Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Skills Boot Camp- Establishing a routine that will change your life

I'm revamping this post for the Thrifty Thursday link up at Living Well, Spending Less which you can find here.

A few months ago, I was asked by a close friend to help him get his life in order. Since I had known him for years, I could easily identify the things that were keeping him from being happy. ANYONE can go through this process for themselves though and make a boot camp schedule for one month to change their life. It takes 28 days to establish a routine.

The weaknesses that I identified in his program are as follows:
(Keep in mind- You need to be brutal here- I happen to adore this friend, but I'm not going to help him by telling him he has no problems. Be just as hard on yourself)

1. Lack of appreciation for money and what it can do. Failure to prioritize his financial wants.
2. Addiction to XBOX games, and online friends. He would stay up until 5 or 6 in the morning playing online with his friends and sleep all day. If he needed to take the night off to do something, his online friends would give him a hard time and pressure him to cancel to play.
3. Disorganization that creates hardship, i.e Can't cook because he hasn't done dishes, or grocery shopping.
4. Lack of motivation to go to the gym.
5. Feelings of failure, lack of accomplishments.
6.  Working so much overtime that his life consisted solely of XBOX and work, yet his poor life choices were creating an endless cycle where he still has no savings.
7. Alienation, or lack of a social circle. (except me and my husband, obviously).

*Many of these things impact each other, the solutions work in the same way. Most people fail at implementing a program because they try to implement only one change and don't understand that several things that interact need to change at once in order to be effective. (i.e- you can't cook regularly, if you haven't established a routine to do dish washing, a routine to do grocery shopping, and a routine to plan menu's.)

This is the BOOT CAMP Schedule that I designed specifically for him. Each week has goals to focus on, and each day has routines to establish.


XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX’s Schedule and Life Plan Program.

Week 1:

(Thursday April 26th- Saturday April 28th 2012)

Preparation Week

Most Important Rule: When your chores are done. Stop. Don’t do anything extra. You need your rest and fun.

This week’s Goals:

Eliminate Work zones: You cannot possibly have a workable routine without a consistent sleep schedule. The stress that this puts on your body can take 10 years off your life. By Working HOV 3 days a week, you will yield much better results for your sleep habits. In addition, it will provide 36 hours of consistent overtime in dependable checks.  (This is the equivalent to 4 and a half work zones.) As a bonus, by having consistent overtime checks, you eliminate the urge to go “blow” money because you have such a huge windfall on a particular week.

Establish a Wal-Mart: Often our routines and programs get interrupted when we have last minutes tasks that need to be completed. Often these are things that we lacked the forethought to plan for ahead of time. For instance, you plan to go to the gym on a Wednesday morning, but you’re out of dog food- You obviously can’t ignore that so you go to Wal-Mart instead. Establish an area in your home (preferably a closet, but even a corner will do where you stack all essentials (Things that you will always need.) A basic Wal-Mart will include: Paper towels, toilet paper, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dog food, body wash, shampoo and conditioner, razors, shaving gel, bottled water, laundry detergent, dish washing liquid. If there is something that you notice you use consistently, add it to your Wal-Mart list. You want to have 6 months of products stored in your Wal-Mart. This will cost about 200 for your initial stock up. Spend this money, even if you have to put it on a credit card. You will save time, giving yourself the jump start to begin your routines, and money from buying things at Wal-Mart for the lower prices rather than a grocery store, you also save money by not going to Wal-Mart 10 times in the next 6 months and picking up “extras” while you’re there.



Establish a Schedule Book: While you’re at Wal-Mart (or go to staples while you’re on duty), purchase a large DAILY schedule planner. Choose one with a significant amount of room to record daily events. When we establish your schedule, write down much more than just appointments and work schedule, write down what dinner is, what your chores are, Reminders for upcoming events (For instance if you have a birthday party on Saturday, leave a note in your schedule book a week ahead to order something from amazon to avoid the 2 hours it would take to go out and find a present.), you’re weight on a weekly basis, and gym time.  Take this book with you everywhere. Work, home, gym etc. If I were you, I would find a Jansport book bag (let me know if you need one- we have extras), that you can sling over your shoulder and take with you places, it can be your gym bag, work bag, home bag etc. You can leave your schedule and wallet in there.



