One month of the new year done! I think January was a pretty good month. My primary goal for the new year (with lots of sub-goals) is to try to maintain a more positive mindset, and I think I was able to make some significant progress in that direction.
One thing that helped was doing a daily diary (separate from my written one which is more an accounting of events) focused on the positives of each day. I’ve been using an iphone app called Grid Diary for this. For each day it gives you a number of little questions to answer, which can be customized. My questions include “what did I get done today?,” “what are three good things about today?,’ and “what made me happy today?” There’s loads of research out there about this as a technique for increasing happiness. I’ve only been doing it for a month, but so far so good.
Another thing that was helpful was being part of a Facebook group started by a friend for habit-forming accountability. Members post a photo every day of their completed habit. Some people are doing exercise-related things, some people are writing every day, some people are doing cleaning. My habit for this group was making sure the sink is clean every night- things that are to be washed by hand are washed, things for the dishwasher are put in and the dishwasher run, and the counters and stovetop wiped down. I love to cook and make huge messes in the kitchen, but hate to clean. But it’s not like leaving pots and pans “to soak” makes it any easier or more pleasant to deal with in the morning. And there’s something very unpleasant about starting your morning dealing with a mess that you’ve left for yourself.
I started with the clean sink thing, and that was pretty successful, so I’ve also added doing yoga in the morning and practicing handstands at some point during the day (it’s a good thing to do while waiting for water to boil). Being an independent sort has made me skeptical of the power of being accountable to others (I’ve always kind of scoffed at the “gym buddy” idea for instance), but I think it is actually extremely helpful. There have definitely been some nights when the last thing I wanted to do was wash dishes, but I did it because I had committed to do it and I knew people were watching for my post in the group. I think there’s a similar effect with my art journal project.
It’s very easy to do habits if your daily schedule/routine stays the same, but it gets tricky if things change (as they do!). Yesterday I had places to go in the morning so I didn’t do my morning yoga, but I did do it in the evening. We’ve been doing the first round of habit accountability for almost 30 days now, so it’s time to pick a new habit. I think I’ll be tackling getting to bed before midnight!
If you’re interested in adding new habits to your life, I recommend reading pretty much anything at Zen Habits.
Did yoga this morning (really more like yoga-esque stretching). I’ve tried following videos but really prefer just moving how my body wants to move and stretching what needs stretching. Then I added a bit more to this collage. I haven’t actually finished very much in January, but I have made good progress on quite a few pieces, so I’m happy.
Link of interest (incredibly beautiful and inspiring things!):