Monday, January 17, 2011

Ten Minute Fix: Ruts

This story begins with the door to a bedroom in my second college apartment. It was an ordinary door in every way except for one...THE DANG THING WOULDN'T CLOSE! One day my roommate and I decided we had lived with that door long enough, so armed only with a hammer, some liquid white-out, and zero knowledge about how to fix a door, we did a ten minute fix. We had exactly ten minutes, and at the end of those ten minutes that door had to way or another. It was a wild ride, but we did it.

What I learned is that fixing stuff doesn't have to take as long as we think, and the same can go for fixing our lives. So, the ten minute fix is no longer confined to the realm of "home repairs that you could have just had the landlord take care of", but is free to explore the exciting world of self-improvement.

Ten Minute Fix: Ruts

Take a good look at these mashed potatoes. mmmm.....
Now, what if these particular mashed potatoes have been served to you every day for dinner without butter or salt for the past three years? Less appetizing, right?

A rut is your 1095th serving of unsalted mashed potatoes. It’s a routine or tradition gone bad. It isn’t enjoyable. It doesn’t make you more productive. It doesn’t enrich your life in any way. You only do it because it’s what you’ve always done. Variety is the spice of life, so this ten minute fix will help you escape your rut and spice things up a bit.

Follow This Outline

1. Start the clock. You only get ten minutes. No cheating.

2. Write down 1 to 3 ruts that you find yourself stuck in (Rut = Any unrewarding activity you do on autopilot)

3. For each rut listed, write down a new activity or a change to that activity to spice it up.
EXAMPLE: Instead of looking in the mirror and studying the bags under your eyes while you brush your teeth in the morning, you could do some lunges while brushing your teeth. Great teeth, great breath, and a great butt all at the same time!
4. Choose one rut from the list and work out any details, so you can put it into action.

This exercise isn't meant to replace one rut with a new one. It’s a one-time 
deal just to try something spontaneous and new, and If it works out, you can add it to your routine.

My rut was coming home 
from work, checking the mail, plopping myself down on the couch and pretty much sitting around until either Seinfeld came on, or it was time to eat dinner. Maybe at one point I considered this “unwinding” and it did me some good, but not anymore. It’s a rut. So, in my ten minutes I decided that instead of playing the part of a throw pillow in a one man production of Boring, I would take my wife and baby to the local art museum. I looked up the location, cost, hours, and whether or not we could take snapshots inside. In ten minutes my activity was planned and the next day I put it into action. 

Enjoy your ten minute fix. Tell your friends. More fixes coming soon.

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