The Three Jar Method

Today I had a table at The Baby Bash and Toddler Jam put on by Toybrary Austin . I got to have some extremely powerful interactions with mamas who needed some help finding simple  ways to incorporate fitness, positive nutrition choices, and time for self-care into their ever-changing lives. One of the things that I brought with me today was the implements to employ the basics of the Three Jar Method. Here's what it is, and how you can use it to set simple wellness plans for the week ahead:

Gather three jars (I like pretty mason jars, but you can use whatever you like.) Label the jars: activity, nutrition, and self-care.* Think of things in each category that would be tolerable challenges, and write them on strips of paper to put in the jars. At the end of the week you'll draw one from each jar, and those become your focal points for the week coming up.  For example, you may pull 20 push ups, add in one serving of vegetables every day, and take 5 minutes to reflect on what's awesome about my life right now. Every day you'd do 20 push ups. Every day you'd add in one serving of veggies. And every day you'd breathe in the goodness of something special you've got going on in the moment.

At the end of the week you can pull three more from the jars, or continue on the path you're on. Maybe it's working really well, and you want to keep going. Maybe you haven't quite gotten there yet, and you want to keep trying. The point is having the jars full of things that will add to your quality of life, so that no matter what you pick, you'll be doing good things. And you'll know that they will only last for those seven days, so you will avoid ruts and find out quickly what are the hard things and what things flow in seamlessly. And if you're keeping a journal (which I recommend) you can keep a detailed account of where you've been.  And eventually, maybe you won't even need the jars to help you set goals. Or maybe you'll love them always.

*Wicked awesome upgrades:

Customize the categories of the jars. (Especially if you're just starting out, be sure that one is for activities/movement, one is for nutrition/food, and one is for self-care/mental health. When you're operating within those categories, you've got a lot of bases covered for a comprehensive wellness plan. If you've got an area that's operating pretty well, you can experiment with other things.)

Use one jar for daily, one for weekly, and one for monthly goals.

Make the three jars things that everyone can do together as a family. In addition, each family member gets a jar in which they keep cool stuff they think they want to try, know they should be doing, etc. Then in addition to the three main goals, each person has their personal agenda item to attend to as well.

Incorporate the Three Jar Method into other areas of your life, like organizing your house, tackling business tasks, or working on a to-do list.

Get the kids involved by having three jars for each child, with everything from chores to personal hygiene items.

You know that goal setting is important. You know that there are things that you want to and should be doing, but figuring out which comes first can be kind of overwhelming. The Three Jar Method helps to make the goal setting process a little less stressful, a little more fun, and a lot more effective. Again, even if it seems counter-productive to select things at random, or only require one week of dedication to any one thing, consider what you're doing at a macro level: you're spending conscious time, every week, on movement, nutrition, and self-care. That's amazing. And sometimes...that's all we can do.

Here's a free printable of some strips to put in your jars to get them started. It's in word, so you can edit at will to customize for injuries, or personal goals you're very interested in focusing on.

Please let me know how you're using the Three Jar Method to reach your goals!