Six simple ways your home can help you win at life
Guest U.S. Blogger and SeriouslyHappyHomes founder Rebecca West on Six simple ways your home can help you win at life:
We all want to live happier, healthier, more successful lives, but most of us aren’t putting our homes to work for us in a way that makes it easier to win at life. How can you make your home a tool for success instead of an obstacle to your joy? Let’s look at seven common new years resolutions for 2019 and examine at how our house can help (or hinder) our chance to thrive.
I resolve to: Exercise more
According to inc.com 65% of us resolved to exercise more in 2019. Here are two simple ways your home could help you do that:
You could have your exercise machine set up in a room that is actually appealing instead in the dark and cluttered garage, or your yoga mat ready and out in a space that is easy to use each morning. If your exercise machine has become more of a clothes rack and your yoga mat has disappeared under a winter's worth of coats in your closet, then make this weekend's task to unbury it. The equipment does you no good if you can't use it easily.
You could clean out your coat closet so that it’s easy to grab the shoes and gear you need to head out for a run or walk. Most of us have too much gear (how many exercise tops do you really need, anyway?) and overstuffed drawers and closets actually make it harder to get out and exercise. Pair down your equipment to the gear you really use, donate the rest, and make it easy to grab and go.
Take a moment to assess what a successful exercise routine would look like for you, identify what you need (or don’t need) in your home to make that habit easier, and make some changes!
I resolve to: Lose weight
About 54% of us resolved to lose weight in 2019. Unfortunately, our homes often get in the way of that goal, and can actually encourage you to gain weight. How?
If your dining table is really just a clutter-collector and instead you eat in front of the TV, then your home habits are hindering your weight loss - we all know that mindful eating leads to healthier eating. If you don’t like your dining room, figure out why and change it up!
If you work from home and your workspace is in or near the kitchen, it may encourage snacking. “Out of sight, out of mind” works wonders for reducing between-meal snacks, but if every time you look up you see the pantry or fridge, you are subconsciously encouraging eating when you aren’t actually hungry. This is especially true if you are procrastinating on a project you’d rather avoid. Put yourself in a place where you are less distracted by possible snack breaks.
If your home is a source of stress instead of joy because it’s full of so many to-do items, that might encourage stress-eating. In an ideal world the moment you walk in the door all the anxiety and stress of your day should fall off your shoulders, but for too many people coming in the front door raises anxiety and that means making a beeline for the fridge. Even if you can’t change your whole space, clean up your front entry - sweep the front steps, replace any burnt out bulbs in your porch light, dust away the cobwebs, and put away the pile of shoes inside the front door. Make sure that something you see when walking in your front door makes you smile, even if that’s just a fresh, fun welcome mat.
What is there in your home that encourages unhealthy eating or raises your stress level? What is one change you could make - right now - to improve that situation?
3- I resolve to: Save more and spend less
You won’t be surprised to hear that 32% of us resolved to save more and spend less in 2019. When most folks think of sprucing up their home or working with a designer, they think of spending, not saving, money, but here are a few ways a happy home can help you with this goal:
By having a kitchen you love (and that is easy to use) you can create a habit of cooking at home more often, saving you the money of eating out (which also involves fuel and parking costs). By having a home that you feel proud of you can create a habit of staying in, having friends over for game nights, or hosting parties (potlucks (responsibility for food and beverages are shared) are an especially great way to save money). If you are embarrassed by your home, feel like it’s not party-ready, or actually dislike being there, that means more nights, and more money, out.
By having a bedroom that helps you sleep well you wake up more equipped to make good decisions the next day, whether that is the decision to eat the lunch you brought instead of ditching it for a restaurant run, having that one extra drink, or heading out for some retail therapy. When we are well-rested and content, we spend less because we need less.
Think of the last few times you spent money going out or buying something you later regretted. Is there something in your home that could have made a difference in that decision if it were different?
4- I resolve to: Read more
If you’re among the 17% of folks who resolved to read more in 2019, let’s make sure that your home is giving you the change to do more of it! How can your home help or hinder?
