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Going Down The Habit Hole

As I counted down to January this year, I knew I had to make a lot of changes in my life—both personally and professionally. But as New Years Eve approached, I couldn’t find my usual enthusiasm for sitting quietly beside the Christmas tree and scribbling my bright, shiny new goals in a notepad with a fine-point Sharpie.

This year I just felt overwhelmed with “all the things”, yet unmotivated to do them. What was the point of spending hours tapping away on my keyboard, making lists and creating snazzy-looking tables with titles like Weekly PrioritiesScheduling and Daily Tasks,when I’d done the same thing the year before and the year before that—and then still found myself struggling with deadlines, overwhelmed with household tasks, and buying chocolate bars from 7-11 rather than tracking my daily points?

Don’t get me wrong, it felt good to plan, and for a few days or weeks I multi-tasked like a boss. But in the long-run IT NEVER WORKED! January 1st would come along, tease me with promises of a productive, healthy, and organized new year, only to burn out faster than the twinkling lights on my cheerful snowman in the front yard.

So… this year I’ve done things differently. I’ve given myself only one goal: Create 17 new and helpful habits over the course of a year. And while I definitely have some over-arching, long-term goals, the emphasis is not on these goals, but on the daily habits I need to establish in order to reach them.

Why seventeen? Because according to some books I’ve read, it takes three weeks to hard-wired a habit into your brain. So if I choose a new habit every three weeks, that’s approximately seventeen habits over the year. By the time I’m ready to instill another habit, the previous one will be automatic—like getting up an hour earlier every day to write, emptying the dishwasher before work, or walking the dog after I drop the kids off at school. And doing it this way will keep me focused ALL YEAR LONG on instilling habits that drive me toward more books written, a better-organized life, and a fitter, less-stressed me.

At least, that’s the plan! I’m only a week in, and this morning, for the first time, life (aka children) got in the way. But tomorrow’s a new day and when I drag my butt out of bed at 6 am rather than 7 am, I’ll be one step closer to improved productivity.

I think the second habit I’ll be working on, is getting to bed by 10:00 pm! Suddenly, 2019 is looking up. 

Anybody else want to go down the HABIT HOLE with me? Choose a daily habit (the only one for now) that you want to hard-wire into your brain for the next three weeks, and let me know how it goes! 

**This blog post was originally posted on the Casablanca Authors Blog on Jan 14/19

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