Ignore Perfection: Trying to do things “right” and “perfect” is your biggest hindrance at this stage. Do the task on the list any way that it gets done. Don’t spend an hour on it. Just do it quickly and move on. Your life will shape up slowly and gradually over time (you’ll notice a ridiculous difference in about two weeks and you won’t even recognize yourself in 6 months). A perfect example of this is the gym. We say, I can’t go to the gym today, I have to be to work in an hour and a half, I won’t have time to get anything done there. But, if we went outside and walked for 30 minutes, everyday instead of trying to get to the gym to “do it right”, we’d be skinny right nowJ Don’t bother doing it right, just do it.


Establish the basis of home routines: There are only two things that make your home and life run smoothly. They are the basis of everything that you do, and when these routines are established they will positively affect your health, your weight, your social life and your attitude. Laundry and Dishes. If you can keep on top of those, your life will improve dramatically almost instantly. By “resetting” both the dishwasher and the washing machine once a day, you will be caught up in a few days and you will never be behind again. Don’t do more than one load a day. EVER. Do your one load, and then move on.  With laundry, establish different baskets (piles on the floor would even work in the beginning), one for whites, one for darks, and one for towels; rotate through the piles each day. When we don’t have the clothes we need clean (gym clothes, uniform socks, awesome “going out” clothes that fit.), we tend to just not do that activity so we can “catch up”. When we don’t have the dishes clean that we need to cook, we tend to order in or eat out because while we might have the energy to cook for 15 minutes, we don’t have the energy or the patience to put away the dishes, load the dishwasher, wait an hour, and unload the dishwasher and then cook. By establishing a routine in these two areas, you immediately have a load off your back (literally!), if your apartment isn’t dusted and clean it honestly doesn’t matter as long as you have the things you need to live your life.

The Gym: Find time for basic exercise. A little gym is better than no gym. For the first three weeks, go to the gym room at your apartment complex. This is easy and convenient. All you really need is a treadmill and some basic weights.



Thursday April 26th:

·         (Work zone night before) Get off of work at 0530, home by 0600. In bed right away. This is the last overnight you sign up for, if you have pending overtime (hotlanes or workzones, attempt to find someone that will want to take it. After you get back from the academy, we’ll begin working HOV). Wake up at 2pm.

·         Shower and get dressed, put on sneakers.

·         Have breakfast- whatever you can find in the house- ravioli, lean cuisine, whatever.

·         Switch the laundry (put away whatever is in the dryer, put the stuff in the machine in the dryer, start a new load of whatever you have the most of. ), if you don’t already have established piles, start them now. 

·         Empty out the dishwasher, put in a new load and start the dishes.

·         Head to Wal-Mart with the above check list, pick up those items (don’t forget your schedule!).

·         Stop by and grab lunch somewhere (assuming you don’t have stuff at home). Try for chickfila- Don’t stuff yourself.

·         When you get home, establish your Wal-Mart corner; pile everything neatly in a corner. (We’ll organize this later; right now you just need to have it at home.

·         Head straight out to the community center Gym, Run for 30 minutes (if you need to walk fine- just do the best you can for that 30 minutes). Then do 3 sets of curls with dumbbells, sit ups and pushups.

·         Eat dinner. (either at home or out- don’t overdo it.)

·         Your done- don’t do another task or chore around the house. Battlefield, bubble bath, read, whatever floats your boat. Come visit us if you’re bored. It should be about 8 or 9 pm now. You have nothing to do and you should be really really proud of yourself.

·         At around 3pm, head to bed to read. You don’t have to sleep if you’re not tired, but stay in bed until you do sleep. Set your alarm for 11 am, regardless of what time you fall asleep.

