For the last couple of days, I’ve been working with a studio on a 2-minute commercial for a campaign. Every time we get an edit, I am amazed at how little touches here and there result in such a change in presentation. And trust me…we NEEDED those edits, mainly because I am the (reluctant) spokesperson in the commercial and I did not have a script, nor time to rehearse. But what people see in two minutes is the message–without the messups. Yup, yall can stay au naturale all you want. I am #teamfilter.
Most of us have made edits to our realities at some point in time–and they are necessary for growth and progress. Here are some of my life-filters that have changed how I operate:
1) Downsize Something
One of my best friend’s recently said this when she stayed at my crib for a week. Yes, you can have guests when you live in a studio lol. I have always had pretty spacious apartments, even as a New Yorker. And I think my studio is a pretty large one…but I must admit, I didn’t think so when I first saw it two years ago. I remember walking in with the broker, like I was Paris Hilton, on some “this ain’t enough” and “where is my stuff gonna fit,” or “hmmm…family isn’t gonna be able to visit” (my family rarely comes up, but I just needed another excuse). The broker simply said, “bring in what you need, and let that guide your decisions.” Instead of bringing everything here first, I put all my stuff in my storage and at my parent’s house and only brought what I needed for the season. Two years later, I still have bags of stuff in storage–things I had been carrying for God knows how long.
Making the decision to edit right at the begin of a new environment forced me to think hard about the baggage in my life, what I need, and what I had outgrown. So revisit some shoes, clothes, old letters, old phone numbers…and delete, delete, delete!
2) Start Your Day Off Listening to a Non-booty Shaking Tune
Look, Yonce can be your second song of the day. But it’s been my experience that just starting off with something that doesn’t almost make me fall in the shower helps frame my mind for the day. And it doesn’t have to be music. Start your day listening to a TEDTalks or even an inspirational YouTube, and I promise you’ll be inspired while brushing your teeth. Editing does not always mean “removing.” Sometimes it means “enhancing.” People who do different stuff, think differently. The below called “Dream” is the best “wake me up before I go go” pep talk. Check it out:
3) Give Yourself the “No Take Out Until I Finish What’s In My Fridge” Mission
I am the queen of takeout. But one day, as I tried to put my spring rolls in the fridge, I discovered I had very little room for real food. It was like my fridge was on some “no new friends” kick. So now, I have implemented the “finish what you got” challenge. I’ve done this one other time, and what has come from it were some really interesting (and probably healthier) dinner combinations. Cous cous with black beans and broccoli. Kale with cranberries and cheddar cheese. Or simply just making tea instead of paying $4 for a cappuccino at the corner cafe. This simple edit can lead to a domino effect of other self-improvements.
4) Challenge Yourself to One Thing for 30 days (and get a buddy)
Experts say it takes about four days for your body to develop a new appetite and about thirty days to develop a new habit. 30 day challenges feel good…for like five days. Then, you be like “I hope I didn’t pinky-swear that I would finish this!” But the truth is, we all like to finish what we started, even if the journey is difficult. In June, my 30 day challenge was a writing challenge: 30 minutes of writing for 30 days. I knew that if I did it alone, I would have days where I might slip, fall–never to return. So what did I do? Invited people to join me! And by the end of the month, 100+ writers were a part of the journey. Sure, there were days when travel or my workload made it difficult to stick to the challenge, but I was also accountable to others that wanted to see their writing goals accomplished. So I stuck to it. Identify something you’d like to improve or change, give yourself 30 days, and get a buddy!
Editing starts from viewing first: taking the time to go back and see the positives, and the negatives. Before we can change anything, we must have the power to confront it. At the end of the day, or week, or project, create some type of checklist of all the parts that worked well, and what you’d like to improve next time. Keep the “improvements list” on a post-it, and revisit it the next time you do a life check-in.