If your home to-do list is too long, then every time you want to sit down and read, there’s a good chance you either miss out on the reading because you have “stuff you need to do” or, if you do read, you can’t fully enjoy it because things on your list are nagging at you. A happy home is one that is finished enough that, while there are things you *could* do, there is little you *must* do.
If the only good reading chair in your home is in the main TV-watching area, or has been taken over by laundry, or is in a public space where you’ll be constantly disturbed, then you’re in a situation where it’s harder to create time for reading than it has to be. Try carving out a nook in your home that is comfortable and clutter-free, and put *just one or two* books or magazines in that spot along with a fluffy blanket and a small table perfect for a mug of tea. Make it easy to escape, even if you only get 15 minutes of me-time.
If your home is overflowing with reading material, consider paring down your collection. Sometimes what gets in our way is just an over-abundance of options. Just like reading too long of a menu makes it hard to choose what you want for dinner, or or having too many choices of peanut butter makes it harder to get out of the grocery store, having too many options of what to read can get in the way of just sitting down and reading. Even if you don’t want to let go of your books, put them away on the shelves and have just one or two active books. I promise this will make it easier to make time to read, and it’ll reduce the clutter in your home, too!
If reading really is a priority for you, have you created a space where it’s easy to dive into a book, if when you have just a little bit of time for yourself?
5- I resolve to: Spend more time with family and friends
If you resolved to spend more time with family and friends this year, your home can help with that, too! To make sure your home supports your social life, try out these two ideas:
Do what you need to do to make your home a place where it’s easy to have friends over. Lots of people avoid going out because it’s expensive, but if you can stay in for a game night, potluck, or book club, then everyone gets the benefit of social time without the price tag. And - bonus for you - you don’t have to drive!
Partner up with your friends and family to get stuff done around the house - theirs and yours. Chores are always more fun with help, so why not ask around and find out what home-projects the people in your life are taking on this spring. Why not have a pizza-and-painting party at your place, and then a weed-the-garden party at their place? It might sound crazy, but you’ll get more done with help, and create stronger relationships at the same time!
The home is a natural place to spend more time with family and friends. Make sure that you have a home that encourages time spent relaxing together, and that isn’t so big (ie expensive), so cluttered (ie embarrassing), or so precious (ie, fragile and stainable) that it gets in the way of being together.
6- I resolve to: Travel more
If you’re eager to travel more you might think that your home has nothing to do with being able to do that. I mean, it’s all about escaping your home, right? In fact, your home has a huge influence on your ability to travel more:
Consider what it takes to maintain your home. Houseplants and beautiful gardens are wonderful things but, if travel is your goal, make decisions about your home that help make it easier, not harder, to leave. Have houseplants that don’t take a horticulturist to keep alive, and plant a garden that won’t leave an enormous clean-up project waiting for you when you get back. A good ground cover can save you hours of weeding!
Many of us spend more on home projects than we have to. An area rug can cost €200, or €20,000, and a kitchen spruce-up can cost a few hundred euro, or be remodeled for as much as hundreds of thousands of euro. Choose your projects, scope, and material judiciously so that you can travel and have your kitchen too!
Also, think about how much home you have. A bigger home means more costs in both time and money and, since time and money are what you need to travel, that might mean your home is keeping you from getting away when you want to. If travel is a goal for you, can you downsize?
Finally, not to get all woo-woo on you, but our homes are a beacon for our subconscious mind. Like any mantra, what repeats in our head often manifests in our lives. So if you want to travel more, use your home as a canvas for what you want. Hang travel photographs and posters, and have pillows and other touchstones around that help keep your goals top of mind. Use your space to focus your attention so that as you make choices each day (like whether to buy that latte, or to skip it for your travel fund) your big goals are never far from your mind.
Having a clear goal that you keep top of mind - whether that’s with a vision board, daily journaling, or just having mementos around your home that focus your mind on your desires like travel - helps you make decisions that help, instead of hinder, your ability to leave (and love coming home, too).
Everyone of us has a powerful tool in our pockets - the key to the front door of our homes. Make sure that it’s working as hard for you as you are for it, and find greater happiness, health, and success in your life!
May your home always be happy!