Friday April 27th 2012:

11am: Wake up. Today is going to suck because you’re exhausted. I get that, but power through today and you’ll never feel like this again. Shower and get dressed, Put on sneakers.

·         Breakfast- find something in the house, anything. Can of beans? Can of peaches. Whatever. Get some sort of food into your system.

·         Switch your laundry and put away what was in the dryer.

·         Empty and reload the dishwasher (even if there’s only 6 dishes, it’s better to wash those 6 dishes and have a clean sink, the less dishes your putting through the better.)

·         Head straight out to the community gym. Run for 30 min. 3 sets dumbbell curls, sit-ups and pushups.

·         If you have food at home- head home for lunch, if not head to the grocery store, sit at the deli and eat a sub and macaroni salad or whatever, then pick up a box of cereal, milk, and about 7 TV dinner’s. These are for this weekend. If you’re still hungry after one, eat two.

·         Sit down and take your schedule book out, copy your schedule down as well as the chores listed in here (keep it simple. Laundry, dishes. Dress. Breakfast, etc.) As you copy down appointments or events in the future, think about if it requires forethought, vacations require packing and tickets, fueling up truck etc. Whatever the event requires list a reminder on an appropriate date to do that as well. Cross stuff off as you do them and when you did everything in a day, mark it in a special way, smiley face or whatever.

·         Do something you love, hang out with the XXXXXXX’s, watch a movie, go make a “wish list” of the things you want to buy most, play battlefield etc. You’re done for the day.

·         Head to bed to read at 1am, don’t force yourself to sleep if you’re not tired, just read until you fall asleep. Set your alarm for 9am and wake up regardless of how you feel.

Saturday April 28th 2012:

·         Shower and dress, put on sneakers.

·         Have breakfast

·         Switch the laundry.

·         Reset the dishwasher.

·          Head out to the community center gym. Run 30 minutes, 3 sets of curls with dumbbell, sit ups and push-ups.

·         Set your phone timer for 30 minutes. Grab a trash bag or a box, Label it “Too small”, Go through your closet and pull down everything that you wouldn’t want to wear out right now and stuff it in the bag. When the timer goes off, put that bag in a corner of your closet or in a spare bedroom. Is there anything obviously missing from your closet? Enough underwear that fits? Do you only have 2 pairs of gyms shorts etc.? Write that in a note in your schedule book for next Saturday.

·         Have some lunch and spend about 20 minutes chilling out.

·         Set your timer for 15 minutes. Clean your bedroom. When the timers done. Stop.

·         Relax for the rest of the day. When you have dinner, bag up the trash (Even if it’s not full and bring it out to the dumpster- Your establishing Saturday and Tuesday as your Garbage Days.).

·         Bedtime tonight at 12 am, Read in bed if you’re not tired. Set your alarm clock for 8am.

Sunday April 29th 2012:

·         Wake up at 8am. Shower, Dress and put on sneakers.

·         Have breakfast.

·         Switch the laundry.

·         Reset the dishwasher.

·         Head out to the community center gym. Run for 30 minutes. 3 sets of curls with dumbbells, sit-ups, pushups.

·         Set your Academy clothes out for tomorrow. Include a bottle of water, your wallet, anything that you need to bring with you to the Academy. Also pack socks, sneakers, gym shorts, underwear, and a tee shirt.

·         Have some lunch.

·         Set your Timer for 15 minutes. Clean up the Kitchen.

·         Set your timer for 15 minutes. Clean up the living room.

·         Sit down and write me an email – XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX@gmail.com listing 3 activities that are done in classes that you would like to do or learn. (I.e. Ballroom dancing, cooking, baking, triathlon, marathon, painting, first time home buyers, welding etc.) Don’t worry about the cost. I’m on top of that.

·         Relax and do what you want to do – If you want to come Bowling with us, let me know. The rest of the day is yours!

·         At around 11pm, head to bed, read until you fall asleep. Set your alarm clock for 5am.







Week 2:

(Monday April 30th- Sunday May 6th 2012)

Routine Week







Week 2 Goals-

Think about Budgeting: This is a several step process. You won’t do this all at the same time! Create a budget book that simply lists your bills, amounts and due dates. Take a look at the finished budget and think outside the box to reduce that amount. Even if you don’t feel it’s something you would do. For instance, replace cable with HULU and Netflix, reduce your cell phone plan, refinancing your truck, getting a debt consolidation loan (Don’t do this without talking to me- this is a last resort), cancelling services that you don’t need, selling your truck and buying a fuel efficient four door sedan. Create an action plan that lists which companies you need to call and what to find out (include phone numbers and your account numbers. Establish a minimum savings account and determine where you will keep that money. If you still find yourself using your debit card to make unnecessary purchases, then switch to cash only.

Establish a Meal Plan: Whether it be the freezer meal plan that I use, or a food plan based on convenience. Develop a weeks’ worth of menu’s and a shopping list to go with those. If you find yourself overwhelmed at this point, stick with TV dinners, eat two for each meal. I’ll include a copy of my freezer meal program in this as well to see if that’s something you would like. That program would provide excellent health and is extremely cost effective. Now that you have your dishes squared away, it’s nothing to whip up a quick meal.

Library: This week, we’re focusing on our budget and we’re looking at alternate sources for what we would normally spend money on. The library is the best example of this. This week, we’ll go to the Prince William Library and get a (free) library card, you can pick out a book while you’re there if you want, but honestly it’s not worth the effort. When you get home, log on to www.pwcgov.org/government/dept/library/pages, and open amazon in another tab. Search through amazon and make a wish list of books you want to read (the library has EVERYTHING!), go ahead and click on star trek, star wars, whatever floats your boat. Then switch back to the library and reserve each book. The library will gather those books up for you, send you an email that they’re ready to be picked up, and give you two weeks to get them before they give up on you. Take out 3 at a time, if you haven’t finished reading them, just renew online. When you go to drop your old ones off, pick up your new ones. You may want to keep a shopping bag on the back of your bedroom door to hold library books so you can just grab it and go.

Multivitamin: This week, we’re establishing a bedtime routine of taking a multivitamin. You’re about to be a bad ass, XXXX XXXXXXXX, and bad asses take their vitaminsJ Pick up a daily multivitamin (or gummies if you don’t like the pills- XXX takes the adult gummies, they are just as good as the pill, just tastier) while you’re at work and leave it at your bedside table. When you lay down at night to read, pop a vitamin.

Thrift Store: This week, we’re concentrating on areas that will reduce our living expenses and increase our quality of life. When we went through and culled our closet last week, we may have noticed some areas where we’re lacking. Jeans, Tee shirts, polo shirts for the academy, gym shorts whatever. We’re taking 20.00 and our list of needs to the Unique Thrift Store at 2950 Gallows Road Falls Church, Virginia 22042. You’ll be impressed, I promise. Everything is organized by size, so let’s say you’re a 2XL- rather than going to a Big and Tall Men’s store and seeing the 10 button down shirts they have to offer, you go to Unique’s 2XL selection and you get a wide range of clothing from many different retailers all for about 3-4 dollars. I caution though: Don’t go overboard, just buy what’s on the list, You’re about to start dropping sizes quickly.

Monday, April 30th 2012:

·         Wake up at 6am, shower and get dressed. Have a bowl of cereal.

·         Leave for the academy at 0630.

·         Class at 8.

·         Eat lunch at the academy- It’s free and nutritiously balanced. I promise you it’s better for you then whatever you were planning to go out to eat.

·         Class ends at 5.

·         Stay for dinner!

·          Go to the academy gym, switch into your gym clothes (as a bonus- this will be much more fun to drive back in!)

·         Run for 40 minutes. Sit ups, push-ups, curls. (This actually saves you a lot of time- You won’t want to go to gym after sitting in car for an hour and a half and you shorten your ride by waiting until after traffic clears out to leave.), By staying an extra hour, you arrive home only a half hour after you would have if you had left right away. (I did this all the time when I taught firearms.)

·         Drive back.

·         Switch laundry

·         Reset dishwasher

·         Relax

·         Head to bed at 10pm, read until you fall asleep. Set your alarm for 6am.

Tuesday May 1st 2012:

·         Wake up at 6am, shower and get dressed. Have a bowl of cereal.

·         Leave for the academy at 0630, Take the Trash out with you as you go.

·         Class at 8.

·         Eat lunch at the academy- It’s free and nutritiously balanced. I promise you it’s better for you then whatever you were planning to go out to eat.

·         Class ends at 5.

·         Stay for dinner!

·          Go to the gym, switch into your gym clothes (as a bonus- this will be much more fun to drive back in!)

·         Run for 40 minutes. Sit ups, push-ups, curls. (This actually saves you a lot of time- You won’t want to go to gym after sitting in car for an hour and a half and you shorten your ride by waiting until after traffic clears out to leave.), By staying an extra hour, you arrive home only a half hour after you would have if you had left right away. (I did this all the time when I taught firearms.)

·         Drive back.

·         Switch laundry

·         Reset dishwasher

·         Relax

·         Head to bed at 10pm, read until you fall asleep. Set your alarm for 6am.

Wednesday May 2nd 2012:

·         Wake up at 6am, shower and get dressed. Have a bowl of cereal.

·         Leave for the academy at 0630.

·         Class at 8.

·         Eat lunch at the academy- It’s free and nutritiously balanced. I promise you it’s better for you then whatever you were planning to go out to eat.

·         Class ends at 5.

·         Stay for dinner!

·          Go to the gym, switch into your gym clothes (as a bonus- this will be much more fun to drive back in!)

·         Run for 40 minutes. Sit ups, push-ups, curls. (This actually saves you a lot of time- You won’t want to go to gym after sitting in car for an hour and a half and you shorten your ride by waiting until after traffic clears out to leave.), By staying an extra hour, you arrive home only a half hour after you would have if you had left right away. (I did this all the time when I taught firearms.)

·         Drive back.

·         Switch laundry

·         Reset dishwasher

·         Relax

·         Head to bed at 10pm, read until you fall asleep. Set your alarm for 6am.

Thursday May 3rd 2012:

·         Wake up at 6am, shower and get dressed. Have a bowl of cereal.

·         Leave for the academy at 0630.

·         Class at 8.

·         Eat lunch at the academy- It’s free and nutritiously balanced. I promise you it’s better for you then whatever you were planning to go out to eat.

·         Class ends at 5.

·         Stay for dinner!

·          Go to the gym, switch into your gym clothes (as a bonus- this will be much more fun to drive back in!)

·         Run for 40 minutes. Sit ups, push-ups, curls. (This actually saves you a lot of time- You won’t want to go to gym after sitting in car for an hour and a half and you shorten your ride by waiting until after traffic clears out to leave.), By staying an extra hour, you arrive home only a half hour after you would have if you had left right away. (I did this all the time when I taught firearms.)

·         Drive back.

·         Switch laundry

·         Reset dishwasher

·         Relax

·         Head to bed at 10pm, read until you fall asleep. Set your alarm for 6am.

Friday May 4th 2012:

·         Wake up at 6am, shower and get dressed. Have a bowl of cereal.

·         Leave for the academy at 0630.

·         Class at 8.

·         Eat lunch at the academy- It’s free and nutritiously balanced. I promise you it’s better for you then whatever you were planning to go out and eat.

·         Class ends at 5.

·         Stay for dinner!

·          Go to the gym, switch into your gym clothes (as a bonus- this will be much more fun to drive back in!)

·         Run for 40 minutes. Sit ups, push-ups, curls. (This actually saves you a lot of time- You won’t want to go to gym after sitting in car for an hour and a half and you shorten your ride by waiting until after traffic clears out to leave.), By staying an extra hour, you arrive home only a half hour after you would have if you had left right away. (I did this all the time when I taught firearms.)

