Say ‘Yes’ to Cooking

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When you say yes to something you’re really just saying no to everything else.

Read that again, because its really important to understand.

It might not be a concept you’ve heard before but it really is such a simple concept that can help us to do more in our daily lives. Yet I’m sure so many of us don’t really realise that’s what we’re doing when we agree to do so many things. This point seems to have been drummed into me quite well recently by several different sources and I wanted to share this new knowledge with you. It’s especially important for me to share this with you if you’re someone who feels like they have to say yes to everything and don’t feel like you’ve got any time for yourself. Hopefully this post can change things for you.

Recently I read a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. They talk about another really simple concept called the one thing, and I’m sharing it with you today because I think it relates well to cooking and eating food you make yourself. It also goes hand in hand with saying yes is really saying no to everything else.

The main premise of The One Thing is that you need to do one thing at a time so that you can actually get more done. How is that even possible? By making sure that the one thing you choose to do has the most benefit to you – essentially by choosing to do only this one thing all the other millions of things you think you need to do should become less pressing or irrelevant. It means that you’re really choosing to do something that will further your goals rather than just doing everything you think you need to do. And sometimes by following that goal orientated action you’ll eliminate the need to do so many of those things that take up your time.

It’s a great concept, and it can be applied to many areas of your life – cooking being one of them. You can have the one thing you need to do for looking after yourself, the one thing to help your marriage, the one thing to help you succeed at work, the one thing to do during exercise, the one thing to do with your kids, etc. It does become a little tricky though to make sure you can still only do one thing when you are trying to be a wife/husband, daughter/son, mother/father, employee/colleague, take care of yourself and do all the other things you need to do. So really, its a juggling process between all the one things you need to do, but at least doing 8 one things is better than doing 100 useless things, right?

But there is a way to do it: plan in blocks of dedicated time to do certain “one things” – and this is where it relates back to the saying yes is really saying no. Your one things are what you say yes to while you’re saying no to the other useless things that don’t really need your attention, or don’t need it now. Now, if you’re thinking this sounds hard, I want to share some of the experimenting I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. I’ve been choosing to block out 2-3 hours on a Sunday afternoon to do some food preparation for the coming week (I’ve done a couple tweets about them already if you follow my Twitter feed). Those 2-3 hours actually saves me time during the week because I have some or all of my meal prepared ahead, and it makes cooking mid-week much faster than it used to be. It also saves me money because I’m not spending money on takeaways for lunch when I have nothing to take to work.

And you know what else? This simple one thing is helping me to realise my own health goals. I’m eating better because the meals are prepared. I’m eating the right foods because they’ve become just as easy to eat as takeaway would be to go and get (actually, it’s easier than going out into the cold nights and spending time parking and talking to grumpy take away workers!). It also means I have extra energy to work out at the gym so my gym sessions are getting more energetic than they were.

So, time blocking this one thing really isn’t too bad after all. And its eliminated the need to spend time chopping and preparing on Mondays through Thursdays. I feel like I’m getting to spend more time with my husband and more time on my passion projects. Its made a world of difference to my mental health and I’m feeling really positive each week.

How can you implement the one thing?

Well, it all comes back to my opening statement. I choose to say yes to food preparation on Sunday afternoons, which means I’m saying no to spending time with my husband or friends, no to TV and even no to blog writing and preparation. But in return for this focused time I am getting so much more out of my week that those 2-3 hours of me saying no actually equates to a week full of more yeses. I can do more blog writing and preparation, spend more time on me like painting my nails and shaving my legs (you know, all those girly things that get left off when we get busy).

If you want to become someone who cooks for themselves and others, and if you want to cook so you know you’re eating well, then you need to schedule in some time to cook. You need to make some time – say yes – to practicing those essential skills you need to be able to make that dream come true.

Recently I wrote about creating some Saturday cooking sessions, and how these helped me to learn to cook. Those focused sessions were what I said yes to and it made my skills increase beyond my wildest expectations. So if you want to learn to cook, expand your skills and become the type of person you image you can be, then you need to find the right thing to say yes to. And realise that saying no is okay, and often we can’t progress (in cooking or in life) if we don’t say a few no’s.

Here’s a few ideas

Say yes to cooking by:

  • Arranging for the kids to spend some time with friends/family or their grandparents so you can cook uninterrupted.
  • Blocking out 2-3 hours on Sunday nights (or whatever day/night works for you) for food preparation (it can be as simple as chopping a few vegetables ahead or as involved as cooking the entire weeks’ worth of meals – or somewhere in between).
  • Making a menu plan – make it for a week, a month or even 6 months if that works for you.
  • Batch cooking some meals – therefore you expend effort once and can have time for other things on other days.
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it when you go on your weekly shop – and only shop once a week.
  • Make your own convenience meals rather than buying them.
  • Delegate a few chores to other family members.
  • Make cooking fun and get the kids involved. And then make kitchen cleaning fun too.
  • Giving others responsibility to make decisions on other things – for instance, you don’t have to supervise the bathroom cleaning or the vacuuming, you can just let someone else do it their own way so you can focus on cooking.
  • Invest in a crockpot/slow cooker and do all your meals in there.

Hopefully this small list will give you some great ideas on how to start saying yes to cooking. Remember, when you do say yes to cooking you are prioritising your one thing and its that one thing that will get you closer to your goals.

Happy cooking this week!

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