Idea: babysit duos

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If a duck can manage this, so can you.

A complaint I hear an awful lot from friends with children, is they have no time for hobbies, culture or sports, because of their family, or because they cannot afford a babysitter that often.

I think those are just lame excuses. I agree it is a very bad idea to drag your children along to your French or yoga classes, and jogging with a pram does look a bit awkward. And I totally agree getting a babysitter every week does get a bit expensive. But if you really want to do something, there’s always a creative solution possible.

So I’m thinking: Say you want to practice yoga on Mondays, then maybe you might have a friend who would like to go spinning on Tuesdays. Why not team up? You go to your yoga class on Monday, while your friend babysits your kids, and you watch the whole bunch on Tuesdays.

Little thought on the side: Find friends that don’t have horrible kids. And make clear, businesslike commitments.

I don’t understand why nobody I know does this. But since I don’t have children (yet), maybe I just don’t get it. If you have any experience with this, either positive of negative, I would love to hear from you.

My infallible plan to become a better person: Rule #4

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When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

In case you are new to my blog, my completely waterproof New Year’s resolution for self-improvement is explained here. But in short: I want to become a better person – healthier, fitter, smarter, more cultured and more ethical – while carefully guarding my beloved laziness.

To make sure I keep it chill, I set some ground rules for myself:
1. No stress.
2. Have fun.
3. Spend as little extra time as possible on it.
4. Keep it positive.

You were proabably expecting some optimistic feelgood motivational speech when you clicked to read this post. But fear not, because you’re at the home of the lazy theory. And the whole point of this exercise is I won’t do anything that needs any extra motivation.

This last rule I have deduced from a simple principle: it is easier to do an extra effort (especially a small one, as explained in Rule #3) than to avoid doing something you want to do. That’s why it’s feasible to stick to doing ten push-ups every day but it’s very hard to quit smoking for instance. Continue reading

My infallible plan to become a better person: Rule #3

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Life is stressy enough without a dozen ambitious plans.

In case you are new to my blog, my completely waterproof New Year’s resolution for self-improvement is explained here. But in short: I want to become a better person – healthier, fitter, smarter, more cultured and more ethical – while carefully guarding my beloved laziness.

To make sure I keep it chill, I set some ground rules for myself:
1. No stress.
2. Have fun.
3. Spend as little extra time as possible on it.
4. Keep it positive.

Rule #3, spend as little extra time on this self-improvement plan as possible, is not so much driven by laziness (fine, maybe a little), as it is by common sense. Why do most resolutions fail? Because they’re unrealistic. Most of us have got jobs, families, friends, hobbies, and a certain need of sleep. Those take time too. So, and this may come to a surprise to the very optimistic among us, if you have all or even some of the above, you don’t have three hours to spend randomly every day. So unless you are lucky enough to do it professionally, who ever stuck with a brilliant plan like playing the piano for at least one hour every day, or working out every day?

Maybe I shouldn’t speak for everyone, but I have not (tried about a trillion times though).

That principle especially plays a role if the plan is not only to become fitter OR learn to play the piano, but to become fitter AND healthier AND more cultured AND live better… If you plan an hour every day on every goal, I’d give this plan about a day and a half. Maybe two in the holidays.

I think little improvements can make a huge difference over time. Especially when you can make a structural change. And they are easier to stick to. I will share some practical examples shortly.

 

My infallible plan to become a better person: Rule #2

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This could be me in… like, never. Seriously.

In case you are new to my blog, my completely waterproof New Year’s resolution for self-improvement is explained here. But in short: I want to become a better person – healthier, fitter, smarter, more cultured and more ethical – while carefully guarding my beloved laziness.

To make sure I keep it chill, I set some ground rules for myself:
1. No stress.
2. Have fun.
3. Spend as little extra time as possible on it.
4. Keep it positive.

My Rule #2 for becoming a better person is closely related tot Rule #1: Have fun. See, I have a theory about this whole healthy lifestyle thing. Let’s suppose doing some sports could prolong the life expectancy of a couch potato by an average of, say, 5 years. But in order to obtain this advantage, he has to work out in the gym for 6 hours a week. That’s 300 hours every year, considering he lets it slide a bit during the holidays. Over the course of 50 years the said ex-couch potato will have spent 15 000 hours in the gym. That ‘s a total of 937,5 days (at a rate of 16 hours per day in which he’s awake). That’s two and a half years. Or half of the time he has gained.

