Marketers love babies. They also love weddings, divorces, graduations, retirements and first homes. That’s because major life events are some of the few times when people change their consumption patterns in extreme ways. Johnny’s first job? Swap out the Axe for Armani Code. First home? Someone’s about to spend a lot of money at Crate & Barrel. Baby on the way? Marketers everywhere just started salivating.
B-school is one of those major life events, but it doesn’t just have to be a bonanza for marketers. You’ve got two years of “careerus interruptus” to make profound changes in your habits that you always intended to make but never got around to. Start exercising more. Take up a new hobby. Change your eating habits. Now is the time!
As a second year on the downhill slide to graduation, I understand that I’m giving this advice from a place of relative leisure. There are now WHOLE DAYS when I don’t do anything related to school! But I think you can start making little changes no matter how busy you are. Set aside an hour on Sundays to make some home-cooked meals for the week. Meditate for 5 minutes before bed. Get up 30 minutes early to fit in a workout.
My resolution this year (I won’t call it a New Year’s resolution because no one keeps those) was to make myself healthier by exercising more and eating better. It’s been painful at times, but I know it would have been even more painful, if not impossible, if I’d tried to make those same changes while working full time. I used my Spring Break to get rid of possessions that don’t bring me joy. I started working out 4-5 days a week, taking advantage of days when I don’t have morning classes. I also came to terms with my junkie-level sweet tooth, and about two weeks ago I dropped sweets from my diet altogether. My goal is not to avoid baked goods for the rest of my life, but I wanted to form the habit now, before I start a job where I’ll have access to free food all day long.
Changing habits is hard, but here are some resources that have worked for me:
- Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project and Better Than Before, has an awesome blog about how to maximize happiness in your life through habits. Take her quiz to find out which of the Four Tendencies applies to you (I’m an Upholder), which will help you figure out what habit-changing strategies will be most effective.
- For help purging your life of things that don’t bring you joy, I highly recommend The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo. If you can get past the “fluffier” parts of her recommendations, it’s a really refreshing and holistic approach to cleaning out. My apartment (and its inhabitants) are much happier!
- For iOS users, the Balanced app is a great way to motivate and reward yourself while you’re forming your healthy new habits.
- Keep a journal. I write down every workout including duration, reps, distance, etc. so I can see my progress. You could do the same for food, sleep, yoga, blogging…you name it.
What habits would you like to change?