective, I'm just different.
I can't believe how simple I made this. I am so lucky and so GOOD!
I wish everyone could know how positive finding out you have ADD can be if you work with it. Not everyone is this creative...Look how fast I can get dressed now!
It's nothing...taking time to get dressed is a very small price to pay to feel so good and fell so ready and confident to get on the phone with clients.
Once I'm dressed for the day everything is easier, answering calls, emails, writing articles...this is better than taking medication! I'm so glad I figured this out...YAY!
I can't wait to help other people realize that if they just accept who they are, they can make magic happen. The magic isn't in the containers, or the organizing tools, it's in accepting who are and appreciating what you do to take careself, NOT "how" you take care of yourself. Who cares how I do it as long I get the result - Feeling good about myself and inspired to get through the day with more successes on every level"
I LITERALLY talk to myself like this now. I may still be weird...but I'm energized and HAPPY being weird! : )
- Automating my dressing routines by having a "uniform"
My uniform for every day is:
- black pants, colorful shirt, black sweater - or
variation is black pants, black shirt, colorful sweater only
- 3 pairs of shoes to choose from depending on where I'm going
- 2 Drawers - 1 for "everyday" around the house tops -1 for going out - includes ALL seasons so I don't have to bother with taking things in and out of storage. When drawers get overstuffed - purge "reactively" - no schedule
I can exercise or go out the house in this uniform
- Automated makeup
- all I wear is lipstick - the 24 hour kind by CoverGirl - color is 265 It REALLY works! So I don't have to repeat this throughout the day. I just use gloss to moisturize during the day.
When I don't put lipstick on I don't feel as energetic...so I connect putting it on to energy - it's red by the way...and really brightens my face, it's like smiling...it actually makes me smile after I put it on which is great.
- Comfortable underwear or none at all.
- Okay, maybe this is TMI, but for me, this was the BIGGEST OBSTACLE!
My skin is ultra sensitive, (as I have since learned is true for MANY ADDers) so most underwear and bras cause me considerable distraction and discomfort or itching after an hour or two.
I finally realized that this was a MAJOR source of my avoidance of getting dressed!
So now I have like 8 -10 pairs of black workout / yoga pants from Lands End here's one and here's another if you don't like drawstrings Hint: I have 4 different sizes and ALL are big in the waist for me, so I have to take in the waist to keep them from sliding down. It's worth it though...after taking them in they look and feel fabulous.
They are flare-legged and made to wear without underwear, as well as to go out of the house...They look like slacks when I wear them with regular street tops!
I also use 100% cotton bras with no underwire now...or exercise bras that are ultra comfortable, for example, I have a few very comfy cotton camis with built in shelf bras that have no hooks etc. LOVE THEM. Underwire Bras were a living nightmare for me and I used to put up with them just to look good...what a waste. I didn't realize you could find such "good enough" alternatives.
- Made an assembly line out of dressing
All my daily clothing is one place and organized so that they are in the order I put them on...no hunting or searching. My drawer of tops is organized with everything vertical so I can see every top I have in the drawer and just pull out the one I want.
- Removed ALL labels from my clothes, or put special tape called "Hollywood Tag Tamers" over the labels. The tape actually stays on through many washes, don't know how many, cuz so far (over a year or 2) none has come off!
Yes, I had to part with a LOT of clothes to simplify to this level. And, yes, I sacrificed some variety, but the benefits are EXTREMELY satisfying and worth it to me now.
These changes help me get showered and dressed in just 10 minutes and feel GREAT about doing it.
I was able to shift my attitude from AVERSION to ANTICIPATING feeling great - not only after getting dressed but even the process of getting dressed is so much easier that I feel really successful and good about myself doing it. Hence the new positive self-talk.
All because I learned to ACCEPT my most compelling needs. Even though my needs may be considered "odd" and "weird" by a lot of people, I don't care. It really works so if they have a problem with my uniform...it's theirs...not mine.
How to Inspire Yourself to Make the Tough Decisions, Resolve the Inner Conflict and Change!
My suggestion is to listen to your resistance VERY openmindedly - NOT critically
- What's creating the negative energy toward your morning routines?
- What motivates and compels you into action?
For me ultimately I had to resolve the conflict inside myself.
I "wanted" to look good (read: "as perfect as humanly possible") even if it HURT.
I wore heels and tolerated the pain...but after a while...I could no longer ignore the negative emotions I associated with painful clothing.
I "wanted" to wear something different everyday and be "stylish" but the time and energy that took was killing me and distracting me from doing things I really LOVE and that energize and feed my soul.
What I really truly "NEEDED" was the following so that I could have a better overall life.
- FAST process
- NO stressful decisions to make at my worst time of day to think which is right after getting up - I needed it to become "automatic"
- EASY - I need to be able to see and access my clothing with minimal effort, also it's need to be easy and fast to do laundry, fold and put away so no drycleaning, and no ironing. PERIOD.
- MINiMUM steps for everything. Hence the 24 hour lipstick. Maybe some day I'll even get lip tattoos and eliminate that step altogether! LOL
- COMFORT that lasts for hours so that my clothes don't ruin my mood, energy, and attitude but also fitting well, looking reasonably good, and feeling good in my clothes.
I hope this helps! Thank You Sandra for the inspiration!
To all my blog readers, I would LOVE to hear your ideas and strategies for making your routine work better for you. I may even use them in my book I'm working on about "Getting Unstuck!"
p.s. I'll be covering "Finding your Inspiration: