“There is no influence like the influence of habit.” Gilbert Parker
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Habit is a terrific thing, as long as the habit is good. Good habits like eating right, exercise, working on your goals, keeping your living space tidy, and all the rest. Habits are hard to break once they have been built, especially bad ones. You are capable of whittling these habits down, however. You stop feeding them little by little and they will fade away.
I have written about this before, but it is worth mentioning again. It is the daily little things that build on one another. My goal this year is to read 48 books. Each year I participate in Goodreads’ reading challenge. I read every day to accomplish this goal. Some days I’ll read for a few hours. Other days I may only get in a chapter or so. I like reading multiple books at a time. I typically read a history book, self-help book, a religious or spiritual book, and a fiction book. I like the variety. On a typical day, I’ll read a chapter out of each book. If one of them catches my interest, I’ll put more time into that one, after I’ve knocked out my chapter requirement. This way, I am chiseling away at all the books I am slated to read for the month (4 books per month x 12 = 48). I read more than just books. I read articles on Flipboard. I read the news briefly. I also read my emails and any messages I receive in my Facebook feed.
One interesting thing I have discovered is that when you do one type of task, it is easier to clump these like-tasks together. For example, I tend to do my journaling and my blogging together because they both involve writing. Then I do all my reading together. Then I do my exercises. Then I do my meditation. Then I do some learning and finally some admin (paying bills, keeping track of my bank accounts, and tying up loose ends with anything else I have that is upcoming. These clusters of habits I call rituals. Each ritual involves certain key items before the ritual is completed. When I journal, I have a dream journal, a gratitude journal, and my diary (morning pages and daily review). My book writing I keep separate. This is in the evening when the house is quiet and I can sit in solitude and just write without interruptions by the family (who don’t mean anything by it). I also seem to be my most creative in the evening, so around 10 pm I do another stint of writing, first doing my daily review, followed by my book writing. The goal I set for myself is 500 words a day. I don’t set a time limit. Some days I knock out 500 words in a short amount of time. On nights where I am struggling with my words, it could take me a lot longer to hit the 500-word goal.
I have found with much trial and error the optimal times for me to do certain things during the day. I like to journal first thing. Then I like to read. Then I like to meditate and take a short nap if needed. Then it’s learning for the remainder of my first work session. Then it’s an evening of some shows and some video games, then at 10 PM I cut off the fun time and get back to writing, my daily review, and all of my relaxation techniques to hit the sack. I have found by putting these “like” habits together that I am more efficient and these rituals are in sync with my daily rhythm.
I took two days off from the gym this weekend. My sister was visiting, and we actually had our first tornado warning yesterday afternoon. It was a false alarm. The storm that hit us rained a lot with a little thunder, but moved through the area quickly. We did not see any report of a touchdown anywhere in our county.
I hope each of you has a great week! Continue to push forward on any goals or initiatives you have. You can’t lose if you don’t quit. You can’t fail if you don’t quit. You can win as long as you keep going.
Until next time…