Tools for Awesomeness: the Every Damn Day List
Ever have a stretch of 4 or 5 days in a row where it feels like nothing is going right and, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t get a grip on your life?
If you’ve spent one too many days glued to your couch, binge watching reruns of The OC + yelled at your kids, your partner, and even your cat more times than you’d like to admit + ignored the dishes for so long that you’re actually kind of afraid to look and see what might be growing on them + focused so much on taking care of everyone else that you’ve completely neglected yourself and your own needs…
Well then, friend, it’s time for an Every Damn Day list.
Full disclosure — the Every Damn Day list isn’t my idea (I learned about it via Sarah Von Bargen over at yesandyes.org), but it’s been a pretty powerful tool for keeping my life on track when things get hectic, stressful, or overwhelming. Most importantly, having an Every Damn Day list is one small, practical way that I can stay connected to my deepest, truest self — even in the midst of noise and distraction.
Curious what my Every Damn Day list looks like? Here it is…
Move for at least 5 minutes — this might look like “real” yoga on my mat or just stretching in bed before I get up, a short walk with my dog, swimming laps, or even a little yard work.
Read FICTION for at least 10 minutes — reading purely for pleasure (without any sneaky, subtle applications to yoga, bodywork, or personal growth) is deeply nourishing and relaxing for me.
Do one quick chore — tidying up in the living room for 5 minutes, giving the bathroom sink and mirror a quick wipe, putting away clean laundry, prepping a meal or easy snack.
Say or do one kind thing — complimenting a stranger in the checkout line, rubbing my hubby’s feet while we watch TV together, telling a friend how much she means to me, sending flowers to someone I know is going through a tough time.
Stand outside and take five deep breaths — no matter what the weather, being outside and paying attention to my breath always helps me reconnect to myself and to nature.
Wanna create an Every Damn Day list of your own?
Step 1: Ask yourself a whole bunch of questions and jot down your answers. Questions like “What’s something small that I can do that takes care of my body? My heart? My physical space? The planet?” Or “What’s a simple action that would help me live into my values? Feel like I’ve got my shit together? Feed my brain?” Or “What little thing could I do that might nurture my relationships or make me a better community member?”
Step 2: Look at your answers and think about which of those things would make you feel the happiest? The least stressed? The most YOU? The calmest? The most free? Choose 5 to 8 things, MAX.
Step 3: Now transform each of those 5 to 8 things into the smallest, easiest possible action that you know for sure you could do every day — i.e. they should be accomplishable in a relatively short amount of time and with minimal effort. Stuff like “exercise for at least 60 minutes” or “make a home-cooked dinner for my family” or “deep clean one room of my house” does NOT belong on your Every Damn Day list.
Make sure each of your teeny, tiny actions is truly manageable — even when you’re tired or under the weather, super busy, or low on cash.
Step 4: Get all minimalist on that list and whittle it down to 3 to 5 items, tops! Your Every Damn Day list is NOT an exhaustive to-do list and treating it like one is gonna make you feel burned out. Include just the bare essentials. The simpler, the better.
One last recommendation — make your Every Damn Day list YOURS.
Don’t worry about what you “should” have on your list or turn it into some sort of daily self-improvement challenge. Instead, focus on small, straight-forward, low-effort actions that will help you cultivate a daily rhythm that feels DAMN GOOD. Think about what would align your life more closely with your dreams and values and what would make you feel happy, peaceful, and more connected to YOU.