·         Drive back.

·         Switch laundry

·         Reset dishwasher

·         Relax

·         Head to bed at 12pm, read until you fall asleep. Set your alarm for 8am.

Saturday May 5th 2012:

·         Wake up and get dressed.

·         Have breakfast.

·         Switch Laundry.

·         Reset Dishwasher.

·         Head to Gym – 40 minutes running, 3 sets of dumbbells, pushups, and sit ups.

·         Decide what you want to do for a meal plan, since you’ve got a lot on your plate right now, I would suggest sticking with the TV dinner’s for this week, since next week you start Day Shift and that’s a lot more conducive to cooking. TV Dinners aren’t the healthiest thing in the world, but you have to think about the way you have been eating and realizing that it’s a big step up. Make a simple grocery list and include milk and cereal for breakfast. Add a multivitamin to your grocery list if you haven’t picked it up at work already.

·         Eat Lunch at Home.

·         Head to the Library and sign up for a library card. If you want to browse for a book, go ahead, but if you don’t have time- skip it. We’ll reserve specific books online. Let them do the work for us!

·         Head to the grocery store and pick up your grocery list. Make a rule: I’m only allowed to buy 3 things that aren’t on my list. Use those 3 things wisely. (I suggest butterfingers, just saying- you deserve it at this point.)

·         Put your groceries away, set the timer for 15 minutes and toss out anything in the fridge that’s old.

·         Take the trash out.

·         Relax for the rest of the night, Battlefield here you come!

·         Head to bed at 11 pm, and read until you fall asleep. Take your vitamin. Set your alarm clock for 8am.

Sunday May 6th 2012:

·         8am : Wake up, shower, get dressed and put on sneakers.

·         Breakfast.

·         Switch laundry.

·         Reset dishwasher.

·         Head to the gym – 40 minutes running, sit ups, push-ups, 3 sets of dumbbell curls.

·         Sit down with a pencil, a notebook (or sheet of paper if that’s all you have), and a computer. Write down every bill that you have. List the name, the amount owed (both monthly and in total if it’s a debt – In cases of variable bills like electricity, list a common amount), a contact number for the company, and your account number. If it’s a credit card, write down your APR. If you have overdue bills, without enough money to pay them make a separate sheet of those bills and label EMERGENCY on the top. Call everyone on your emergency list and advise them that you have gotten behind and you will be clearing up your account within 30 days (as long as the amount isn’t astronomical- like 800.00 dollars). They won’t give you a hard time. Most people who are late on payments avoid the company like the plague; they will appreciate your honesty.

·         Have lunch.

·         Head into your closet and make a short list of clothing that you need. (Keeping in mind you’ll drop sizes in about a month), I’m guessing by now you really wish you had a few more pairs of gym shorts. Write that list in the schedule under Thursday the 10th of May, because that’s the day that you’ll head to unique Thrift Store.

·         You’re already showered and dressed, so relax until 12:45pm, then throw your uniform on and head into work.

·         Come home by 10:45.

·         Relax until midnight, then head to bed and read until you fall asleep.



Week 3 Goals:

Establish an HOV schedule

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule

Advanced scheduling – Doctors’ appointments, Dentists, Katanah’s shots, Grocery trips, Wal-Mart stock ups

Budget refinement – Identifying weak points

Continuing Education/Social Life

HULU/NETFLIX Organizing



Week 4 Goals:

Budget Refinement: Looking ahead (Vacations, Large Purchases etc.)

5 comments:

  1. I love this post. I can't wait to read more!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad you liked it Cara! So did he- He's lost almost 20 pounds so far!

    ReplyDelete
  3. your blog is so freaking awesome! makes me want to get started...with it all!!! Organizing, budgeting, meal planning, etc! :) thanks so much

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to help Mrs. K! FlyLady got me started down this path about 6 years ago and I never stopped. I just wished they would have taught me these things in school, I could have saved myself 10 years of floundering:)

      Delete
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