Back in January this year, I published a post on this blog titled, ‘Creating New Habits, Not Resolutions.’
I related how that there were certain positive changes that I wanted to implement in my life. I set up a spreadsheet, listed the new habits and proceeded to (over time) introduce new habits one-by-one, so as not to overload myself. Each day, I checked the ones off I had done.
It seemed like a great idea at the time, however, as life does (when you set goals) all sorts of challenges came up, notwithstanding the biggest which was family related involved the health of my wife’s parents (which is ongoing).
By the time all 11 new habits were in play, I only managed to achieve all of them done, 5 times i.e. there were 5 days when all 11 habits were checked off. The rest of the time some were and some weren’t…
Some of the new habits were, meditation, walking, exercising, watercolour sketching…
By the time June 2019 arrived I began to realise that it just wasn’t working. One of the problems was that I seemed to be ‘just checking them off to say that they were done…’ and it became a chore rather than the seamless inclusion in my life that I was expecting.
Watercolour sketching was the only habit that I checked off every day. As of yesterday, I have completed a Watercolour Sketch 228 days in a row.
Observations from this exercise are:
I was putting too much pressure on myself
Watercolour sketching is now my meditation
I’m now aiming (one at a time) to add 3 new habits into my life
I believe there is enough pressure in life without us putting more upon ourselves.
We are a week into Spring in Sydney, Australia. It is starting to warm up a little so I think regular walking will be the next habit I introduce.
I stopped making ‘New Years Resolutions’ many years ago.
Instead, I set goals and they cover all different areas of my life. The challenge though (as I have found before) is that in the Christmas/New Year period, when life is good, breezy and we are relaxed, we tend to create these awesome theoretical goals for the New Year.
They sound great, however, when life ‘starts happening and reality moves in’ those goals (and good intentions) tend to get consigned to history and a couple of weeks, months and beyond, we look back thinking, ‘what happened?’
So, what can we do about it?
This year, I’ve decided to do something different.
Firstly, I’ve worked out ‘why these goals/habits are important to me?’
Secondly, I’ve set up a spreadsheet with various headings for the goals/new habits that I would to introduce/reintroduce into my life.
Some examples are ‘reading from a professional development book, walking and meditation.’ Each have a heading and I’ve put in (in the case of walking) how far I’ve walked and in the case of reading & meditation, I put in the amount of time.
You might be thinking that’ it’s easy to find the time to read or meditate…’but when you are running a business, am involved in BNI (breakfast business group) and have a heavy involvement in Toastmasters as member with additional roles, family commitments and all the hobbies/interests I have, then it’s easy for it to get forgotten or become erratic.
I’m not trying to start 10 new habits at once though, I’m bringing them in gradually.
I’m 9 days in and the spreadsheet system is working well. I can access it via Google Sheets on my phone as well so I can check up at any time to see how I am progressing.
The thought is, that once I’ve created the new habits and they become part of my life, I won’t need the spreadsheet.
In a couple of months time I’ll report on how this going. Till then, have an awesome New Year!