by Madeleine Arnold
Alright. It’s confession time. But before I own up, let me start by saying that I’ve always been a pretty organized person. I schedule out my day to the minute, I am a huge fan of to-do lists, I’ve always stayed on top of my schoolwork—I’ve always kept my life (mostly) in order. That being said, if you were to look at my room about 80% of the time when I was in high school, you would definitely not gather that! I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I also don’t think I’m alone here. When it came to my room and its cleanliness, I was stuck in a vicious cycle. I would often find my room in total disarray, so I would clean it, promising myself to not let it spiral again. Then I would have to choose what to wear…and well…you can imagine how that would go down. By the time I was dressed (for the final time) in the morning, half of my closet would be sprawled across my bed as a result of my indecisiveness. Cue the cleaning and the perpetuation of this terrible cycle.
Now, when I was moving out for college, I was very determined that I was going to keep my room clean. If not just for myself, I at least wanted to do it for my roommate. But with my previous habits, I was worried this was too tall an order. So, instead of overwhelming myself by setting the goal to be perfectly organized and immaculately tidy at all times, my roommate and I decided that we were going to commit to make our beds every single day. Most days we were good and made it when we first got up. A few days we made it after class in the late afternoon. I’ll admit that once I even made it minutes before bed just to keep my perfect streak. It counts. I can proudly say that my roommate and I haven’t missed a day since since we moved in!
Let me tell you some of the benefits that I’ve seen since I made this seemingly small change. While I’m not claiming my room is always spotless, I have kept it much tidier. I stick to my morning and nightly routines so much better. I’m more consistent in my commitment to pray each morning. I feel less stressed when I come home to a made bed, and as a result, my productivity levels have increased. I start my day off on the right foot with a feeling of accomplishment.
In his commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin, Admiral William H. McRaven shared some tips to success. One of his keys? You guessed it: make your bed. He said, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter.” He then boldly stated, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Why am I telling you this? To me, this principle is about a lot more than simply pulling up my sheets and arranging my pillows. It’s about the importance of good habits and making small “course corrections” in life when necessary. Just a few months ago, I wasn’t thrilled with my habits, so I decided to make this little change. By doing so, I’m that much closer to being my best, most responsible self. Remember— there is power in the little choices.
So….. let me be your mom for just a second and say, “GO MAKE YOUR BED!” Because after all, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Lots of love,