The Sanity Plan.
What comes to your mind when you read those words?
If I’m correct, most of you already have an idea of what that means. When I mention working on my Sanity Plan, most people tend to nod their head like they intuitively know what I’m talking about.
Why Everyone Should Have a Sanity Plan
I look around me all the time and see the blur of people hurrying, rushing, and trying to get it all done. I see lots of commitments being made, piled up to-do lists, and work with no end in sight. Everyone I know is in high gear. What I don’t see, is people taking time for themselves. Making a plan and carving out space for some sanity in their lives.
This is so important. We can say that we want a break, complain about being overwhelmed and overworked, but nothing is going to happen until we prioritize our well-being.
I’m speaking from experience here, I have 3 kids ranging from 2 to 13 years old. I’m juggling part time work for a startup, managing a rental property, and I help support my husband’s business. I have all the telltale signs of modern life, mountainous piles of laundry, and a to-do list a mile long. You can read more of my story here.
The goal is sanity. A balanced schedule and systems that work. So many times, we walk around with a wish list in our heads of things we’d like to change, but nothing changes without a concrete, actionable plan. As my husband likes to say,
“Sanity, you’ve got to PLAN for it.”
Try to visualize what a saner version of your life would look like. Can you identify the biggest areas that need work in order to make that happen?
Are you getting enough of the basics: sleep, healthy foods, exercise?
How effectively are you balancing your various roles as an employee (or business owner), partner, parent, family member, etc.?
Do you run your household efficiently, with systems in place for recurring tasks in order to save time and money?
Do you have enough down time for recharging your batteries? When you do have down time, are you choosing the right activities to give you a return of energy?
Everyone’s concept of sanity will vary based on their individual circumstances, values, and preferences. Some people need activities and social time to recharge. Some people, like me, prefer alone time with a good book instead.
Now it’s time to get to work. The Sanity Plan has two components. The first is a set of principles that help guide us toward a less complicated life. The principles are available for quick use when you don’t have time for a lengthy decision making process. The second is a set of 5 personalized goals for making improvements in your life.
I have created a list of 10 important principles, but feel free to modify the list to fit your needs. I’ll cover the first principle here, but you can join my Sanity Plan Principles series for a detailed discussion of each.
Be present is the first principle.
I chose this one to be first because I don’t believe that any of us can change without being conscious our lives in real time. How can I see what is not working in my life if I am on autopilot? How can I know why I am angry and irritable with my husband if I cannot slow down and ask myself right then? Am I hungry, am I tired, am I feeling disconnected from my friends, or am I frustrated about something unrelated at work? Or, is it a sore spot between he and I because I haven’t been honest with him about a particular issue?
Being in the moment is the key to making any changes. How can we change anything if we cannot see what it is that needs to change?
Next, we set some high level goals. For this, I recommend setting 5 because more than that could get overwhelming. Don’t worry if you have more, you can write down as many as you like, but DO choose the 5 most important ones to use for your Sanity Plan.
For me, I have a laundry list of things I want to do, work on, and change about myself. The sheer number can easily overwhelm and stall me into complete inactivity. So instead, I set the following goals to prioritize change in certain areas of my life:
- Work on improving the kids’ behavior (limit meltdowns, create better routines)
- Strengthen my relationship with my husband (date nights, consistent co-parenting)
- Make personal care a priority (sleep, exercise schedule, self-care plan)
- Create organizational habits and routines (conquer my clutter bug)
- Balance my work & creative projects with home life (create effective systems)
So far, we have established Principles and Goals for our Sanity Plan. Take time to consider both, and make sure that you have chosen areas that will make the biggest impact in your life.
The next step is all about taking action. Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will cover:
Setting Specific & Timely Goals
Reviewing Your Progress Regularly
I’m looking forward to helping you work on your Sanity Plan! Part of my mission on this journey is to connect with other people interested in finding and creating balance in their lives.
What is the biggest area of your life that you would like to improve?