Christmas cocoa

New Year's resolutions

Thank you so much to everyone who sent me holiday cards! ♥ I got another batch of them in the mail today ... probably the last ones (the overseas ones). They all look lovely above my desk and I'll probably leave them up for awhile, because I was gone for the last half of December so I didn't really get to enjoy them until now!

New Year's ... I don't exactly do resolutions as such, but it's more like, I make plans, and I came up with something last year that I'm going to keep doing this year. The year before that, I actually got one of my self-improvement ideas to stick by doing a couple of specific things, which I'll get to in a minute, and last year I couldn't decide what I had strong enough feelings about to focus on for the entire year, so I decided to pick one thing each month and do it all month, and then if I liked it enough to keep doing it, I would. This actually turned out to be a great idea, because it meant I got to try out different habits and find out if they worked with my lifestyle -- a month is not a terribly long commitment, and I also gave myself permission to drop it if I wasn't having fun (I only made it about a week and a half into "paint every day" and not even that far into "exercise every day before breakfast", for example). On the other hand, a few of them, like closing all my browser tabs at the end of every day or my current writing schedule, are things that worked out so well I've just added them to my standard routine.

Basically, the way I'm doing these is that it's not just anything, it's got to be something I can make a habit out of. Supposedly a month is how long it takes for a habit to "set". (Or, I've discovered, it's enough time to give a habit a try and find out it's not going to work.) So it's got to be either something I do every day, or something I do regularly enough that I can establish it as a habit (e.g. my writing schedule starts on Monday and goes 'til I've written through my weekly word count goal, which apparently was regular enough to work; the clock starts over every Monday).

So it's got to be concrete enough to be able to be turned into a habit - not just "learn some French", but "spend 20 minutes after breakfast every day doing French practice on Duolingo". It's got to be something relatively sane - I was going to say "easy", but my writing schedule is actually pretty tough; it is, however, something that I knew from past experience I could do without straining myself too much (I don't think it would've worked if I'd started out with "write 10,000 words a day", even though I'm theoretically capable of it). It's got to be something that doesn't break anything I like in my existing schedule; that's why the exercise one didn't take, because I like to wake up gradually, eat breakfast while checking my email and social media first thing in the morning, and trying to not do that didn't work (I might try again with a mid-morning workout after I finish my first writing session, which I think would work better for me). I've also got to give myself a few built-in "outs" so I can skip some days without breaking my habit; it's important to build a few days off into the design of whatever it is.

This month's habit is just "get up early and do a writing session in the morning." With the option of sleeping in a day or two a week if I want to. Mainly I'd like to stop sleeping in quite so much and be more productive in the morning. So we'll see how that goes.

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That's a good way to plan it (me, I do a fine vague wave of the hand and a "sometime..." but I don't work Mondays any more so surely I can write then!)

Edited at 2018-01-03 09:07 am (UTC)
I've never really done it in such an organized fashion until recently, but I'm happy with how it's going!
That all sounds sensible and doable! Not that I have set any resolutions this year, other than to maybe try to read more books, but even that's not a 'must do' more or 'might do' sort of thing! Maybe I need to schedule an extra reading session in the day for a month and see how it goes? *thinks*
Setting up "resolutions" a month at a time makes it feel very doable, for me at least! I like that idea, or you could decide to read a book a week for a month and see how that goes, or something like that.
That sounds really useful. I may try it at some point. January is already looking like a mess, so not this month! The summer would probably be a good time for me to try some new writing habits.