So what if he hates the gym? Taking in account all of the time he has spent on his transport to and from the gym, washing gym clothes and preparing and devouring lettuce (let’s say he hates that too?), this person has spent pretty much all of the time he has gained by a healthy lifestyle, doing stuff he hates. So far for those benefits.

So my conclusion is: if I hate it, I’m not doing it.

Okay, fine, except for a few necessary evils, like working, visiting sulky relatives, cleaning once in a while and holding book presentations.

But I suppose having to catch your breath after digging the remote control out from under your can, is not such a terrific plan either. So the challenge is to find activities and healthy foods you do like. If you don’t like going to the gym, then maybe you will like karate, yoga, running in the park, basketball, rock climbing, historical bike tours, tap dancing or boxing. Or maybe you just don’t like doing any of those a lot, but you do like doing a lot of those now and then.

Even if the better me lives to be ninety-five, life’s just too short to spend it being bored.

 

My infallible plan to become a better person: Rule #1

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Rule #1: No stress. So this could as well be me, busy becoming a better person.

In case you are new to my blog, my completely waterproof New Year’s resolution for self-improvement is explained here. But in short: I want to become a better person – healthier, fitter, smarter, more cultured and more ethical – while remaining as lazy as always.

To make sure I keep it chill, I set some ground rules for myself:
1. No stress.
2. Have fun.
3. Spend as little extra time as possible on it.
4. Keep it positive.

As with any New Year’s resolution, the biggest trap is ambition. Now, most women’s magazines will tell you it is important to set goals for yourself. A lot of them. And then to work towards those goals, steadily, strenuously, uncorruptibly, until you ‘ve reached them all. But here’s what I think of that: If that approach would work, then why would we need any more magazines? All of those feelgood magazines would have made themselves redundant years ago. Ha!

Here’s what usually happens when I set goals for myself: I keep my efforts up for a couple of days. Sometimes even weeks. I keep focused. I keep trying. Say, for instance, I want to lose 10 pounds. I will make it to at least 3. 4 if I get a little help from a flue or something. And then, for no apparent reason, I stop seeing the 3 pounds I’ve lost. Those 7 that are still clinging on to my bones, holding on for dear life, start to blur my vision. Then, sooner or later (but it’s always sooner and never later, isn’t it) I miss my first stepstone-goal. And I start to feel a bit bad about myself. Then, chocolate (or other comfort food) steps into the game. And I start to feel worse, leaning on terrible. Add more chocolate. I feel miserable now, bordering on desperate. From there it’s just a small step to decide just giving up and eating all the chocolate I please makes me way happier than losing weight. Better yet, it makes me happy now, which always beats being happy later.

And there’s not a thing in the world you can say to convince me that a better me should not also be a happier me.

So rule # 1 is:

No stress.

I have decided from now on, I won’t give a rat’s ass (excuse my french) about goals, targets or ambitions. My tactic is to make small changes that add to a healthy/sportsy/cultured/ecological/ethical lifestyle and don’t demand special effort. And I will share my ideas on this blog.

Since I refuse to invest too much time or trouble, what tools do I have left, you might ask?
– Organizing myself better
– Make small habits changes
– Cunning tricks

No stress. No goals. No sweat.

 

Learning French while being lazy

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A boring car ride? No, a rocking ‘n’ rolling French course!

I had another brilliant plan to become a better person without putting much effort into it. In this case, it even takes no effort at all. I switched my car radio to a French speaking radio station. I figured this way I will hear French every day, and I will be fluent in it before I know it! Ha! Or, as the French would say: Tiens!

The only effort I did make, was flip through all the French stations until I found one that plays music I actually like. I figured if the music keeps annoying me, this little plan would not outlast the first traffic jam or tailgater.

Even, or dare I say especially, the commercials are turning out to be a very effective crash course. Commercials usually try to sell everyday objects, and they tend to repeat their product several times, which can be quite annoying in your own language, but is turning out to be very useful when you’re trying to remember a word.

An extra advantage, so I have noticed, is that, since the lyrics of the music are mostly in English, my brain has to switch a lot between French and English. This is brilliant, because I have found this to be un peu troubling in ze past.

Of course, this plan only works with a language you already know a little. If I would manage to find, say, a Japanese radio station, I would not understand one iota of what is being said, and so I would learn bupkis.