Last week, I was listening to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast, Happier, in which the hosts played a voicemail a listener describing her hack for making exercise more convenient:
“Not being a morning person, and with my New Year’s Resolution steam kind of slowing down, one of the things that has helped me is with my workout clothes: once I take them out of the dryer, since they go in dirty as an outfit, I fold them and put them away clean as an outfit. So, for example, instead of putting all the yoga pants together and all the shirts together, what I do is as I pull them out of the dryer, I put the outfits back together (including the socks), roll them up, and put them in a drawer standing up. So all I have to do is grab a bundle, throw it in my gym bag, and know that I have everything. Or, if I’m working out in the morning, when I’m half asleep because I haven’t had coffee, I know that by grabbing that bundle, I have everything, I don’t have to think, and it cuts down on me talking myself out of working out that morning.”
As someone who has become minorly obsessed with forming good habits, I absolutely love this idea. I really do love exercise (mainly pilates and long, brisk walks), but taking the time to do it feels like enough of a chore that it sometimes just doesn’t happen. I’ve found that wearing workout tanks under my work clothes and keeping extra accessories (like hair ties) in my desk at the office really helps me exercise more, because I’m always just a little more prepared for a class than I would be otherwise. And bundling workout outfits so you can grab them while running out the door would definitely make it just-easier-enough to get my butt to class on days I really don’t feel like it!
I realized that this bundling method doesn’t just apply to workout motivation. Here are a few ways to implement the bundle method in your own life, and more convenient, healthy habits:
1. Meal prep lunches/snacks
The thing about meal prepping is that it seems like so much work, but really, it’s doing the work of prepping your week’s food all at once so that you don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. Now, I’m not personally a meal prep evangelist, and I certainly don’t pre-chop and marinate everything I need for the week’s dinners on Sunday afternoon. But I always feel better and more on top of things when I’ve meal prepped my lunches for the week.
The laziest/easiest way for me to do this is is to meal prep series of healthy snacks that will keep me full throughout the day, and that I can grab on my way out the door. I’m talking mini Babybells, an apple or grapes, crackers, carrots, and hummus — extremely easy, and basically a grown-up version of Lunchables. I have a few lunch boxes with compartments that I divvy the snacks out into. And voila! I’ve both made sure I have a healthy-ish, filling lunch for each day that week and taken out the hassle of having to make a decision at lunchtime.
2. Keep an old-school change purse
I cannot tell you how much money I have sitting around in random purses in the form of loose change, because I’ve never bothered to consolidate and count it. If I had an actual change purse on me, I’d probably be more likely to occasionally empty it into the giant jar of change sitting on our kitchen counter. Simply having a little pouch handy means that, whenever you get change from paying cash for something, you can dump it into said pouch, empty it into your own change jar a few times a week, and watch as your leftover money keeps piling up.
3. Store your journal in the most convenient place
I think the biggest factor that makes the bundle method so appealing is that it starts with just one simple change to how you store things. For instance, it really helps my psyche to journal before bed, but I also often forget to. Or, I get in bed without grabbing my journal and a pen, and I don’t feel like getting back out to get them.
I don’t have room for a nightstand on my side of the bed (don’t worry, I have the entire guest bedroom closet as my own personal storage, woe is not me), so we got a bedside pocket for me to store my journal, pen, and nightlight. This keeps it super handy, so I basically have no excuse not to do a little reflecting before bed. This is a great solution if you want to do more reading before bed as well — you can make sure you always have something nearby to do while you fall asleep besides looking at your phone!
If you’re looking to form (and stick to) better habits, I also definitely recommend checking out Rubin’s book Better Than Before. One thing that’s very clear throughout the book is that everyone is different, and no one habit-changing strategy will work for everyone. She dives into dozens of different strategies for making healthier, happier habits, along with the nuances and caveats that come with each one. Reading it gave me a lot of insight into my own personality traits and think of actually-helpful ways for me to stick to good habits.
Also, if you have your own tried-and-true methods for sticking to good habits, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Holly is the TFD’s Head of Content. Follow her on Twitter here, or send her your ideas at holly@ !
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