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Make Your Bed!

You’ve heard the phrase, “Well you’ve made your bed, now lie in it.” This is usually said by someone with an “I told you so” tone in their voice while pointing out that you’ve made an unfortunate choice with associated unfortunate consequences which you now have to deal with. But could that bed you made have positive consequences instead?

Unmade bed

One of my clients was feeling like she just couldn’t get anything right. Nothing. No. Matter. What. Absolutely everything she touched turned to – you know. This woman was in a slump for sure and was so focused on pointing out her own flaws and foibles that I wondered how I could help her begin to take a fresh look at herself and her life. How could she find a starting place to feel better about life? And then a baby step came to me. I asked if she made her bed every day before work. She did not. I asked if she could start.

I had remembered hearing an inspiring graduation speech from Admiral William McRaven that I heard some years ago. Recalling his Navy SEAL training, the admiral spoke of making small changes that, gathered together and over time, could begin to change the world. Most of us aren’t particularly concerned about changing the world, but if not THE WORLD, well how about YOUR WORLD?

The idea is to begin with one small change that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Making your bed is a small task checked off your list first thing in the morning! This one thing can be the foundation for more accomplishments throughout your day. Building the habit of making your bed could lead to other habits that make you feel good. And if nothing else, even if you have a lousy day, at least you come home to a nicely made and welcoming bed!

So my client started making her bed. She found that she liked coming home to her neat bed. That led her to neaten up the rest of her bedroom too. Later she decided to wake up a few minutes earlier to make breakfast instead of skipping it, which led to starvation at mid-morning and grabbing whatever junk food she could find at the office. In time, her mood lightened, and she found other things about her life she could do a bit differently. She began to feel better in general about her world.

Curious to hear Admiral McRaven’s speech? Here is a short clip: Now go make your bed!

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