Week 8 of 'The Great Wake Up!'
Week eight has provided another opportunity to reflect on the Wake Up! project and how the year is going so far. Since December I've been trying a number of different experiments to help me find the time and energy to make my life brighter and more fulfilling.
So what difference is taking part in this project actually making to me and my life? Well the biggest thing I've learned has been the benefit of simply doing things a bit differently. I always knew I had a number of routines that I follow and which help me to navigate my way through daily life. For me that is part of the deal that comes with having a long daily commute to work and is probably the same for thousands of others across the country in similar situations. Over time I found myself doing the same things in the morning and the evening, and a routine was slowly created. A routine that gives me the best chance of getting from home to work on time, and which helps me make the most of the short amount of time I get to myself in the evenings.
Although I knew I followed routines, that knowledge was in some ways unconscious. I seem to go through my day on auto-pilot and am so familiar with my day-to-day patterns of movement that I don't give them a second thought. I do them without realising and am completely unaware of what I'm doing.
What these experiments have helped me do is lift me out of some of that routine, and become more aware of what I'm doing. Because in order to change things and do things differently I have to notice what I'm doing in the first place, and if I don't then these experiments will certainly let me know. For example, the 'stuffocation' experiment that I completed a couple of weeks ago where I didn't buy anything except food and water, encouraged me to be more aware of some of my spending habits particularly with the smaller 'nice to have' purchases that I sometimes make on impulse and which I had to resist over those few days.
I've also found that some of the experiments have helped in other parts of my life as I've gradually become more self-aware. Previously I had always felt like I've got to be doing something useful and found it very difficult to relax. But now I've noticed a definite change, not a huge change, but I've been spending more time on things that I simply enjoy - not for any particular reason except that they bring me joy, happiness and peace.
My hopes for the rest of the year and the remaining experiments is that they continue to help me step out of my usual routines from time-to-time, and in doing so encourage me to appreciate what makes my life more fulfilling.